Are you a great communicator?

By Daniel Williams

LifeHealthPro


It’s no secret one of the most important things an advisor can do is connect with his or her clients. Let’s face it: If you’re not communicating effectively, you could have one of the greatest products since sliced bread, but it won’t matter. You have to be able to engage your clients.

With that in mind, I want to share a list with you of the year’s best (and worst) communicators compiled by Decker Communications.

The communications firm highlights “the best and worst from business, politics, entertainment, sports and the professions.

As you read over the list, see if you agree, disagree or see grave omissions from either category. Also, think about yourself in this context — are you one of the best communicators in your field or is improving your communication skills one of the resolutions you have for 2011?

Following are highlights from the Decker list:

The Five Best

1. Sebastián Piñera — Excellence above and below the surface
The rescue of the Chile miners was the miracle, and the communications orchestrated by President Sebastián Piñera amplified the miracle to the world. Because of this, and more, Piñera is unanimous choice for No. 1 Communicator of 2010.

2. Scott Brown — Refreshing face and voice
It seems so long ago with the November elections, but in January this unknown politician took the country by storm in winning a stunning upset in the Senate race for Ted Kennedy’s vacant seat. He needed more than his truck, and the help of the Tea Party to overcome heavy Democratic odds — he needed great communicating in situations formal and informal, and he delivered.

3. Sandra Bullock — Grace under pressure
From winning the Academy Award in March to responding to the press and pressure around her unfaithful soon-to-be ex-husband, Sandra Bullock exhibited grace under pressure.

4. Admiral Thad Allen — Rock solid under pressure
In the initial confusion surrounding the BP oil spill in the gulf, what better spokesperson for the government than the forthright, even gruff, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen. His voice is tough, he is no nonsense in manner, and almost always was armed with the facts.

5. Marco Rubio — Articulate power makes a new political star
Relatively unknown, Marco Rubio was trailing Florida’s incumbent Governor by double digits and went on to beat him in the Republican primary for Senate and went on to beat both the Democrat opponent as well as Governor Crist as an independent in November

The Five Worst

1. Tony Hayward — Appalling
“I want my life back,” said Hayward as a complaint for his extra stress as BP CEO during the Gulf Oil spill. Unbelievable comment, when people had lost their lives, literally, and millions more were terribly affected by BP incompetence.

2. Dick Fuld — Never learned
Ex-CEO Dick Fuld was right at the top of our 2008 Top Ten Worst list for his pitiful congressional testimony about the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, of which he appeared to be a very guilty leader. You think he’d have learned some communication skills in the intervening two years, but, no. He’s back this year — different testimony but same story. He never learned how to not be defensive, look guilty, not answer questions, show arrogance, etc. Hope he doesn’t go before Congress again…

3. Christine O’Donnell, Joe Miller, Alvin Greene — Not ready for Prime Time
Shooting stars who quickly flamed out. These three candidates were representative of many new faces in the November elections who were bright and newsworthy but not ready for the glare of the lights.

Christine O’Donnell speaks well and with a smile, and Sarah Palin helped her cause, but she couldn’t hold it together what with the witch talk — and a very unfortunate witch ad — poor media and, many felt, a lack of content. You need sizzle and steak. Joe Miller in Alaska let controversy and mis-handling of the press stalk his Senatorial campaign, and thus allowed a very rare write-in campaign victory for incumbent Lisa Murkowski. Good communicators don’t lie. And Alvin Greene in South Carolina remains a mystery — little credentials and little campaign adds up to no victory. In all cases, people who initially appear as rockets fizzle out without the right fuel — substance.

4. Gordon Brown—Consistent stumbler
I suppose if this list originated in the UK ex-Premier Brown might be the No. 1 worst, but he’s a close second. Much has been written on Brown’s poor speaking by UK author and communications expert Max Atkinson, several posts referenced here. He was made fun of on the floor and he was disparaged behind the scenes. Never very energetic or accomplished as a communicator in the first place, he proceeded to make several gaffes in his election campaign.

5. Mel Gibson — Rant after rant
Where’s a publicist with some duct tape when you need one? Gibson has managed to morph himself from respected leading actor to a raving madman through his communication in a matter of years. We thought he had learned, as he was on our Top Ten Worst in 2006, but, no, this year was even worse. Instead of thinking before he speaks, Gibson lets venom burst out of his mouth, leaving anyone who still watches him in awe. His personal rants have damaged his professional career, and now people view him as a loose cannon with a questionable character.