Revisit How Leaders Communicate

A Note to Mitt Romney’s Communication Coach:

Hey there. I just wanted to tell you that you have a tough job.

Every time your candidate seems to take a step ahead, he communicates, and takes a step in reverse.

I know there’s nothing less useful than a communicator offering suggestions, but here are some things you may want to tell the Governor. And these thoughts have nothing to do with his politics. Frankly, I am so caught up in how he communicates I can’t get to what he is saying.

Mr. Romney, people listen. No matter what you say, Governor, and who you may be talking to, just imagine there is always a microphone in the room, and that every word will be recorded. People are listening because you asked them to iisten. So we can’t blame them, this time.”

Mr. Romney, over-communicating is not an explanation. Thursday, on television in Nevada, you said you mis-communicated (about your concern for poor people) because you have to do so many interviews in your job. Is that a reasonable excuse? Or should you be prepared for all the interviews you knew you would have to give?”

Mr. Romney, people take statements out of context. There are no guarantees, Governor, that people will hear (or record) what you had to say the way you intended to speak. Long before we used digitial editors, we used the human ones, to only recall what we want to hear. So what people hear is their choice; your choice is to carefully express yourself to reduce the chance for misunderstanding.”

Mr. Romney, people respond to hope, not fear. I know you are congratulating yourself about your victory in Florida where, to be honest, you scared a lot of people about what might happen if they voted the other way. For the long term, however, fear does not engage, and people need hope. Just as any leader in business, you need to give voters the reasons to engage.”

Mr. Romney, communication is essential to engagement. You were in business, Governor, as you frequently tell us. And you likely remember how communication helped you engage your employees. This is just the same. The only difference is employees vote every day and voters when the election occurs.”

We can all learn from the challenges your candidate faces and the choices he makes. Hopefully he will, too. Good luck.

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