By ERIC WAMANJI
What makes some people more successful than others? Why is it that in organizations, some are promoted; others are not, even if their competencies are almost at par? ( of course, don’t get me wrong. It’s not lost on us of other unorthodox mechanisms folks rise such as nepotism, corruption, sex, and sundry evil). But still, wait a minute, how come even those universally considered to be technically and intellectually challenged get ahead? What about leaders? How come some are the darling of the people, have a cult following even if their development record is pathetic?
The other day, the Daily Nation, Kenya’s leading newspaper, wondered aloud “Why do Kenyans vote for clowns?” Well, the answer is simple: communication. The power to charm; to enchant. “Clowns” got a way of penetrating the psyches of their voters. They capture their imagination with razzmatazz. They neither need degrees in communication nor brains that work like Rolls-Royce. They just need to tell stories. Be visible. Entertain and fascinate.
USA President Donald Trump understands the power of communication. He’s the most Twitter savvy president of all time. And the other day, Ukraine elected Mr.Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky, a comedian, as president.
There is a small secret you need to discover – adept communicators have the world at their palms. They rise. They get accolades. They succeed.
They’ve learnt the valuable secret, by design or by instinct, that it’s only through communication that you become powerful and successful.
Indeed, to paraphrase Shakespeare,some are born great communicators, others are made to be great communicators and most of them, smart ones, hire communication experts to support their strategies.
And we can name other powerful personalities: Barrack Obama. Martin Luther King Jr. Winston Churchill. Steve Jobs. Richard Branson. All these, and many others, are enigmas because they learnt how communication works and to use it to their advantage.
And it’s not just personalities. Nay. Great brands and organizations invest heavily in communication. Communication is the currency of modern times. It’s impossible to win over customers, donors, government, communities or voters without communication.
Sadly, I’ve met very brilliant folks in organisations with impressive CV’s and a trail of accomplishments long enough from Tanga to Timbuktu, but because they’re not communication savvy, they’ve stagnated. Many organizations are doing a terrific job either with communities or for the public, but because their communication is lackluster or non-existent, they’re not getting the commensurate support and medal. Some good projects, CEO’s, brands, organizations even go down the drain because folks ignored strategic communication.
Ironically, some of the folks I’ve met with all their potential, take a sterile look at communication. I know communication is intangible yet, it’s the most potent and profitable skill any human can muster. It’s time to start looking at this great currency with a different eye.
When you here folks talk of “shaping narratives” it’s not just idle banter. It’s serious business. See, stories are powerful. Stories about our work, our projects, ourselves and our ideals are entrancing, are like magical spells. Stories impacts our psyche. They charm our sensibilities. Stories are key at winning our hearts and minds. Now, when you don’t communicate, then you’ll not reach that critical audience. You’ll not excite it. The audience, whose perceptions, attitudes and decisions determine your success at work, the success of your brand or projects, has to be won over – by stories. Narratives. By communication.
Million Dollar Questions
Call Coms expert – now!
If you’re an executive or in a position of leadership, or better still holding ambitions of being influential, have you ever published your thoughts in the press? Do you have a blog? Do you write articles in your company magazine? Do you strive to make striking Power Point presentations? How about speeches? Do you write them? How do you deliver them? Do you get your project’s success stories in the media? All these and many others should prompt you either to scale up or start doing it.
Indeed, Carmine Gallo reaffirms this truism in The Communication Secrets To Get From Good to Great, that “if you can persuade, inspire and ignite the imagination of others, you will be unstoppable, irresistible and irreplaceable.”
My advice is simple, call that communication strategist in your phone book, fix a coffee meeting (tea ain’t great) and have some chat on how to deploy communication for the good of your project and for your own good. Go ahead. Call them now.