Technical Communication, Ideas from Politics

Irrespective of how one leans politically, I dont think anyone would contest that Bill Clinton is an excellent speaker. He has an uncanny ability to connect with an audience… the following article presents some insights which seeming would also apply to technical communications.

Why Bill Clinton’s Speeches Succeed

Because he treats listeners as if they are smart.

That is the significance of “They want us to think” and “The strongest argument is” and “The arithmetic says one of three things must happen” and even “Now listen to me here, this is important.” He is showing that he understands the many layers of logic and evidence and positioning and emotion that go into political discussion — and, more important, he takes for granted that listeners can too.

Over the years, my personal approach has been one of oversimplification. I try to tone things down such that an average eigth grade student could understand it… Ok, except perhaps in my written communication where I tend to focus on my own speed rather than efficient transfer of information. 🙂

The author goes on to parallel President Clinton’s speech with sportscasting. I’m not into sports radio or tv whatsoever, but I from what I’ve heard over the years, I think the author is spot on.

Now, how to use a similar technique in selling research / technology. I may need to do some playing around with this in the future.

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