By Robert Masters
Australian politics has not only delivered a new Prime Minister but also a salient lesson in the value of communication.
The new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – Mr. Explainer, as some media commentators call him – has brought the art of leadership communication back to life. Three word slogans are no longer the answer.
Turnbull’s explanatory style has been able to resonate with the community because of his ability to put forward his perceptions, beliefs and expectations in compelling, engaging and understandable language.
The former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and some of his Ministerial colleagues have struggled with this. It was reflected in the polls constantly and it provided Turnbull with the opportunity to say he was the ‘communicator’ who could turn things around, especially in our poll-driven political world.
In today’s multi-channel media environment, it is what leaders are saying and doing that connects with the community more than at any other time. The corporate world is no different.
Research shows that consumers regularly talk about the performance of the CEO in relation to his/her reputation and how they communicate.
People judge companies on the information that flows from the top. What is communicated shapes their thinking and influences their decisions; whether it is buying company shares, buying products, or believing in a company’s future direction.
Getting the leading message or narrative into the word-of-mouth conversation is paramount. It is worth more than advertising and networking meetings and discussions.
However, leaders can never just rest on a narrative. It is the messages that build the narrative, which are important. How the narrative is expressed, how pertinent is it to stakeholders and how persuasive is the delivery are also key factors. They make up the ‘communication mix’.
The salient lesson the new Prime Minister has delivered to all leaders is the role of communication in today’s world.
There is no better time for CEOs and other top executives to consider their ability to communicate with their stakeholders and their communication plans to shape the messages and reputation of an organization.
The new Prime Minister is now in his first 100 days in office. He will be judged not only by his expertise in the management of Australia’s political scene, its economy and social wellbeing, but also his ‘best practice’ in communicating his plans for the nation. We are re-entering the phase of communication in politics.