ishmaels corner

Conversational Language as a ...

MENU

That’s the point from last week’s Wall Street Journal column, “The Way Trump Talks,” by Daniel Henninger.

Henninger believes that language, specifically conversational language, could turn the election in Trump’s favor and that people have responded to Trump’s blunt language to the point of being oblivious to the content.

“Many people today think food isn’t real unless the label tells them it is organic or artisanal. TV commercials announce, ‘Not actors, real people.’ Politics has no immunity from these new interpretations of what’s real. Just the feeling of authenticity for many has become more powerful than understanding the grubby realities of political limits.”

Politicians depend on consultants armed with data analytics to scrub their words before they’re uttered with the objective of appealing to as many people as possible. Of course, they don’t sound real. As Henninger notes in his column, “Every word Hillary speaks, because it is so carefully planned, rings instantly false. Even the true ones.”

I appreciate that the political arena differs from a business environment.

Still, there’s something to take away from what we’re observing in the presidential election. If executives want to be persuasive — whether it’s an interview with a single journalist or a 1,000-employee town hall meeting — they’re best-served communicating in natural mode. Because those on the receiving end of the words can tell what’s real and what’s a pristine message concocted by 12 people sitting around a table with a thesaurus and Round Table pizza.

Back to Henninger and his close:

“In the suddenly tightening presidential race, we are seeing, or hearing, the careful and ‘reliable’political language of Hillary Clinton in competition with the intemperance of Trumpian rhetoric. One sounds real, the other just doesn’t. The new way of talking in American politics may turn out to be enough to win.”

Maybe history will show that Trump’s contribution to society was giving courage — and proof points — to those in the public eye to speak like actual human beings. What a concept!

If executives believe that conversational language trumps — couldn’t resist — processed language, it seems reasonable to think that more executives would take this approach.

Let’s just hope that bombastic doesn’t win the day.

 

 


Comments

  • Toni Sottak

    Lou – This is a good point about the benefits of using natural language. I’m not surprised by how effective it can be to talk in your natural voice… its something I can’t help but do… and I never thought it was a gift! What I am surprised about is how little what is being said seems to matter. I just still can’t get over how he has been able to get away with some of the things he says and the things he believes. That is what I still can’t get over. i do believe there are a lot of communications lessons in this election – but I’m still trying to figure out where on the priority order is content?

    Reply
    • Lou Hoffman

      I think we’re going to be sifting through the rubble for answers for some time. As they say in the movies, “it’s complicated.” Sobering to see many media properties from the far right take on the characteristics of the “National Inquire” but their stories are consumed as truths.

      Reply

Leave a Reply