Roughly two years ago, I wrote a post about then-candidate Trump and how he used conversational language as a differentiator.
Given his communications since moving into the White House, I decided to dust off the point of view that riffs on a Wall Street Journal column.
Unfortunately, skipping to the end, bombastic did win the day.
Conversational language as a differentiator?
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.