Natural Communication Takes Work

We’re not surprised that olympians differ in their overall capability or ability to perform on a particular day. Yet, when it comes to communication there is a tendency to not think in these terms.  Nevertheless, effective communication, persuasion and negotiation take learning and considerable practice. Essentially, natural is not natural in these arenas. For some of us, it just looks that way. Here is what Hillary Clinton had to say about why she isn’t as natural as Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Some of the problem is gender expectations. Some is that we all have different learning experiences, coaches, predispositions and opportunities for practice.

“I’m not Barack Obama. I’m not Bill Clinton. Both of them carry themselves with a naturalness that is very appealing to audiences. But I’m married to one and I’ve worked for the other, so I know how hard they work at being natural. It’s not something they just dial in. They work and they practice what they’re going to say. It’s not that they’re trying to be somebody else. But it’s hard work to present yourself in the best possible way. You have to communicate in a way that people say: ‘OK, I get her.’ And that can be more difficult for a woman. Because who are your models? If you want to run for the Senate, or run for the Presidency, most of your role models are going to be men. And what works for them won’t work for you. Women are seen through a different lens. It’s not bad. It’s just a fact. It’s really quite funny. I’ll go to these events and there will be men speaking before me, and they’ll be pounding the message, and screaming about how we need to win the election. And people will love it. And I want to do the same thing. Because I care about this stuff. But I’ve learned that I can’t be quite so passionate in my presentation. I love to wave my arms, but apparently that’s a little bit scary to people. And I can’t yell too much. It comes across as ‘too loud’ or ‘too shrill’ or ‘too this’ or ‘too that.’ Which is funny, because I’m always convinced that the people in the front row are loving it.” (Source: Humans of New York – Facebook)

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