New Communicator Bursts on the Scene

Put your politics aside for a moment – a new communications star was born tonight. Unless you live under a rock, you now know of Scott Brown, who won the Massachusetts Senate race Tuesday.

I hesitated blogging on Scott Brown’s acceptance speech because I just got back from Las Vegas and it’s late and it’s too political – but after seeing him on Tivo I couldn’t resist. What Barack Obama did in 2004 in his speech at the Democratic convention, Scott Brown just did in 2010 in his victory speech – burst upon the national scene.

Here’s why:

  • It’s a national stage – this was a very important election politically. The world was watching – the race and the speech, but even more so the clips of the speech that will be televised and blogged over the next few weeks. And because of his surprising and excellent communicating he is immediately a force to be reckoned with.
  • He packages and uses symbols well (SHARPS in our language). The obvious political phrase “We can do better” became a repeated litany. But probably the best is his iconic and populist green truck that has 201,000 miles on it, and which he made a point of driving and referencing throughout the campaign. Well publicized, he referenced it several times, causing the chant “Drives A Truck, Drives a Truck…”
  • He is humorous – making several jokes – playing basketball with Barack Obama, a sign on supporter’s lawn, and even joked about his daughters’ being ‘available’ (maybe not politically correct however.)
  • Focused on his issues. He appropriately thanked Massachusetts for electing him, and emphasized the independents, but he immediately went to national issues. He was articulate in speaking to his view on the Health Care bill, and what he was going to do about that, as well as his views on spending, taxes and the war.
  • He can turn a phrase. He actually turned many phrases, but perhaps one of the best lines he had was talking about terrorists and saying, “our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them and not lawyers to defend them.”
  • His use of the teleprompter was excellent. President Obama could take lessons from him.
  • And the importance of a smile – it served Ronald Reagan very well, and it serves Brown. He is energetic, attractive, personable (spontaneously related to many on stage) and confident – important communication attributes.

But above all, his victory speech created a communication experience, and not just for the enthusiastic, and very large, crowd of supporters. For the viewer the image of confidence, strength and purpose was powerful. Although there’s a lot of water yet to go under Scott Brown’s bridge, right now, like him or not politically, he is a force to be reckoned with.

5 comments on “New Communicator Bursts on the Scene

  1. As a Massachusetts resident, I followed the campaign closely. They guy isn’t too smart — he’s “not sure” if global warming exists?

    But, I must admit he’s a good communicator and that definitely helped him a lot. He talked about that green truck ALL THE TIME. (on a side note, he forgot to mention that he was a lawyer making big bucks and probably has a few more cars…I’d guess a BMW at least…though probably in his wife’s name so he can say he’s telling the truth).

    It also should be noted that his wife is a very well known (and rightly, well-like) news correspondent for the local ABC channel here. So she definitely knows a thing or two about communication. Now, that’s not to deflect on his presenting skills — but you can bet your bottom dollar she gave him some tips. And because of it (her), he got a lot of positive press on the local tv news stations.

    I didn’t vote for Mr Brown (could ya tell?), but I must agree he’s a great communicator and that’s a big reason he won the seat. Now where did I put the keys to my truck..? :)

  2. Hi Cindy,

    Great to hear from you. Agree completely that his candor and spontaneity with his family was a great touch – and authentic.

    I actually wrote down the years that Obama burst on the scene to winning the presidency: 2004-2010 = 6 years. In the limelight now, Brown might move fast, but 2 years from 2010 to 2012 is not possible. 2016 is. He has the communication potential.

    Bert

  3. Right on Alan – a great start.

    I hunch he will learn the fine tuning of his communication skills quickly – he’s going to get a lot of practice quickly.

    Bert

  4. I agree completely. I really didn’t have much of a clue about him, but after listening to his victory speech, I turned to my husband and said, “He’s a great communicator. He’ll run for president some day.” I couldn’t tell that he was using a teleprompter at all. His interaction with his family on stage was spontaneous, authentic, and warm, even the stereotypical “dad embarrassing his daughter” lines. And Ayla’s response of amused horror and natural affection for him, ducking her head and hugging him from behind . . . very real. Additionally, he cast vision for his leadership/service in a very compelling yet believable way. What a winsome guy!

  5. I think he succeeds in perhaps the biggest challenge for a politician — he appears human. Nice touch with the family callouts, the reference to Ted Kennedy, and the behind-the-scenes insights.

    For delivery skills, he needs to soften his voice and let the microphone work more, stop his pointing and banging a la Hillary, and start sentences a little cleaner.

    I agree that this is a strong start.