When you see clips like these, it’s easy to understand why Warren Buffett is the man.
Now, of course, I LOVE the fact that he acknowledges communications as one of the #1 ways you can increase your human capital and value to your team, company, organization, and even family and friends, for that matter. (Of course, he should have referenced Decker instead of the other guys.. Sorry, can’t help it.)
The best part though is that he’s a great model for effective communicating. He doesn’t just tell others to “do as I say, not as I do.” Here’s what he does well:
He’s incredibly likable. Guess what? You can be too! This is a skill that can be learned. He’s likable for three key reasons:
- “Lightness of face” — Notice how he has the slightest of grins throughout the clip. He’s not foolishly smiling from ear to ear, just enough. This goes a long way for communications. Smiling is the simplest, although not always the easiest way to increase your likability to your listener. For example, you could be that grim-faced kind of person (not to say that you’re grim, just grim-faced) who processes and communicates information very seriously, maybe with a furrowed brow for extra concentration. That facial expression doesn’t do anything to help you connect and build rapport with your listener. We don’t buy long term from someone we don’t like – it would be too painful! So, next time go on and give smiling a try.
- Conversational tone — It’s a town hall set up, so it should be that way. Not professorial, not a lecture – it feels like he’s just chatting with you.
- He’s vulnerable — The great Warren Buffett also needed communication TRAINING! To be successful, you also have to have a constant eye on improvement. A forward lean toward progress. When’s the last time you invested in these skills? Communications training is often overlooked as a soft skill – but it’s critical to your success. Make it a new year’s resolution.
On the content side, he knows his audience. He uses a flurry of numbers to illustrate his point. Now mind you, this would NOT work in all circumstances, but this is to a group of Columbia business school students who squeal with delight at the thought of alpha, beta, and r-squared statistics. These are human-scale stats to this particular breed. Human-scale statistics allows the listener to bring their experience to bear (learn more about this in Decker Made To Stick).
Warren Buffett gets it: invest in yourself and reap the return.