The Non-Communicators

Petraeus obfuscates, but Crocker is just woeful.

We all have seen boring (Gonzalez) and poor (McGwire) communicating in Congressional hearings, but whenever General Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker testify on the Hill, the result is communicating at it’s worst.

In this clip on Crocker, his non-words – ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ – are about as bad an example as you’ll find of someone creating an un-believable communication experience. (See about 30 seconds in, and then on, and on, and on….)

Dick Cavett has written a great piece in the New York Times on the two of them. (Thanks Hesh Renfield for the connect.) Here are a couple of Cavett’s most pithy comments – it’s worth reading the whole article. He writes like he speaks – funny.)

“Never in this breathing world have I seen a
person clog up and erode his speaking — as distinct from his reading —
with more “uhs,” “ers” and “ums” than poor Crocker. Surely he has never
seen himself talking: “Uh, that is uh, a, uh, matter that we, er, um,
uh are carefully, uh, considering.” (Not a parody, an actual Crocker
sentence. And not even the worst.)”

“Petraeus’s verbal road is full of all kinds of bumps and lurches and
awkward oddities. How about “ongoing processes of substantial increases
in personnel”? Try talking English, General. You mean more soldiers.”

What is actually shocking is to see communications deteriorate to this level when it is so important to say what you mean – and on such a wide platform to such a large audience. When is a better time to show the confidence to lead, and communicate leadership.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Why don’t these two (and many other politicians, executives and sports celebrities for that matter) get coaching. And just look at themselves on television. Seeing is believing. Observed behavior changes. It would be a good thing for both of them, and for the country, if their communication experience changed for the better.

Dick Cavett on Communicating

Dick Cavett calls out the Presidential candidates, and has most of it right! Read his article in the New York Times here – it has great insights on speaking and communicating. Written in his own humorous style, as a comedian he rightly emphasizes humor. And he tells stories –  well. … Continue reading