The Top Ten Best (and Worst) Communicators of 2010

This Annual List of Top Ten Communicators of 2010 highlights the best (and worst) from business, politics (big this year), entertainment, sports and the professions. Take a look to see how communication skills helped make or break these notable individuals:

The 10 Best

1. Sebastián Piñera - Excellence above and below the surface

The rescue of the Chile miners was the miracle – and the communications orchestrated by President Sebastián Piñera amplified the miracle to the world. Yes, he spoke brilliantly to the mass media at the end, showing emotion, purpose, hope – and brevity. And yes, he was there for the full 35 hours of rescue, not just the photo op. As the last miner is rescued, you can see the real joy on his face. But in addition, he orchestrated the communications from start to finish – insisting on transparency, placing video cameras in the mines when they weren’t sure they could even rescue the miners, and then he arranged the unusual, dramatic and excellent world wide coverage of the day and a half of rescue. Because of this, and more, Piñera is unanimous choice for #1 Communicator of 2010.

2. Scott Brown – Refreshing face and voice

It seems so long ago with the November elections, but in January this Massachusett’s unknown took the country by storm in winning a stunning upset in the Senate race for Ted Kennedy’s vacant seat. He was a fresh personality, with refreshing spontaneity. And he marked the beginning of the conservative movement in this election year, but had to run a great campaign to overcome the Democratic lean of his district. He needed more than his truck, and the help of the Tea Party - he needed great communicating in situations formal and informal, and he delivered. His victory speech is a classic – expect to hear a lot more from him.

3. Sandra Bullock – Grace under pressure

From winning the Academy Award in March to responding to the press and pressure around her unfaithful soon-to-be ex-husband, Sandra Bullock made all the right moves – naturally. She is always authentic whether accepting her Award on a stage in front of millions, or keeping appropriately silent under the relenting barrage of the paparazzi. Then when it came time to speak, she did so publicly and eloquently. And naturally. True grace under pressure.


4. Admiral Thad Allen – Rock solid under pressure

In the initial confusion surrounding the BP Oil Spill in the gulf, what better spokesperson for the Government than the forthright, even gruff, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen. His voice is tough, he is no nonsense in manner, and almost always was armed with the facts. The Admiral was experienced, as in his handling of the Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco a few years earlier. His press conferences and interviews may not have been interesting, but that was not his communicating role. It was to bring stability and an air of competence to the proceedings. That he did.

5. Marco Rubio – Articulate power makes a new political star

Relatively unknown, Marco Rubio was trailing Florida's incumbent Governor by double digits and went on to beat him in the Republican primary for Senate. He went on to beat the both the Democrat opponent as well as Governor Crist as an independent in November, and by an amazing double digits in a three man race. Yes, an attractive fresh face and one who will always refer to himself as an 'exile,' but a great communicator as well. Already people are mentioning him as a potential Presidential contender with this burst upon the national scene. Confident, strong voiced and articulate, he should go far.

6. Luke Russert – Chip off the old block, beyond his years

Luke is the son of Tim Russert, himself one of the Top Ten Communicators of 2008, but that's not why Luke is here. Although he was given national exposure through his father and famous mother Maureen Orth, he took advantage of it to show his capability. Years of work in news and sportscasting has made him excellent beyond his young 25 years, and landed him a job with NBC. One highlight where he confronts Rep. Charlie Rangel and doesn't back down. Luke Russert is worthy of filling his father's large shoes in the years to come.

7. Buster Posey - Speaks softly, but carries a big stick

Rookie of the Year. World Series winner. And humility with homer busting power, that's Buster. His response to the question "Don't you realize you had an epic night?" is classic, and typical. Buster Posey is a refreshing change from athletes who are both full of themselves and can't speak very well. We guess that his young looks help him as counterpoint to his strength and skill, but for communications - there is no one on the same par this year that represents the humble leader. Remember, he's the catcher for the World Champion San Francisco Giants as a rookie, and the catcher is the leader on the field. Quite a feat in your first year. And he doesn't crow about it.

8. Elizabeth Smart – Character and maturity

She walks tall, physically and mentally. Elizabeth is a remarkably mature 21 year old now, who experienced horror at 14 young years, and recently talked about it for three days in court. She gives straightforward detail of her kidnap and rape and nine months imprisonment, with no sensationalism in her candid testimony. Although the world could not see her live in court, you can envision the calm ability of this young woman. It is captured here in a powerful interview on Oprah, and now it is here in a live statement after the trial - she was just as impressive.

9. Emmitt Smith – A winner at many things

An all time Dallas Cowboys All Pro, Emmitt this year is a Hall of Famer. On top of that, he  is also a winner at communicating. Elected into the NFL Hall Of Fame this year, he gave an outstanding speech - in which he prepared well, and was emotional yet powerful. (We blogged on this in a surprising comparison to Jerry Rice, who is usually prepared...) Seems Emmitt Smith is always prepared whether in football, speaking, or even dancing! He won "Dancing With The Stars" a couple of years ago, and showed another charming facet of his communicating side - spontaneity and grace. He's taken one career and leveraged it into a lot more with his speaking personality and preparation. Unique combination - unique individual.

10. Steve Jobs – Just has to be in the Top Ten, again

Although he has been "The Best" and on several other of our other Top Ten lists, he so stands out from the pack of public CEO's that he rates making this year's list too. This year he was also the subject of a book on presentation secrets, and again the most anticipated executive on a public platform as he announces some new software. Can you imagine, no new iPad or iPhone but just some nice upgrade, and he still makes the front pages of the financial sections. Jobs will go down as one of the very few CEO 'rock stars' in the business world. Guess it's deserving of the personification of the Apple brand now that they are publishing Beatles songs in iTunes this year.

The 10 Worst

1. Tony Hayward - Appalling

“I want my life back,” said Hayward as a complaint for his extra stress as BP CEO during the Gulf Oil spill. Unbelievable comment, when people had lost their lives, literally, and millions more were terribly affected by BP incompetence. We blogged on it back in June, and it is even worse now that all the facts come out. Even in a sponsored BP TV Ad Hayward is not believable. Terrible personal communications by this ex-CEO for dozens of reasons that go beyond deception and self-centeredness. Even after he lost his job he still continues to whine, and is now the poster child for how NOT to handle a media disaster – both in choice of words and behavior.

2. Dick Fuld – Never learned

Ex-CEO Dick Fuld was right at the top of our 2008 Top Ten Worst list for his pitiful congressional testimony about the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, of which he appeared to be a very guilty leader. You think he'd have learned some communication skills in the intervening two years, but no. He’s back this year – different testimony but same story. He never learned how to NOT be defensive, look guilty, not answer questions, show arrogance, etc. Hope he doesn’t go before congress again…

3. Christine O'Donnell, Joe Miller, Alvin Greene - Not ready for Prime Time

Shooting stars, that quickly flamed out. These three candidates were representative of many new faces in the November elections that were bright and newsworthy, but were not ready for the glare of the lights. Christine O'Donnell speaks well and with a smile, and Sarah Palin helped her cause, but she couldn't hold it together what with the witch talk (and a very unfortunate witch ad,) poor media and, many felt, a lack of content. (You need sizzle AND steak.) Joe Miller in Alaska let controversy and mis-handling of the press stalk his Senatorial campaign, and thus allowed a very rare write-in campaign victory for incumbent Lisa Murkowski. (Good communicators don't lie.) And Alvin Greene in South Carolina remains a mystery - little credentials and little campaign adds up to no victory. In all cases, people who initially appear as rockets fizzle out without the right fuel - substance.

4. Gordon Brown – Consistent stumbler

I suppose if this list originated in the UK ex-Premier Brown might be #1 worst, but he’s a close second. Much has been written on Brown's poor speaking by UK author and communications expert Max Atkinson, several posts referenced here. He was made fun of on the floor and he was disparaged behind the scenes. Never very energetic or accomplished as a communicator in the first place, he proceeded to make several gaffes in his election campaign. The most notable was not only making a foolish comment when he thought he was off camera (called a lady "a bigoted woman”), but how he responded to the press about the incident. From then on his speaking was even lower energy – a degree of listlessness where he seemed to think he should lose. And of course, he did.

5. Mel Gibson – Rant after rant

Where's a publicist with some duct tape when you need one? Mel Gibson has managed to morph himself from respected leading actor to a raving madman through his communication in a matter of years. We thought he had learned, as he was on our Top Ten Worst in 2006, but no, this year was even worse. Instead of thinking before he speaks, Mel lets venom burst out of his mouth, leaving anyone who still watches him in awe. His personal rants have damaged his professional career, and now people view him as a loose cannon with a questionable character.

6. Jan Brewer – Inconsistent stumbler

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is not a bad communicator, usually. She gained political capital by leading Arizona in adopting a controversial immigration law. And she spoke well in interviews early on. But the lesson that she never learned was to not run the mouth until the mind is in gear. In one particularly bad news day, during a campaign debate, she first blanked out for 16 seconds, had earlier made a mistatement on 'beheadings' in the desert, then handled the follow up questions very poorly. She later admitted she was wrong, and her political capital enabled her to win the election in spite of her communications errors.

7. Eric Massa – How can one believe?

Still a mystery - here's an elected official who resigned abruptly, made a lot of communicating noise about why ('groping' becomes 'tickling',) probably to outshout the sex abuse attacks that he knew would follow. He was even subject of an hour long Glenn Beck interview as part of the brief uproar, and Beck found him talkative, but unbelievable. He remains a mystery except for his obvious obfuscation (as on Larry King) - well, probably downright lying. Perhaps his strategy worked since he was neither arrested nor fired, and he quickly disappeared from the scene.  But talk without substance will not get you anywhere in your communications, unless you are covering up.

8. Bertha Lewis – Like many under scrutiny, talks with forked tongue

Actually this Worst Communicator speaks pretty well, if you had a pure blind faith in what she said, and her leadership of ACORN. As CEO she was under scrutiny, and apparently confronts arrows of attack until there are just too many to ward off. Then, like most CEO's, politicians and government officials who are accused of misdoing, she becomes unbelievable in what she is saying. She still says it well, but in the end it is rare that misrepresentation and bad content can overcome a good style of delivery - particularly in the long run.

9. Harry Reid - This politician is no stem-winder

Nevada Senator Harry Reid should have won in a landslide - long time incumbent and Majority Leader of his party in Washington he was running against and inexperienced and mistake-laden candidate. Yet he barely eked out a victory because of his lack of communicating ability. It's a wonder that he won before - soft voiced, monotone, unfocused messages. Even his own President Obama said made fun of his speaking, and said, "Let's face it, Harry's not the flashiest guy..." And perhaps the icing on this non-communicating cake was his recent loooooong story about football - on the Senate floor no less (5' AND boring.) His focus could have been a lot better when he was supposed to be leading the Senate in serious business. We hate to have so many politicians on the list this year, but since it's an election year we couldn't leave Harry out.

10. Obama – Cadence, teleprompters and arrogance gets him here

The President almost always has to be somewhere on the Top Ten list. And President Obama has gone a long way, the wrong way, after landing the #1 Best spot in 2006 and 2008. He has actually regressed as a communicator since taking office. Needing to give numerous ghost-written speeches a day has left Obama disastrously reliant on the teleprompter - a tool he has not learned to use effectively. (Funny parody here.) His vocal tone and facial expressions no longer convey the passion and enthusiasm that rallied Americans to elect him in 2008. Often, his style is professorial, his content purely informational, and he's adopted a sing-songy cadence that is only amusing when spoofed by SNL. It's no accident that his slide as a communicator parallels his slipping popularity. Communications can carry, or bury, a presidency.

58 thoughts on “The Top Ten Best (and Worst) Communicators of 2010
  1. Have to give some recognition to Gov. Jerry Brown. A man with 40 years holding every elected office in California after being handed a legacy position by his father, and WINS AS AN OUTSIDER! Impressive! Might be his LL Bean wardrobe.

  2. Thanks for the comments Jeff, Dave & C. Douglas. There are always others that could go in, and arguments why certain should or shouldn’t be on one of the lists. True about Jerry Brown. As a California resident, I tracked it closely. If his closing acceptance speech had more content or connection, there might have been a window there. 😉

  3. Piñera, best communicator? Spoke “brilliantly”? Obviously more than something was lost in translation here. Either that or you people are innocent among innocents. Piñera IS a constant photo-op. He is the king of platitudes delivered among smiles elicited by his own self-importance. So far he is the worst president we´ve had and we have had bad ones.
    Either that or you put him in the wrong group.

  4. me parece que existe un orden poco claro en la selección. no le creo a los criterios , Piñera baja en las encuestas del 63% al 50% luego del episodio de los mineros, eso es un buen comunicador?. su mayor problema es la cercanía con la gente, en su discurso, eso es un buen comunicador?.
    favor replantearse el concurso de manera sería.

  5. Pinera?????
    Su conocido afan de figurar, no es prpio de un comunicador. Esto lo lleva a estr lejos de la gente.
    Evidentemente de lejos se Chile se ve algo distinto. Todo de lejos es bueno. Aca lo tenemos cerca. Absolutamente en desacuerdo

  6. Piñera efectivamente es uno de los mejores comunicadores,… ahora si es que lo que comunica es verdad, auténtico y confiable… eso es otro tema.

  7. You are a bunch of idiot republicans, supporters of Bush,to put Piñera as one of the best ‘communicators’ in 2010. he is well know as a clown and a bullshiter in Chile. Please improve your wsecond rate rate organization and try to be more honest.

  8. It’s incredible the fact that the President of my country is the best communicator of 2010, considering that his popularity is going deeply down (loosing a 10% of support in just one month). Ok, the last thing I said doesn’t have nothing to do with his communication’ skills, but how you’re gonna say that he is the best communicator, a men who use words such as “tusunami” (for tsunami) or “marepoto” (for mareMoto, let me say that in spanish is like he said sea-ass, poto is ass in spanish), a men who killed (in his words) one of our greatest anti-poet Nicanor Parra, by the way he’ still alive. A men who said that Robinson Crusoe is a non-fictional character, who lived in Juan Fernandez island… That’s not a good communicator… Actually for a lot of people in my country he is a shame… So, after all I said, I just gotta tell everyone has it’s own opinnion…

  9. This has to be a joke…. a really bad one.
    How did they choose Piñera as the best communicator of the year?? Here in Chile is well known as real clown. His government has brought some kind of time travel trough the pinochet’s dictatorship; repression and lies are the breakfast of every day…
    I really think that Decker should rethink about this nomination.

  10. This must be a joke, a bad one..
    For our own digrace, that face in the first place is our president. I wouldn’t say disgrace if he represented his self of a little group of chilean citizens. The fact is more than 50% of my country’s citizens who voted (there’s alot of people who doesn’t vote) in last election, they gave their votes to this dumb man.
    He has nothing as a communicator. He always says bullshit when he doesn’t read the speech, talking and repeating the same stuff once and again (the war against crime and all the lies the inocence believed… and someones still do it plus the ones knew it and gave their vote for their own benefit, bastards!).
    But if the lacks of competence for communications was not enough (remember what he wrote in german president guest book, the line of their national anthem they deleted for all the death and shadow it meant: “Deutschland über alles”), as man he lacks of the essential, ethics (and has replaced it with alot of money).
    I mean, people says he’s a hard worker, but is well known he built his empire by climbing fast over the people he had around (for example, when Ricardo Claro, another chilean rich, sent Sebastian Piñera to study about credit cards… when he came back he told him they weren’t a good business… after a while he (Piñera) made his own enterprise and opened the businees of credit cards… where’s the loyalty?).
    If you’re interested on it you could read about our disgrace, maybe you’ll find how the people has been in the power since the “democracy” came back has links with the welth and how many of them where the ones who supported the dictatorship that painted of bloody red our streets, the same regime that sold our copper and other minerals, our forests, our land.
    So, Piñera isn’t a good communicator, if there’s something he is it could be a liar, a cheater, etc..

  11. You must be kidding!
    Maybe you’re only taking into consideration the rescue of the miners, because in EVERY OTHER TOPIC he is the worst communicator.
    Using 3 adjectives per sentence does not make you a good communicator, and nor does talking a lot. And God, he talks a lot… a lot of b*llSh*t!!
    He makes mistakes everytime, and as far as I understand, a good communicator must be clear and speak with pieces of information that are correct and TRUE. He always changes the name of the people (actually he changed the name of the first rescued miner 3 TIMES!), he has said that Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe was real, he said that Czechoslovakia still existed, that the sacred tree of Mapuche people was the Laurel (and we all know it’s a tree called Canelo), that one of our most important poets (Nicanor Parra) was dead and many many other things, including MANY mistakes concerning the Spanish language.
    I do not agree with this nomination

  12. Decker diminishes itself with fake rankings like this.
    In the miners TV setup, President Piñera sounded to me as a clownish Latin copy of Benito Mussolini.

  13. Piñera se equívoco en nombrar al primer minero que salío a la superficie, Florencio Ceballos cuando en realidad era Florencio Avalos, es eso ser un buen comunicador?,o marepoto en vez de maremoto, y muchas más(las pueden ver en youtube),en temas relevante como la represión a isla de pascua, los 81 muertos de la carcel, los paros de empleados público no aparece el comunicador.

  14. Although not like it, Piñera is a very good communicator and also prefer someone who communicates, hopes that someone who is only a spectator … Piñera speaks and sometimes quite boring but at least it is quiet but acts:)

  15. This must be a joke! Pinera of Chile a communicator?????? That guy cannot communicate anything to anybody ! Everytime he speaks he makes terrible mistakes some above history, mostly grammar and others just common sense…when he speaks..ministers and associates get really everybody cross their fingers wishing he doesn’t make an embarrassing mistake as he done over and over…
    To nominate this man, they should and must listen the Chilean people !

  16. Hey man, Are you a lot of fucking retarded? Piñera is a bullshit,the 33 super show created by the government, Marepoto Marepoto Tusunami Tusunami Cápac Yupanqui Etc Etc

  17. A snake charmer also is a good communicator. As a big businessman, Piñera knows where place the money. Regrettably to direct the country is much more that to do money. To be able to be in front of the cameras had his result for Piñera, but it is only communication.
    Now, it is necessary to do government and this challenge is not at a height of The Big “communicator”

  18. Well, I’m sorry. But honestly, Piñera is not a great communicator. Yes, the 33 miners rescue was a great operation. But President Piñera and other politicians used that tragedy to appear endlessly on TV… really, for a lot of us, all that ended looking like a Reality Show. In fact, in the last days in the mine, the miners didn’t use cameras because the knew they’ve been used by the Government to boost it popularity.
    After that, he embarrassed us when he was giving stones from the mine, to everyone he met… and honestly, to be a ‘great communicator’, he lacks a lot of charisma and general knowledge.
    Yes, he is a great businessman, no one can deny that. But communicator, is a very different thing. Think about Berlusconi, but without charisma. And you might have someone like Piñera.

  19. We appreciate the vociferous reaction to the Piñera pick as #1. We’ve had similar reactions when we picked Presidents Clinton, Bush or Obama either on the best, or worst, list. Which actually makes our point.
    Communication makes or breaks a politician, or businessman or woman, or celebrity. And it can be one instance of great communicating on the world’s stage – like Piñera, and like George Bush right after 9/11. Bush was not a good communicator generally, and he was on our Worst list in some years because of it. But he also was authentic and powerful in the weeks after 9/11, as we specifically pointed out in the first story in our book, “You’ve Got To Be Believed To Be Heard.”
    So Piñera is #1 on our list specifically for how he handled the miner emergency and rescue, and he did a great job. It was on the world’s stage – and for those who don’t see him daily and have other opinions about him (like George Bush), they’ll have a different context.
    And we can all learn from this instance, and the strong opinions it evokes. Primarily, Piñera effectively used emotion to get people around the world to care about the cause. Making the emotional connection changes how people think and act about an issue. And we don’t use it enough in our daily communications. Rather than making an emotional appeal, we default to a logical argument. (A couple of good reads on this: John Kotter’s “The Heart of Change” and “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath.)
    Like others on the list, a situation can make or break them. Take Jan Brewer for example: Overall, she’s not a bad communicator, but had a rough debate and stumbled.
    Finally, it seems that politicians most often have polar opposite communications experiences: Bush, Palin and Obama have been at the top and bottom of our lists in years past.
    The question for this year’s list of leaders is, “Will they learn?” Can Piñera use his strengths from the dramatic and enormously successful rescue of the Chilean miners, and change the way he communicates in other situations? Will Jan Brewer learn from her mistakes as she acts as Governor? We’ll see.

  20. You definitely should put indonesia’s communication minister as the top 1 for worst! Seriously.. He’s soo stupid at communicating with people and yet becoming the communication minister.. Irony..

  21. Ben and Kelly Decker :
    Thank you for your answer to the posters re: President Pinera of Chile.
    But the answer will not hold much ground and does not explain why Pinera is a good communicator.
    My guess is that you got caught up by the rescue events whereby the media did most of the communications…Pinera was mostly concentrated on boosting his rate as it was declining at that time and very fast…the Chilean government spending millions of dollars to set up a show like a reality show but his time on air was limited to pump up his government making mistakes after mistakes. The first one was to wrongly calling the first recued miner with the surprise of everybody !
    Confussing the News with Pinera’s communication power it doesn’t much justice to your Top Ten Best.

  22. Hey Decker people, I got news for you:
    Besides the miners, a lot of things happened in Chile in 2010, for example a massive earthquake brought the country to the ground, and a tsunami affected thousands of people, hundreds were killed or just dissapeared after the disaster.
    Your “#1 communicator” still hasn’t answered to a lot of chileans that lost EVERYTHING, 9 months ago.
    ¿How about that for good communication?
    You should look into reality, not entertainment.

  23. Muchos de los comentarios aqui otorgados representan subjetividad por parte de sus emisores. Piñera es sin duda un gran comunicador, y el hecho que lo catapultó a obtener el top one ha sido seguido por todos mis compatriotas y el mundo entero a través de la Tv en un majestuoso despliegue de profesionalismo, tecnología y humanidad. Nada más que decir al respecto. Por que a algunas personas les cuesta tanto ser feliz? Entiendo que todo el mundo tiene problemas, pensamos distinto y tenemos cada uno de nostros nuestro propio planteamiento político, pero para qué y por qué opacar a un compatriota que producto de su gran capacidad ha sido elogiado con título como el que le ha otorgado Decker COmmunication?
    Por último deseo felicidad para todos ustedes y en particular para mi hermosos país Chile que realmente no lo ha pasado muy bien este año.
    Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo 2011.

  24. Where did Meg Whitman fall in roster of candidates? And, would suggest that Woods make your worst list…could there have been more of a train wreck than his artificial apology via a press conference to family and friends—and in theory, the public?

  25. Gosh. It is incredible you have chosen our crappy President Mr. Sebastián Piñera Echenique the best communicator of 2010. If you just knew Spanish… argh… He has used so funny words that whenever we see on TV we wait for him to use a better one! “Tusunamis” “Marepotos” “Galácteas”…

  26. Well let me leap on that one Barry.
    Meg did not do well in her communications, and was a candidate for the Worst list. There were definitely lessons there – particularly the fact that she shunned the media early, and never really opened up to them until it was too late. And by that time, she didn’t have the experience of “spontaneity” in dealing with media, press and controversy. So she was not an effective communicator.
    I guess the ultimate decision to not put her on the last was empathy – so much of her downfall was due to the decisions of her top campaign staff. I think they sold her down the river in some ways. Her biggest mistake was more in the decision to keep them and their bad advice. She was a great business woman and a very bad politician.
    Tiger Woods was on the Worst list, but he got bumped by Harry Reid. Judgment call – and I agree with your assessment.

  27. Ben & Kelly, with all due respect, let me add that your Top Ten Best ranking sucks! A piece of advice: Better focus on something else. Communication is just not your thing.
    What makes a good Communicator?
    “Ability to listen well”: Piñera is a poor listener, specially when his own wife demands that he stop showing the miners’ written message everywhere he goes.
    “Ability to comprehend written and spoken language”: I doubt it, otherwise, he would act as a much more educated person and wouldn’t make the verbal mistakes he makes way too often, much to the dismay and shame of his audience and even his own staff.
    “Ability to think clearly and to express ideas clearly in words”: Obviously, this is not his case. The chaotic speed of his thoughts exceed his ability to express himself clearly and correctly as to what grammar and use of the right words is concerned.
    “Ability to write clearly and competently”: Did you read what he wrote on the guests’ book when visiting the German President?
    “Ability to interpret nonverbal cues”: He doesn’t know what that means.
    “Ability to respect the other party and win the other party’s confidence”: Just ask the growing percentage of Chileans who disagree with his performance and administration!
    “Good memory”: Man, now we are at the bottom of it! How can someone be described as having a good memory when he doesn’t even know that one of Chile’s most prominent poets is actually alive and well; that Robinson Crusoe is a fictional character; that Juan Fernández is an archipelago, not an island; etc., etc. And most of all, a good communicator with a good memory should never forget not to pretend he respects people and human rights, when in the past he publicly supported one of the most despicable dictators this part of the continent has ever known.
    The success in the rescue of the miners does not make him a good communicator. It seems to me it was a well-staged reality show for the sake to winning the people’s approval and move up on the ranking.

  28. Que criterios usan para elegir un buen comunicados…quienes los eligen…y en que se basan….ya que Piñera la mayor parte de las veces, sus discursos son leídos, se los proporcionan sus asesores ..y normalmente cuando habla por el se equivoca….comunicador, al menos para mi seria, una persona con carisma, que llega a la gente, que es capas de convencer y sobre todo ser creíble ….perdón pero Piñera no tiene nada de eso.

  29. This is a great idea and wonderfully executed. Lists always cause great debates. So my questions is: Where is Sarah Palin? On the good list or the bad list? Or both?

  30. Bert, you put a lot of work into this project every year. I can’t imagine how many speeches you must watch in order to create this list.
    Any one of these people could have had a standout moment the day after this list was published, and suddenly that person’s fortunes would turn. Each one is an example frozen in time, a snapshot, of what’s effective or not in communication — in generally stressful or pressured situations. There are plenty of speakers who could routinely make the top or bottom of the list, but they are not necessarily faced with the challenges or media scrutiny of each year’s list members. That’s what makes it so fascinating.
    In fact, you could probably put out a new list every month, and I imagine very few of the rankings would remain unchanged!

  31. You left Ben Decker off the Best of 2010 list, although I guess that might be a bit awkward. He did a fabulous job at a memorial service – perhaps one of the most difficult places to effectively, clearly, and sensitively communicate.

  32. Thank you all for the comments. Some good ideas and feedback. Patricia – Bert mentioned his thanks to you for your comments. Here are some other feedback on your comments:
    Dan – Palin has been on there the last two years and could make a case on either list. Decided to take a year breather and no doubt she will most likely be on one of the lists next year.
    Lisa – thanks for your words. That’s an accurate description, but it makes these lists fun. Monthly would be an undertaking, they do take quite some time. 😉
    Wendy – Kind of you to say, and that would be a bit awkward – wouldn’t it? I appreciate your words and post.
    As usual, the political folks get the most attention. Interested in your thoughts on the Emmitt selection along with the others. Keep the comments coming – it’s good to hear!

  33. Deckers,
    Just trying to see where you guys are coming from but how would you guys evaluate Palin’s interview on GMA/Nightline with Robin Roberts?

  34. Hi Deckers! I enjoy reading your year-end assesments each year. I always get a great deal of info out of your comments, regardless of whether I agree with them or not. It’s always nice to see the experts weigh in on an obviously very touchy topic. Well done!!!

  35. Appreciate your thoughtful choices and insights.
    Would have liked to have seen Umpire Jim Joyce on the list as one of the best communicators this year. In the toy store of life, he acted and sounded like a very responsible adult in admitting his mistake. However, his time in the spotlight was shorter than the others you featured.
    Great job!

  36. I agree with this list. How about Mayor Bloomberg added as #11 to the worst speakers? He told New Yorkers to “Relax and go see a Broadway show” in the midst of the sanitation department’s incompetence in handling a major blizzard. People in the outer boroughs couldn’t dig out, trains, buses, and ambulances were stuck for hours. This kind of denial is equivalent to “Let them eat cake.”

  37. Good list Bert, and have to agree with the Obama choice as #10. Clearly he needs to find his groove again, starting with a new rallying call/theme that he can get fired up and speak about–so far, he’s been all over the map. Study the great communicators like Martin Luther King, or Reagan, and they all had a central, powerful theme-and a passion for it that cut through all the noise. On another note, isn’t it interesting how how one ill-spoken phrase can define a public figure’s image (“I want my life back” Tony Hayward. “Good job Brownie” Bush during Katrina).

  38. Hi Bert, I got to know you from John C Maxwell’s book Everyone Communicate, Few Connect. I have read some of your blog posts. I have to say very informational and interesting. I think all social media marketers should read your blog in communication.
    I have subscribed your blog thru’ Google reader. Thanks for the information, will continue to follow your blog posts.
    By the way, any books of you that you can recommend to me to read for social media marketing skill?

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