Ronald Reagan had an authentic way of connecting with people. Authenticity is the essence of all communication. The words he used were vital, yet his ability to accurately connect with his intended audience was imperative. He knew that if his listener did experience a personal and emotional connection to what he said, then his message would not be impactful, inspire action, or bring about change.
Ronald Reagan was successfully able to connect with individuals of every age, race, demographic, and even political party. Regardless of politics, few disliked Ronald Reagan personally. Every person who crossed his path felt noticed by him, appreciated by him, and valued by him. He exuded warmth, graciousness, and a casual familiarity, while still maintaining the dignity of the presidency and the power of the office. Even his public communication captured an essence of personal connection that led to his overall effectiveness.
President Reagan greatly impacted my life many years before I met him personally . Even as a young boy, when he spoke, I felt he was talking directly to me. Somehow he was able to connect with me in meaningful and powerful ways. From the first moment I heard him speak, I knew that I wanted to learn to communicate like Ronald Reagan.
Ronald Reagan never used any sort of system or program to articulate his vision. He spoke plainly and genuinely to the American people—from his heart and with sincerity about what he believed was best for America and for the world. He appeared to be a naturally gifted communicator, and in his adult life, he certainly could be considered as such. Yet in his youth, Ronald Reagan was shy and introverted. His foray into the spotlight first began in church, where he participated in community readings with his mother, and of course later, as an actor in Hollywood, where he developed, refined, and embraced communication as a natural part of his persona.
I believe, that although many are blessed with this gift, effective communication can be learned by everyone and traits of meaningful, memorable communication can be mastered and applied by anyone willing to devote themselves to practice and growth. Ronald Reagan is certainly an excellent example of such diligence and ultimate success.
Although there is no magic formula to be the Great Communicator, in your own way you can formulate, articulate, and communicate your vision with greater success, effectiveness, and confidence. Ronald Reagan showed that once created, a vision communicated with substance, passion, and style can change the world. It has before, can, and will again. Great communication is an important skill that can be used in any setting and if done well, it can help you inspire loyalty and commitment.
Whether you are communicating a vision to your company or speaking to your family, my challenge to you is to incorporate the example of Ronald Reagan to achieve greater impact. Choose your words carefully to not only inspire action, but to create a positive environment in which you can change your world and the world of those around you.
Image Used Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library.