Posts Tagged ‘IABC’

Too Many Wrong Kinds of Speeches, Too Few of The Right Ones

CW imagesDavid Murray — editor of Vital Speeches of the Day, executive director of the Professional Speechwriters Association, and a friend– has a great piece in  IABC’s Communication World Magazine. He argues that leaders are “giving far too many of the wrong kinds of speeches, and far too few of the right ones.”

The problem is that CEOs and other top executives don’t yet realize role of a leader’s speech “has changed as much during the last decade as it did during the last several centuries.”

The advent of modern communications technologies means it is no longer necessary for a leader to go in front of a group of people simply to convey information. YouTube, blogs, on Twitter, and other social media channels can do that really, really well.

Instead, Murray says, leaders should stand at the podium only when they have an urgent message to convey to a crucial audience. Sadly, most leaders don’t take that approach, which is why we’ve all had to sit through boring presentations, rambling on-stage interviews, and deadly PowerPoint talks.

Interestingly, master communicator Lee Iacocca understood the difference between the right kind of CEO speech and the wrong one, long before the social media age.  In 1994 he wrote, “In every speech I give the object is to motivate. You can deliver information in a letter or tack it on a bulletin board.”


CEOs as Communicators-in Chief? IABC Says “Yes”

logo_iabcA recent report by the IABC  Research Foundation has sparked a lot of blogs and tweets from speechwriters and presentation coaches. The report  indicates that more and more corporate CEOs understand the vital importance of their role as communicator in chief.

If true, this trend is a dramatic change from 25 years ago: In 1988 an IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) study found that only 17 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs took an active role in communications functions or considered it an important aspect of their job.

The most recent study, A View from the Top: Corporate Communication from the Perspective of Senior Executives, is based on interviews with 20 senior executives from large companies around the world. Those executives  identified communication as one of their biggest challenges. It’s clear they also understood the importance of communication from the top.  As Barbara Gibson put it, in a review in Communications World, “The CEOs… demonstrated a keen understanding that their own role includes that of chief communicator. They know that their success depends on their ability to communicate with all their audiences.”