If you interact with people, use social media or consume news, it’s hard to avoid stories regarding Donald Trump’s latest pronouncement. And each time, political experts ponder if his latest outburst will finally end his assent, only to be answered by a new batch of fans.
Although Trump’s language is a bit more colorful (among other things) than what we typically see from a presidential hopeful, his mass appeal may have something to do with his mastery of the three Ps: Plain talk. Passion. Predictability. And we can all learn from it.
The average American reads at a middle school reading level. If our communications goal is to create messages that appeal to broad and diverse audiences, we must move from crafting prolific statements that showcase our advanced writing techniques and broad vocabulary to just simply telling it like it is. Short, sweet, to the point. Using common language that needs no advanced comprehension skills and leaves little room for interpretation.
Leaders who deliver simple messages with enthusiasm, conviction and urgency capture their audiences’ attention and connect on an emotional level. They’re believable. They instill confidence. They’re empowering. They make us feel as if we’re part of something great (or making something great again). And their passion is infectious.
Ever hear the phrase, “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”? There is comfort in knowing who we’re dealing with … the good, bad and the ugly. We like our leaders (and our friends, partners and relatives) to respond in a consistent way to every situation. No surprises. No shock and awe. No need to regain our footing after every conversation.
Will Trump’s following remain strong? Only time can tell now that the caucuses are taking place. However, from a communications standpoint, the lessons to be learned are timeless.