Communicator of the Year


Following is a repost from my business site, Business Writing Coach. Did you hear Mr Timmermans speaking? How did it affect you?


Out of the horror and chaos of the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines jet over Ukraine last week, a great communicator emerged. His name is grand – Franciscus Cornelius Gerardus Maria “Frans” Timmermans – and his capacity to say what no-one else could, even grander.

To a packed meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York, Mr Timmermans, the Dutch Foreign Minister, gave a speech that went straight to the heart of the matter in direct and simple language.

When a person speaks in this way, something unmistakeable happens. A stillness, a profound hush, falls on the listeners. The listener recognises something special is taking place. A human being is speaking from the universal humanity he shares with each of his listeners. He is speaking without concern for the impression he is making, or whether he is “winning” or “losing” the conversation. So it was at the UN meeting.

Those not in the room could hear it too.

Bill Clinton, former US President and master communicator, watching on TV from far-off Australia, remarked on it, saying he had been “overwhelmed” by Mr Timmermans’s comments:

He took my breath away when he speculated what the last moments of those people must have been like.

Below is the clip showing Mr Timmermans’s speech. The point Clinton refers to comes at the 46 second mark. Watch it and see for yourself, but let me say one thing before you do.

You may think Mr Timmermans’s mastery of communication is reserved for a few individuals, a rare politician or CEO. That is not the case. This kind of communicative power is available to everyone, and doesn’t reside in training, working on your grammar or collecting tips for “being a better communicator”. What it takes is one thing: the courage to be real. Choose this and you too can communicate with the power and grace of Mr Timmermans. Our workplaces, our societies, need you to.


Take your communication to the next level …

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