Ronald Reagan & Steve Jobs: Great Communicators!

We asked communications professionals who are some great communicators, and we got some amazing responses.

Margaret J. King, Ph.D., Director of The Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis, said “You can start with Ronald Reagan, the “Great Communicator.”  And I think Fred Rogers qualifies in a totally different way – speaking to children.  Actually, one of Reagan’s greatest communications ever given was the one directed to children on the demise of the Challenger in 1986 – In speaking to them, he reached everyone in this reassuring and stirring eulogy about heroism and the cost of progress.”

Meanwhile, Dawna Jarvis went more local, saying “My high school bestie and business partner Danielle Sabrina of Tribe Builder Media is by far the best communicator I’ve ever come across. She is also a PR Pro and was just named Entrepreneur Magazines PR Expert.  No matter the subject, audience, or how intense a conversation can get she has an innate ability to stay completely calm. I’ve always admired this about her. Whether she’s speaking with Warren Buffet, a Celebrity, or just your average Joe she has the same demeanor through the entire conversation. She’s mastered the art of truly listening instead of listening to respond. She is calm and empathetic which I believe also enhances her communication skills.”

Katie Mudd, publicist at The Vokol Group said, “Steve Jobs Was a Great Communicator On and Off the Stage. She noted that  Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and tech-genius – was a master presenter and is possibly one of the most notable communicators of our time. Over the past two decades, almost every other tech company has tried to emulate Apple’s live product presentations. Steve Jobs was involved with every step of the presentation’s preparation, he selected the minimalistic black slides, which were strategically paired with choreographed moves, demos and images.  

Jobs was a great communicator on and off of the stage. When he presented, he spoke with passion and made his ideas easy to understand. He connected with the audience through storytelling and memorable demonstrations. He liked to keep things simple by only focusing on one topic at a time and without relying on the slides behind him. In fact, he rarely used words on his slides; he relied on images to tell the story.

Even though he was a tech guy, Jobs didn’t overwhelm the audience with overly technical jargon. He knew to connect on a human level he needed to speak about what the average person really cared about in a product rather than touting specs and features.

During the live product presentations, Jobs would walk around the stage freely, comfortably and relaxed. You never saw him stationary, holding onto a lectern like many people making a presentation. He spent many weeks, days and hours on stage rehearsing his speeches before the main event. People may think looking and sounding relaxed may have come naturally to him, but he practiced relentlessly. Job’s intensity is tough to top, but with discipline, determination and lots of practice you can develop his proven communication skills.”

Steve Jobs, Ronald Reagan and others!