SOURCE: Decker Communications

Decker Communications

December 14, 2011 09:00 ET

Decker Communications Names the Top 10 Best and Worst Communicators of 2011

Business Executives and Politicians Dominate the List

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Dec 14, 2011) - Decker Communications Inc., who trains professionals to be effective communicators, announced today its 16th annual Top 10 Best and Worst Communicators of 2011. The list includes individuals from all industries -- finance, technology, entertainment, politics, and more -- analyzing their strengths and weaknesses as communicators. Business executives and politicians lead the list with their memorable moments -- from #1 on the Best list Steve Jobs for transforming the way businesses communicate to #1 on the Worst list Anthony Weiner's sex scandal denial.

"The Top Ten is the year's best summary of teaching points that we can apply to our own communications -- either by enhancing a specific skill, or reminding us what we should never do!," said Ben Decker, president of Decker Communications. "This goes for professionals with any title, in any industry. There's no such thing as private speaking. We're always communicating -- whether it's to our boss, colleague, customers, and even our kids. The best news of all is that communications skills can be learned -- giving everyone the opportunity to gain knowledge from these great and not-so-great communicators."

The Best of the Best
The 10 Best represent how strong communications skills move people to take action, from changing the way we see a product or company, elect a politician into office, promote an executive, or change our way of thinking. They are passionate, concise, articulate, confident, poised, and creative.

It will come as no surprise that Steve Jobs takes the #1 spot on the Best list. Steve Jobs was rare in the way he created and developed vision, communicated it clearly and colorfully, and then led his vision to fruition. He has been on the Best list four times, notably as #1 in 2005, and received a due nod for his iconic intro of the iPhone in 2007. He not only transformed technology and the way we live, but he also transformed the way business communicates. No more Death by PowerPoint -- he just used a few visuals, and then spoke from the heart. Well rehearsed, but real -- authentic, and always with a message. Beyond business, perhaps his greatest "speech" was at the Stanford University commencement in 2005.

The Worst of the Worst
Our Worst list highlights how individuals of power can ruin their reputation overnight. Many, at one time, were seen as visionaries and leaders. However, their communication failures have led to their demise. They come across arrogant, deceitful, hostile, defensive, and lack credibility.

Many sex scandals masked the headlines this year; however, Anthony Weiner is a poster child for this year's theme of deception and evasion making him #1 on the Worst list. Anthony Weiner was a respected congressman -- elected as much for his communications as his deeds. Using that same confident style, he was filled with puffed up outrage when claiming his Twitter account was hacked by someone else showing his lewd photos. Turns out the public was deceived by his lies, and when he fessed up that it was he who tweeted, he continued to obfuscate, trying to hang onto his office. He had no apology, in both substance and style. He ultimately resigned in disgrace because of the photos, sure, but just as much because of communications that lacked any degree of humility, credibility, and above all leadership.

Who Else Tops the List?

  • Obama made the list again, but which one?
  • What CEOs led their companies to success or a downward spiral?
  • Charlie Sheen is down, Lady Gaga is up -- why?
  • Do any financial businessmen "Occupy" the list?
  • What CEO of what coffee company is cited for all around communications?
  • Any one from NBA, NFL or MBA make the cut?
  • Why is documentarian Morgan Spurlock on the list?
  • The Republicans are debating mightily, but did any of them make the list? Best or Worst?

For the remaining Top 10 Best and Worst Communicators of 2011 and their accompanying details visit the Decker Blog.

Top 10 Tips to Become and Effective Communicator
Here are a few tips professionals can follow to hone their communication skills:

1. Connect! Involve your audience by using 5 continuous seconds of eye communication. Treat the group like a collection of individuals and have mini one-on-one conversations, instead of darting and making very quick eye contact.
2. Kick it up a notch. Show energy and enthusiasm to keep people engaged. Own the room or stage by moving; make sure your voice can be clearly heard; and use both large and small gestures to emphasize your point.
3. Just stop talking. Avoid non-words such as uh, um, and like which can dilute your message and distract the audience, ultimately undermining your credibility. Instead, pause in between your thoughts and then continue speaking.
4. Make it about them. Craft your messages around your listeners. Before you do anything, consider your audience. What do they care about? Why are they sitting in front of you? Then explain what's in it for them.
5. Have a Point of View. How are you trying to change the way that people think or act about your topic? Make it the lead of your story and then build your message around it.
6. Tell them what to do. If you've done your job, they'll want to know more. Hand them next steps on a silver platter.
7. Show what's in it for them. Highlight the benefits for the listener. If your audience takes the action you're requesting tell the listeners the two benefits they will reap if they do what you ask.
8. SHARPen your message. Tell a Story. Use Humor. Create an Analogy. Cite a Reference. Paint a Picture. Don't rely on PPT!
9. Learn what others see. Record yourself on video or even audio.
10. Stay in the process. Keep communications top of mind by looking out for good and bad examples of communications.

About Decker Communications
Decker Communications consults and trains businesses in communications both in what they say and how they say it. Decker programs are transformational, creating focus, confidence and effectiveness in every day communication. Over the past 30 years, Decker has continued to evolve and enhance its signature programs to help individuals create for their listeners the most effective communications experience possible. For more information about Decker Communications, please visit http://decker.com.

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