Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Bill Clinton is a great talker. He’s that big game player that every coach desires, the one who will show up and deliver in the clutch, no matter the game or the conditions or the opponent. He’s that good, and a public speaking tour de force that everyone can learn from — and should.
I see it all the time — young business leaders full of big visions, passion, energy, focus and grit, yet stumble along when it comes to communicating. They know every detail of their business and can dream up revolutionary new concepts in a blink. But even the greatest ideas can flounder if they aren’t communicated effectively.
70% of the time, CEOs don’t fail because of lack of vision or charisma. They fail because of bad execution, and poor communication skills one of the biggest factors. That is a very costly proposition for any organization because no company can lose its leader without losing some sense, even temporarily, of its identity and direction.
There’s a reason some of our biggest clients are pilots and airline executives. In today’s global quest for the sky, three billion passengers and nearly 50 million tons of cargo fly around the world each year, with air traffic control having doubled every 15 years.
Magic Johnson may have brought HIV into our homes and stadiums, but it was a little known environmentalist that put it on the political stage. His name was Bob Hattoy and the fact that I lived across the hall from him in D.C., brought me into his orbit, as well, and a number of historical moments that would end up defining both the White House
While the media continues to parse every word Hillary didn’t say during the latest Benghazi ruffling, the rest of us should recall that pretty in pink moment when she actually broke her legendary silence. It was on April 22, 1994, that news-making year of Arafat’s return, OJ and Bosnia and Hillary’s own little war over Whitewater.
When Peter Hannaford spoke everyone listened, even the President. It was from Hannaford that I first learned about Washington power levers and that crucial skill of managing the news media. He was powerful, and brilliant, and a true gentleman whose finesse with words changed not only the times but an entire presidency.
At a White House rope line, I once asked Mrs. Clinton if she kept a journal like President Reagan or Lady Bird Johnson’s immensely popular “A White House Diary.” As a Clinton Administration political appointee with a U.S. Senate confirmation, I was privy to that kind of candor with her and spent quite a bit of time at various events.