Is good communication an art or a science?
While most people have considered it an art, Wharton People Analytics Initiative Co-Director Cade Massey says that Big Data may provide the most important clues about what makes a leader a great communicator.
Looking at verbal, voice and visual clues, researchers looked into what visionary communicators (people like Elon Musk, Franklin Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart) do differently than average communicators.
Here's what they found:
- They talk about the present, not the future. "I think that people think if you're talking so much about the future, then it's going to be less credible," Massey says. "People aren't going to believe you as much. So, you really want to apply it to today."
- They break complex information down into simple steps.
- They are most concerned with getting their vision into the minds of their audience.
- They use second-person pronouns.
- They use a lot of perceptual language, talking about look, touch and feel. "It really brings the audience into the experience with you," Massey says, pointing to how Musk always talks about what it's like to drive a Tesla.
"We can actually give them a lot of truth in the data — talk about how they are perceived, talk about how they can get better, and give them a very prescriptive plan to better impact their audiences and achieve their purposes," he says.