Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Communicator of the Week

Sometimes it takes a woman to tell men what is actually blindingly obvious. Margaret Thatcher revelled in such interventions by crafting a soundbite that encapsulated the moment and cut through the waffle. What
she would have said in her prime about the escalation in the chaos in the Eurozone one can only imagine.

Soundbites, often belittled by those critical of modern political communication, are a crucial tool in setting an agenda or shaping the political narrative. With today's fast moving news stream, based around social media and 24 hour news, a great soundbite can resonate around the world in minutes.  

Another woman hasn't done too badly to communicate a sense of urgency and desire for action since her arrival at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, has put
that organisation front and centre of the efforts to prevent the collapse of the Eurozone through a series of pithy interventions. 

Lagarde has a great capacity to deliver a soundbite, whether as part of a setpiece speech or an ad hoc doorstep interview. Her line this week captured, more than all the other hundreds of thousands of words said and written, the magnitude of the economic crisis: "There are dark clouds gathering in the global economy...if we do not act together, we could enter a downward spiral of uncertainty. Ultimately, we could face a
lost decade of low growth".

The Eurozone crisis is like watching an appalling car crash in super slow-motion with politicians asleep at the wheel. If Europe's leaders had communicated as effectively as Madame Lagarde over the past months
we might not find ourselves in this terrible mess. That is why I make her my Communicator of the Week.

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