How Al Gore Stopped Being Boring, and You Can Too
Jack Welch GE CEO, retired
When Al Gore began his run for the presidency in 1999, he was plagued by a certain image problem: he was viewed as boring. In fact, polls of Americans found him extremely boring.
The Washington Post ran an article, “Gore and the Bore Effect,” which cited its own poll that 56% of Americans found him to be somewhat or very boring. It also cited Newsweek and CNN polls finding 65% of Americans found him stiff and uninspiring.
Fast forward to 2006: Americans were lining up at theaters around the country, anxious to pay to see a documentary film which featured Al Gore giving a slide show presentation. The film broke attendance records for a documentary and made tens of millions of dollars. It also altered world public policy by putting climate change on the agenda.
What’s more, the following year Gore won both an Academy award and the Nobel Peace Prize for his work associated with the film. How did this remarkable turnabout happen?
Gore tapped into the most powerful source of energy for leadership communications: passion. Gore found his passion: an intense focus on global warming and its consequences. Gore is a fine example of the importance of communications in leadership.
During presentation skills coaching, I help my clients to get to the point so that their message is un-mistakable, so I’ll do the same with you: to be a successful leader today you must be an effective communicator.
That’s right--one factor differentiates successful leaders today: the ability to communicate. It helps to build a solid reputation and a strong personal brand.
Let me put it this way:
- To win in any organization you must be an effective communicator;
- To stand out from your peers you must know how to communicate;
- To get results through other people, you have to be able to engage and motivate them—which takes communication.
Don’t believe me, just look around you. If you see two people of equal technical skill, who is the person who gets promoted? Who has the visibility? Who gets people motivated?
In all cases, I’ll bet it’s the better communicator.
In fact, because of the nature of the world today, people who can express themselves effectively have all the advantages.
The benefit of taping into your passion through presentation skills coaching is that you'll find reduced anxiety and increased confidence in yourself and your communications.
The reason for this is because when you connect with your passion you cut off your self-awareness and focus on your subject. And forgetting about yourself and focusing on your people is what it's all about.
How about you? Have you seen the power of passion ignite in your leaders?