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What it takes to communicate

A journalist commented on our Communicator of the Year award; “You’d expect them to be good communicators because it’s their job.”

That made us smile because it imagines that communication comes easily. It assumes that ‘news’ is made by people whose job it is to make news.

There are thousands of people with important things to say, in jobs requiring public communication, who don’t get heard.

The public agenda, and the agenda of any audience, is determined by those who communicate the best.

For example, there’s plenty of clever economists with ideas we should probably know about. But we only hear those of the few who are powerful communicators, like last year’s winner, Shamubeel Eaqub.

There’s hundreds of membership organisations, but only a few with people as good at communication on behalf of their members as this year’s winner Greg O’Connor.

A common theme among our finalists is that good communicators think about how to attract attention. They shape ideas to appeal. They use evidence people relate to or are more likely to agree with.

Above all, we find that good communicators are brave people. They take calculated risks. They work at making their news worth the listening time of other people.

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