It isn’t often that this happens, but sometimes I do have the debate with other people as to what constitutes “professional” behavior or “professional” outfits or a “professional, high-quality communication product.”
On its face, the debate may appear to center on substance. That is, the content of a particular document, photograph or video.
But in my view, it’s really about the foundational assumption that “professional” must be the same thing as “formal.”
That may have been true in 1970, or even 1980, or possibly 1990 and if we’re stretching it maybe 2000.
It is not true today.
It is most emphatically not true today.
Regardless of political ideology, there is no doubt that U.S. President Barack Obama has demonstrated he is a master of professional communication.
It is not the traditionally Presidential poses that define him.
It’s not the serious meetings with former Presidents and heads of state. Frankly the President often looks uncomfortable in those, a bit ill at ease.
No. It is the moments where the President is with the people. Just one of us.
It is the moments where he feels our pain. Where he sings to us of grief, and redemption.
No matter where you are or with whom you speak, no matter what the context, you would do well to take a lesson from President Obama.
He truly understands how to connect – not as the embodiment of an abstract idea, but as a human being. As a person.
If the metric is success at conveying a message convincingly, then the President’s got game.
It’s the most professional method of contemporary communication that I can imagine.
Photo credits: All photos via White House. Main photo here. Photo of President Obama with arms folded here. Photo of President Obama with President George Bush here. Photo of the President watching a movie here. Photo of the President with gymnast McKayla Maroney here. Photo of the President walking up to a private home here. Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and do not represent those of my agency or the federal government as a whole.
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