Communicating With Passion Trumps the Facts

Words matter, but saying them with feeling matters more, in politics and business. We’re in the home stretch of the Presidential race in the U.S. with the final debate this evening between the two candidates.

Winner or Loser?

Communication with passion

Will the candidates ignite our passion in tonight’s debate?

Will there be a clear-cut winner or loser tonight? Most observers felt that Gov. Romney won the first debate with President Obama. He showed more passion while the President was criticized for his lackluster performance. In the aftermath, that’s what most people were commenting on the most – not what they said but how they said it.

Political pundits lauded President Obama for pulling out all the stops in the second debate. He got a bit of a bump in the polls.

But once again, much of the commentary was on how he – and Gov. Romney – put up their dukes, invaded each other’s space and interrupted each other with the passion of two fighters in the 15th round of the heavy-weight championship. They grabbed our attention with their style of communication more than their messages.

Communicating Change    

These debates are a reminder for companies that passion counts when they’re communicating with employees.

Whenever change permeates a big company, for example, resistance is inevitable. The announcement of change itself raises anxiety levels, creates doubts in employees’ minds, and makes them feel vulnerable and uncertain. And it raises serious questions:

  • What will this mean for me?
  • If I must operate differently, am I up to it?
  • Do I really believe what I’m hearing about the future of the company?

Sound leadership and a clear vision are required to answer these questions. But most important, the CEO’s honest passion and belief in the vision will inspire people to follow.

I Have a Dream

Communication with Passion

Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream” speech in the march on Washington

Inspired communication is essential to calm fears and build support for change. Imagine if Martin Luther King Jr. had stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and said, “I have a business strategy.” Rev. King didn’t do that.

He said, “I have a dream,” and showed us what his dream was, his picture of the future.

You get more people to change by showing them something that affects their feelings than with a detailed factual analysis. So far, neither of the Presidential candidates has ignited the voters with his passion for the country’s future. Maybe one of the candidate’s will tonight.

Stay tuned.

Leave a Reply


  1. In my neck of the woods, people ARE ignited. Maybe it’s because we’re a smaller area and I’m stay involved going to meetings and rallys. But it IS the passion that both the demeanor and facts are bringing out. I think you could have passion without facts be effective; and certainly all writers know that story telling is effective. But combine facts and passion and you have a knockout.

    Good post – thanks Jeannette.

    • Pat – glad to hear there is excitement in your neck of the woods. I for one can’t wait for the election to be here and over. I’d like to hear more of the real facts and less posturing.

  2. Jeannette, I don’t belive anyone will disagree with what you write because those are well established facts.

    But that doesn’t mean that the most passionate presidential candidate will win. Let’s see who will be the next president of the United States. With your electoral system the person who gets least votes could actually become PROTUS:-)

    • Catarina — you say “could actually become PROTUS.” President George W. Bush lost the popular election but did actually win the Electoral College vote which I think is a travesty. The candidate with the most votes should win,in my view.

  3. Jeannette, I agree that passion builds followers and was happy to see Obama show his passion for what he believes. The constant slams on his record are fodder for rhetoric, especially when used as generalizations with little attention to the facts. I, for one, think we’re better off than we were four years ago and would hate to see us return to that time of war and market crashes.

    Thanks for a thoughtful post.

    • Dolores — the last four years have indeed been very difficult. I don’t know that any President could have brought us out of the slump. We’re part of a global economic village and when one country suffers every country suffers. The EU countries have had even a worse recession, so we should be grateful ours wasn’t worse. As for the foreign conflict we’re in, I say let’s get out as soon as possible so we can get on with our own economic recovery.

  4. I personally found the amount of posturing both candidates have done to be off-putting. There’s a thin-line between showing feeling and passion and just being downright disrepectful toward one another. I’ll eagerly be tuning into tonight’s debate 😉

    • Jeri — I agree. There is a real lack of respect between candidates – not only in the Presidential race but other races as well. In New York, we’ve been spared the Presidential commercials because both candidates feel it’s safely in the Democratic column. But I’m away right now and the barrage of negative advertising is staggering and disheartening.

  5. Having a passion and belief in what you’re saying shines through when you are trying to communicate any important message. It really makes a difference when it matters the most. Facts and figures can be compelling when delivered with care, concern, belief and conviction. There is a saying, “It isn’t so much what you but how you say it” that will get the attention you desire. Let’s hope they either candidate have conviction and belief and it shines through, I believe that is something the public is hungering for.

    • Susan – I do think the American people are hungering for honesty and conviction and the truth. So many distortions by both sides in this campaign it’s discouraging.

  6. I really liked the bit about what if Martin Luther King had said, “I have a strategy”. He might have, had there been powerpoint back then…no, probably not.

    Great way to make a point, though.

    I remember a commercial from about 20-25 years ago. It was for Hardees and young woman with silver blue eyes was looking sad, the Hardees Manager asked, “What’s wrong Jess?”

    I can’t remember the name of my high school home room teacher, but I remember the name of the character in that 30 second commercial. Emotion is a powerful thing.

    • Brian — it’s so true that the emotions you experienced at a time and place always stick with you. Years ago a neighbor during the course of a conversation said to me, “Remember, tomorrow ain’t promised to you.” I took that to be grateful for what I have now. It’s a powerful statement that I think of often.