Who are your most influential communicators?

New Wave PR have started a meme on the top 3 most influential communicators.

As you can see, several peeps have picked it up and run with it.

I didn't get tagged, but I'm joining in anyway!

The greatest communicators, almost by definition, must be among those with the greatest charisma. So logically the likes of Nelson Mandela or Bill Clinton should be there.

But the question is a subjective one: who's communication skills have most influenced the way I think about communicating?

  1. No 1 is easy. I agree with whoever nominated Richard Branson. I've met him a couple of times (and his dad & mum, once!) and I like him, even if I don't always applaud what he does. The important thing is that he was personifying his company, and talking to consumers as real people, in a Web 2.0 bloggy non-corporate style... before Tim Berners Lee (another nominee) even invented Web 0.1!

    And that has always felt instinctively right to me. The relationship between corporation and consumer in the old world was un-balanced and formal. Companies (and PRs) paid lip service to the 'customer always being right', but micro-managed the relationship and kept them at arms length. In the new world the relationship is consensual, and a street-savvy consumer/audience has to be engaged naturally.

    So, who else have I seen doing that, and sub-consciously emulated?

  2. (I'm going to regret this because I think I am possibly the last person in London standing up for him) Ken Livingstone. A real wysiwyg politician. Like him or loathe him, his communication style - NOT patronising his audience and inviting dialogue & engagement with them at every opportunity - again, pre-dates PR/Web2.0.

  3. And for my third...

    I'm going to give it to a true communicator whose 'off the script' style is WAY more influential than I think anyone suspects... BBC Radio 4's Eddie Mair.


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