THINKPIECE: Mayor Giuliani's encouraging words offer the latestexample of the value of communication

Through forceful, encouraging words, Mayor Rudy Giuliani united New

York City against the backdrop of a shattered skyline. Like FDR, who

raised America's morale during the Great Depression through his Fireside

Chats, and Winston Churchill, who ceaselessly inspired his people during

the London Blitz, "Rudy the Rock" soared to new heights of leadership

following the events of September 11. With Americans anxious, New York's

mayor brought to his constituents, and countrymen, a sense of security

and purpose, notions that historically rally the American spirit.

Giuliani's leadership, characterized by his formidable public speaking

skills, demonstrates the power of communication.



The suggestion that communication is the tie that binds and the remedy

that heals may be regarded as being naive and idealistic. Some in

corporate America don't believe that something so essentially simple and

fundamental to human nature can be so effective. However, as a

communications professional, with goals beyond just the pitch, this

precept is my lifeblood. As I behold a country applauding its leaders,

not knowing the specific details of their policies, but rallying behind

their words, critics should take notice.



As Giuliani exhibited, communication is not a luxury. It's the power

that brings an organization together and moves it forward. It is not

solely about company-wide e-mails, newsletters, or voice-mail messages

during tough times. It is about getting in front of people, during good

times and bad, and sharing goals, challenges, and expectations. It is

reaching out to individuals and motivating them to become members of the

team.



During these difficult times, communications cannot be sacrificed as

buckles tighten. With our nation at war, companies downsizing, and

massive mergers about, water-cooler gossip can easily replace boardroom

negotiations.



Think of those employees who have witnessed layoffs. Will they continue

to perform or spend company time agonizing over their own futures? Think

of those companies who have been displaced due to the events of

September 11. Will divisions in different locales be able to fulfill

corporate goals and connect with coworkers efficiently and

economically? As I am told that communications is not an investment that

adds to a company's bottom line, I wonder what the consequences are for

having an uninspired and uninformed workforce.



Corporations can learn valuable lessons from FDR, Churchill, and

Giuliani, none more important than the power of communication. As the

world outside becomes more uncertain, one's commitment to forge ahead

and keep on track is paramount. A commitment to communicate effectively

- with the goals of keeping people motivated, informed, focused, and

proud - must be stronger than ever.



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