From Churchill: Don’t be subtle or clever

54 years ago today, Winston Churchill died. 
He is one of the most REVERED orators of the past 100 years, and as such, I consider it professional obligation to study how he used language. What’s most notable about Churchill — he was direct and unequivocal. 
How to deliver an important message — “use a pile driver,” says Churchill. At BETTISON, we work hard to follow this advice when developing both STRATEGY and MESSAGES for clients. 

An example I drafted to respond to a reputation/character attack:
“The statements complaining of her conduct are full of hyperbole and lies — all of which can be easily disproven. It is an unadulterated character attack, the motivation for which still remains a mystery. The statements show an utter disregard for rudimentary governance protocol and lack anything resembling professional and productive communications.”

I’m not sure if Churchill would approve of this draft. But to keep focused on strong messaging, I ask: “What would Churchill say…?” 
Consider the following in determining the best way to communicate your critical message:

  • First, what is the most important thing you want people to know, understand, or FEEL?
  • Second, how can you say it clearly and succinctly? What words will be most PRECISE? 

Even applying Churchill’s rule to our personal relationships has great value. 

To our loved ones:
“You are important to me. You are my priority. I care deeply about you.”

The next time you are faced with developing an important message, imagine sitting in the Prime Minister’s office, smoking CIGARS, drinking SCOTCH, and discussing your message — would he approve? 

I often ask: “What would Churchill say…?”