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Aug 15, 201310:32 AMBeyond the Bio

A Closer Look at MBQ's Power Players

a>m ventures’ Patrick Woods on Good vs. Great Communication

Aug 15, 2013 - 10:32 AM
a>m ventures’ Patrick Woods on Good vs. Great Communication

In our weekly blog, "Beyond the Bio," we ask MBQ Power Players to write a post of their choosing about their industry. This is the second post from the August/September issue in the category of Entrepreneurship. Last week's post was from Matthew Heiter on being evangelists for growing Memphis entrepreneurial ecosystem.

When Aeschines spoke, they said, 'How well he speaks.' But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, 'Let us march against Philip.'”


Good communication transfers information. Great communication alters belief.


This distinction became clear for Winston Churchill in the spring of 1940. Less than a year into total war in Europe, Churchill took over as British Prime Minister. Faced with the dismal circumstances on the continent and a shaky situation at home, Churchill delivered several now-famous speeches that set the context for Britons by providing a sense of heritage, history, and a common purpose, along with a civic rallying cry with which to face uncertain times.


"We Shall Fight on the Beaches" is the name commonly given to his speech to the House of Commons on June 4, 1940, in which he painted a dire yet somehow hopeful picture of the coming years.


You might be familiar with it:


"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."


This crescendo paints a grim picture of the coming days. Churchill reminds Britons of the history of their island and their people, and injects the typical "carry on" point-of-view that gave the British a sense of solidarity and purpose.


He does more than simply state the facts; rather, this speech embodies great communication that inspired a country to action.


Great communication alters reality. It sparks something in the audience's psyche that they've always known to be true but that they've never been able to fully articulate themselves.


It's the difference between giving a nice presentation and delivering such a powerful message that the content itself becomes invisible as the audience grasps with visceral response to the message's truth.


It's the difference between a tacit nod of ascent and the fervent grasp of shield and sword.


It's true that great speeches often emerge from desperate circumstances, but that doesn't mean your daily communications need to suffer from mediocrity.


So much of our personal and professional lives can be reduced to our ability, or inability, to communicate. Deals fall apart, companies falter, and marriages grow cold all as a result of lackluster communication. The opportunity, then, is to focus our worldview into a message that taps this sentiment and move our people from the reality of where they are to the possibility of what could be.


Communication has many functions–educating, entertaining, warning, to name a few–but only when communication moves beyond the mere sharing of facts and data do we move into the realm of inspiration, leadership, and true behavioral change.


Power Player Profile: Patrick Woods

Director, a>m ventures. B.A., University of Memphis; M.Div, Baylor. A division of ad agency archer>malmo, a>m ventures invests creative capital into digital startups by providing them with naming, branding, design, and PR services in exchange for equity. Recently led the rebrand of Memphis healthcare IT startup Computable Genomix to Quire. Board Member, Project: Motion and Seed Hatchery. Executive Committee Member, Mayor Luttrell’s Young Professional Council. Cheer For the Kids.


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