L’étoffe des grands communicateurs

CAMBRIDGE – Actuellement, l'exemple le plus impressionnant de leadership fondé sur la capacité à communiquer est probablement celui de Barack Obama, qui a donné trois fois plus d'interviews que George W. Bush et tenu quatre fois plus de conférences de presse aux heures de grande écoute que Bill Clinton à ce stade de leur présidence. D’aucuns se demandent aujourd’hui si ces paroles sont trop belles pour être vraies.

Tous les chefs capables de mobiliser les masses communiquent efficacement. Winston Churchill attribuait souvent son succès à sa maîtrise du verbe anglais. Les Grecs anciens disposaient d’écoles de rhétorique pour affûter leurs compétences devant l'assemblée. Cicéron s’est imposé au Sénat romain après avoir fait des études d’art oratoire.

De bonnes compétences rhétoriques contribuent au soft power . Etudiant peu doué, Woodrow Wilson a appris l’art oratoire en autodidacte, qu'il considérait essentiel à l'exercice du pouvoir. Martin Luther King Jr a baigné dans une tradition religieuse afro‑américaine riche des rythmes du phrasé. Clinton pouvait associer expression théâtrale, récit d’anecdotes et capacité globale à véhiculer des idées – qualité qu’il a, d’après son cabinet, développée et améliorée tout au long de sa carrière.

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