A Communications Truth About An Inconvenient Truth

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My passion for the movie, An Inconvenient Truth, was rekindled this past weekend care of Terry Fallis from the Inside PR Podcast (the other co-host is the enigmatic David Jones). Fallis has an audio segment on Inside PR #40 where he discusses how powerful the movie An Inconvenient Truth is from a communications stand-point. The movie – which is a documentary, which is really a recording of a live presentation done by Al Gore on the state of our environment – is something every marketing, advertising or communications professional that does any form of public speaking should see.
I had seen An Inconvenient Truth in the movie theatre and Fallis’ comment drove me out to Best Buy where I bought the DVD. As you may know, I have a strong passion for public speaking and watching someone as refined as Al Gore is like a music lover watching a magnificent symphony. He understands how to navigate the issues by adding humor, personal insights, facts, quotes and stories which culminates into the bigger idea that each and every one of us must do our part to take care of the one and only home we truly have: our planet.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue of Global Warming (spend five minutes in Montreal this winter and you’ll be more than convinced that it’s a reality), I think all marketing professionals really do owe it to themselves to watch An Inconvenient Truth both for the content and for the style of presentation.
My guess is Gore has developed his speaking skills by giving this eco-friendly talk thousands of times since he almost became the President of the Unites States of America. I would also venture to guess that his years spent alongside Bill Clinton (who is, by far, one of the best public speakers I have ever seen) also honed his communications skills.
Beyond the deep and troubling conclusion that An Inconvenient Truth arrives at, it’s hard not to be struck by the notion that a lot of the time, it’s who is delivering the message versus the actual content. We’ve known for years about the issues regarding our environment, but the ability to dynamically engage in the story and keep the average person enthralled for the ninety-plus minutes is a testament to great communications skills. It’s also something every marketer strives for when attempting to connect with consumers.
Perhaps the inconvenient truth of marketing is that most of us spend hardly enough time mastering the skills of presenting, speaking and communicating.
Update: Inside PR #41 focuses on skills for the new business pitch and Inside PR #42 features a conversation on the art of presenting.