Lessons in communication we can’t take from the former president

I seldom, if ever, get into politics or religion in my writing (sex on the other hand … ) but for Trump, that malignant shitfunnel, that screaming carrot demon, that angry Cheetos-dusted bloviator, I’ll make an exception.

To quote an article by Nate White, ‘he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace’.

In four short years, he succeeded in ushering in an era of small-minded, bigoted, punitive, vindictive greed into American politics – the likes of which we’ve never seen before and hopefully will never see again.

But more than that, he’s left us sitting on our couches glued to the television, mouths agog, wondering what the actual fuck he’s even saying. The man has elevated to an artform, the ability to talk at length without actually saying anything meaningful and still leave his audience in a state of complete and utter confusion.

So, before he goes, I’ve compiled a list of to-don’ts taken from Trump’s unintelligible rantings, the mind-droppings of a brain so addled by narcissism, so befuddled by logic and so utterly broken by something as foreign as the truth. Have at it.

Plan ahead of time

Unlike Trump, if you wish to leave the impression of being informed, on top of your game and a subject matter expert, it never hurts to plan what you’re going to say. Think through your messages, structure them logically, build them around a central idea or three key themes and support them with facts. Failure to do so may find you suggesting bleach injections to cure COVID-19.

Listen to the experts

Seek the advice of subject matter experts and defer to them. Really. Be they virologists, actuaries or experts in tree lobsters (it’s a thing, you can Google it) go forth and ask the experts. Your seven-minute online search doesn’t trump, if you’ll pardon the pun, the years it takes to acquire a PhD from an actual factual university. Don’t believe me? Ask Dr. Fauci. ’nuff said.

Have a clear message and stick to it

While I certainly enjoy watching Trump wander through the desert of his mind hoping that a tumbleweed of an idea will blow through, it’s probably best to start out with a clear idea of what you want to say and stick to it. Rambling is great if you’re on your seventh glass of wine on that blind date, hold that, I can’t think of any occasion when rambling aimlessly in conversation is going to get you a standing ovation – much less laid.

Get your facts straight

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story – Trump never does. Ever. You on the other hand, should do some serious fact checking and cross checking (because the interweb sometimes lies and sometimes has multiple versions of the truth). So, before you give us the facts, stats and figures, check ’em real good.

Avoid vague language

Vague language is where lies go to hide as the truth. You’re not actually coming out and saying it, you’re kind of sort of saying it but not really really saying, know what I mean? So does Trump and he does it. All. T he. T ime. Make sure you can back up what you’re saying and then say it in the simplest, most direct, clearest way possible. Leave misinformation nowhere to hide.

Know when it’s time to go

And lastly, as the song goes, know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away. Rather leave your audience wanting more than praying for a bolt of lightning to take you out. When it’s time to go, thank your audience and graciously exit stage left. Ahem, former president…

www.logicaltruth.co.za / terri@logicaltruth.co.za / +27 82 330 0780

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