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Michelle Obama: a Superstar Communicator

By all accounts Michelle Obama is a fabulous human being and a Superstar Communicator. She is genuine, authentic, has great interpersonal skills. She is a great leader and role model.

If you have not read her recently published autobiography: “Becoming Michelle Obama” I recommend you do. Not exclusively to get the gossip on famous people: she is very polite and discreet, but to marvel at how her life has panned out, ending with her being one of the most recognised and respected women in the world.

This didn’t, however, come by accident; she has worked for this; built up a network of excellent contacts; and grabbed every opportunity presented to her in a positive way. This is no Trump offspring who has relied on Daddy’s contacts; this is someone who was born into an Afro American family in a poor area of Chicago. Who managed to get into an Ivy League University and started on a legal corporate career ladder before recognising that she really wanted to work within the public sector. She is now a role model for women and girls globally.

There are many standout sections of the autobiography, but I wanted to pick just two here. First of all, I believe Mrs Obama has excellent ‘Emotional Intelligence’. Possibly this wasn’t as developed when she was younger, but had polished this skill. She has a respect for others and whilst she is as sensitive as anyone else, has been mature enough to rise above the abusive comments (and there have been many racist and sexist ones).

Also, I was struck by how Mrs Obama continues to acknowledge other people’s contribution within certain projects. I remember seeing an Olympic swimmer deliver a (lacklustre) speech at a conference. She spent the time saying how wonderful she was, whilst moaning when her nanny became pregnant because it was inconvenient for her. I doubt if Obama would have done this; instead she would have acknowledged the contribution of the nanny and then moved on. I have now read accounts from people who have worked with her at the White House and for other projects, and they all mention that she always treated her team with respect – and I suspect would role her sleeves up to get things done if necessary. This is good leadership for many projects.

And being a Superstar Communicator is all about engaging and understanding your audience; acknowledging and respecting them; listening and acting upon them. For these reasons, Michelle Obama is a Superstar Communicator.

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