Mandela on Communication

December 6th, 2013

A group of American and South African students, aged from 11 to 19, met with Nelson Mandela at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, on 2 June 2009. This is part of a series of activities ahead of Mandela Day on 18 July.

A very humble homage to Nelson Mandela (1928-2013)

The world lost a great man this week, a tremendous role model for all of us.

The media has been awash with Nelson Mandela tributes and stories, all well deserved. I’d like to share just one quote:

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

Far be it from me to imply any likeness between Mandela and me, other than a hope that I might display an iota of his courage, strength and determination, and yet I was struck by the similarity of his message of my mantra:

Who do you think you’re talking to?

You must always know who you’re speaking with if you intend to influence them. At the core of communication is an understanding of the audience, their hopes and fears, what they know and have, and what they aspire to.

Rest in peace, Madiba.

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