Donald Trump was unique regarding communication style. In fact, he used a different communication strategy compared to the other presidential candidates, which has a significantly paved the way for him becoming the president despite the fact that his communication style has been analyzed, openly criticized, and commended. His communication approach was best captured by Jack Shafer, who is a Politico writer when he wrote a piece titled, Donald Trump Talks Like a Third Grader, and the lead sentence was, Donald Trump is not a simpleton, he just talks like one (Oswald n.p.). Jack Shafers publication was in August 2015, but a year later, on September 27, 206, a day later after a presidential debate between Trump and his Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, an article on Slate by Mike Pesca, which was titled This Is How Poorly Trump Communicates flatly states that Trump was a poor communicator. However, on October 5, a post by The New York Times by Michael Barbaro referred Trump as pithy, mean and powerful, in particular through his usage of Twitter. The article also highlighted that Trump had, mastered Twitter in a manner that no other candidate for presidency ever has. Essentially, through Twitter, Trump unleashed and redefined its power as a tool for political distraction, score settling, promotion, and attack. For this reason, the mixed reaction from the communication style Trump uses is capitalized to meet certain objectives, primarily because they can reach masses. His communication style is open, and usually, two-way, meaning that he listens even to the tweets.
Trump communication dimension highlights that he is open. In fact, he seems to communicate, in most instances via Twitter, everything that comes to his mind. He has voiced his mind regardless of whether that would elicit a backlash or not. He does not hide what he is thinking or how he feels. Even though there is a significant criticism of how he communicates, it shows that open communication is very important, even in his leadership position, he is seen to be an open communicator. He treats his subordinates as capable of meeting the objectives and shares information with them more openly. Also, he also keeps a two-way communication strategy. Even though he has used Twitter to communicate, he takes the time to identify with a segment of the population that was enough to propel him to the presidency primarily because one cannot just clinch the presidency without a large segment of the population believe that you understand the issues facing the country.
According to Ahmadian, Azarshahi, and Paulhus (49), Donald Trump is a is a paragon of grandiosity. He has a self-promotional style that has subsequently build a high profile in show business, mainly via his television show dubbed The Apprentice, as well as the financial world. In essence, his grandiosity is an important part of his leadership style because it enables him to be well recognized, both by haters and lovers. In fact, historian-rated narcissism is associated with a charismatic leadership, creativity, and good overall performance amongst U.S. presidents, which is also correlated to Trumps grandiosity. In fact, compared to his competitors, Donald Trumps was rated the highest in the grandiosity dimension. Based on the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC), Trump highest scored on the use of first person pronouns. He was also the highest rated regarding greater pitch dynamics, as well as informal communication, mainly through the use of Twitter among the 17 candidates (Ahmadian, Azarshahi, and Paulhus 49). Owing to these dynamics, Trump benefited from all these aspects of campaign communication style, and these also appeared to have worked in the general election.
In addition, he is also unpredictable. According to Seib (n.p), he tweets randomly and wades into subjects that he could otherwise avoid easily. In addition, he picks fights. For instance, as Seib (n.p) articulates, Donald Trump tweeted of North Korean hopes of developing nuclear weapons that are capable of reaching mainland U.S. as: It will not happen. For this reason, Trump from that highlights his assertiveness and a sense of confidence, which makes him look powerful among Americas. Essentially, being assertive is one of the qualities of a charismatic leader, and for this reason, Trump highly scores on that dimension. Besides, Trump repositions his opponents by finding a weakness, and then exploits them. His fan like this style of communication style because he shows persuasiveness, a recipe he uses to attack Mexico, Muslims, Democrats, and Republicans alike (Kalb n.p.). He shows that he can understand his target audience and repeats many times that those listening can remember.
Even so, Donald Trump also has weaknesses in the way he communicates. One of the ways that leaders fail is not listening and interrupting others often. According to Caldicott (n.d), Trump frequently demonstrates a strong disregard for listening, and subsequently goes ahead and interrupts others, such as his fellow candidates, as he demonstrated in the debates with Hillary. He interrupted the airtime of his fellow candidates in the GOP debates and even took over them. It is important to note that leaders do not have always to be heavy handed to be influential, which is an aspect that Trump lacks. In essence, listening reveals more about the mindset of a leader, as well as his strategic ability. By not listening to others, Trump lacks these dimensions, aiming his communication style less effective. Besides, the inability to listen to others point of view signals an underlying anger or a fear of being ignored. Essentially, this shows that Trump is a Narcissist, primarily because he loves to interrupt and gets angry in the process.
Besides, Trump also scores low on admitting mistakes. In fact, he hates to be wrong, and in most instances, he becomes apoplectic when a person suggest that he might have erred. Trump behavioral characteristics highlight that he is an alpha male primarily because he intimidates with his maneuvering skills, brains, and confidence, and avoids blame even though he his a master of blaming others. Besides, empathy is also an important dimension of an effective communicator, and Trump scores very low on this dimension. As Groysberg and Slind (n.p.) highlight, the command and control approach that Trump uses is less viable because leaders are increasingly appreciating conversational intimacy, listening, trust, honesty, and promoting dialogue, aspects that Trump does not have. Besides, Denning (n.p.) highlights that leadership storytelling is important for leaders because it is persuasive, authentic, collaborative, free, powerful, holistic, entertaining, memorable, and moving. Since Trump lacks these aspects, his communication style is not as effective.
Therefore, it can be concluded that despite the fact that Donald Trump captures a broad audience, ranging from social media to the political sphere owing to his openness, persuasiveness, unpredictable nature, attack mentality, and randomness in tackling matters, he is also not an effective communicator. He lacks empathy, does not admit to making errors, blames others, lacks excellent listening skills, and does not support dialogue, which subsequently makes him a poor communicator.
Ahmadian, Sara, Azarshahi, Sara and Paulhus, Delroy. "Explaining Donald Trump via communication style: Grandiosity, informality, and dynamism." Personality and Individual Differences 107 (2017): 49-53.
Denning, Steve. Why Leadership Storytelling Is Important. June 8, 2012. Web. May 26, 2017.
Groysberg, B. and Slind, Michael. Leadership Is a Conversation June 2012. Web. May 26, 2017.
Kalb, Ira. Five Reasons Trumps Communication Strategy Is Working. My 29, 2016. Web. May 26, 2017.
Oswald, Dan. President Trumps Communication Style Offers Valuable Lessons for Managers. February 1, 2017. Web. May 26, 2017.
Seib, Gerald. The Method in Donald Trumps Maddening Communications Habits. Jan 2, 2017. May 26, 2017.
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