Sunday, September 26, 2010

Susan Desmond-Hellmann: Communicator Extraordinaire and One of the Most Illustrious Female Execs in the Land

I first learned about Sue Desmond-Hellmann in early 2005, when she appeared on "Charlie Rose." At the time, she was a president at Genentech. I was so struck by Dr. Desmond-Hellmann's nonverbal gestures that I remarked to myself "Move over, Carly Fiorina and Ellen Futter. Make way for Susan Desmond-Hellmann," and wrote her an email complimenting her. After a while, Ms. Desmond-Hellmann fell out of my consciousness, sort of, until this past week when she appeared on the PBS News Hour.

This time, she made an even stronger impression on me. And as I watched her respond to the interviewer's questions--see video clip below--words such as the following flashed through my head: crystal clear, crisp, animated, emphatic, persuasive, engaging, well poised, utterly endearing and, ofcourse, extremely articulate.

There is no question that each one of us can advance his or her communication effectiveness by taking cues from her style--a style that is a rare and powerful blend of nonverbal techniques (especially vocal variety and facial gestures) and verbal skills, such as the use of synonymous terms and phrases, and antonyms.
video

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