Tag Archives: Boris Johnson

“It’s not what you say, it’s the way that you say it…”

Interesting point made by Matthew Flinders, a politics professor at the University of Sheffield, in the wake of Boris Johnson’s disastrous CBI ‘Peppa Pig’ riff:

“He’s absolutely fantastic in terms of his performative skills and his ability to work a crowd. He uses speeches not to convey information but as a tool of entertainment, to ingratiate himself and develop himself as a character.”

I thought it a very telling illustration of the difference between any communication’s supposed/purported objective and its true goal, often all but totally divorced from the notional.  It flags up for any communicator the crucial importance of being crystal clear not about what you’re trying to say, but what you’re trying to achieve.

Boris the Communicator

Reading Jonathan Freedland in this weekend’s Guardian, I came across two ‘tests’ for communicators I’d never come across, both of which Boris Johnson is said (clearly rightly) to pass with flying colours: the Madonna test – ie, instantly recognisable with no need for a surname; and the Simpsons test – instantly recognisable as a silhouette.