In this episode, I’m joined by author, communications expert and dear friend David Murray, who recently released his book, An Effort to Understand: Hearing One Another (and Ourselves) in a Nation Cracked in Half. David has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly and The Chicago Tribune and published several other books. He also leads the global Professional Speechwriters Association and the Executive Communication Council (ECC) and pens the daily blog “Writing Boots.”
In our conversation, we discuss how effective internal communications can foster empathy in oftentimes divided workplaces, as well as:
- Why the book is dedicated to communicators: “This is the distillation of all the wisdom I’ve gotten from hanging around with [communicators] in bar rooms and out of bar rooms and at work in a hundred different ways,” he said. “So, this feels like it’s not my book, but really our book.”
- The criticality of internal communications: “There’s endless stuff for an internal communication group to be doing to help employees understand more profoundly what they’re doing in the world and what their organization is doing in the world,” David said. “And what an important thing to do to make people feel like full citizens of their country and of their corporation.”
- How an increased understanding of each other — and willingness to listen — can help us best navigate differing opinions and find commonality despite individual social and political leanings: “To the extent that we can understand our fellow human beings, we can communicate with them better,” he said. “Or, we could at least understand their behavior better and deal with it.”
- What makes communications “scary”: “You don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s what makes it exciting.”
- The best path forward for internal and executive communications: “That’s how organizations communicate: Take things in, spit it back out and react to the humanity inside the organizations.”
For more from David, head to:
- David’s interview with “The Father of Internal Communications,” Roger D’Aprix, from EE Voice Episode #55.
- His work at ProRhetoric, an organization that includes the global Professional Speechwriters Association, the ECC and Virtal Speeches of the Day.