In commemoration of Martin Luther King Day, let’s take a moment to not only celebrate Dr. King’s life and extraordinary achievements, but to recognize and consider how his expert communication skills helped him promote his ideas and mobilize the nation. These skills proved vital to his success.

So, how precisely was he able to accomplish this?

He was clear. He was concise and employed basic language. He wanted his message to be heard and accepted by a very broad audience from all walks of life. He also clearly articulated his mission, as well as everyone’s role in the movement. When individuals understand how a message affects them personally, they are more likely to take action.

He used illustrations. Sometimes he used very descriptive language and metaphors to make his chosen words more poignant. This further helped to convey his ideas in a way that people could relate to and actually feel. For example, he compared segregation to a dark valley and racial justice to a
path of sunlight.

He was authentic. He spoke with great passion, conviction and enthusiasm. It was evident just how much he believed in his own message.

He never wavered. Amidst civil unrest and violence in the country and personal affronts, he never
wavered off message and used positive language. He also repeated compelling versus and phrases multiple times for emphasis. Who can forget “I have a dream”?

He researched. He carefully selected the best venues and channels to reach people, including marches and rallies. He encouraged peaceful demonstrations, which helped draw the attention of masses of people to his cause while also attracting significant media attention.

Anything else spring to mind? I’d love to hear from you, and continue to celebrate one of the finest leaders our nation has ever known.