A week has past since the tragic shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Greater minds than mine will deal with the broader societal implications of the murder of innocent children and how we, as a nation, tighten gun controls and better assure the safety of all Americans.
As a communicator, I have been struck by how articulate and on message the Parkland students have been. They have clearly delivered strong and powerful messages that have been stoked by the media and are leading to impressive results on gun control in Tallahassee and Washington. Let’s remember that these are average high school students we are talking about! These are normal kids into the normal things teenagers do, not adults with public relations consultants and other handlers who provide advice and counsel. I believe it is a moment when all of us need to pause and look in awe at how impressive these young people are.
Why are they so effective? The answer lies in what we tell our clients every day. When you have passion, a clear objective and speak in a forthright and honest manner, the media responds. Sure, we can help tailor messages, but there is no magic to having strong core content. Too many times we spend hours struggling with clients on messages rather than focusing on the basic elements I have discussed here. These young people have that clarity and passion, and it influences others. They are incredibly effective. Not only should they be proud of what they will accomplish, but as fellow citizens, we should be proud of them.