Tim Russert Taught Us Much about Communication

The shocking death today of NBC newsman Tim Russert is a great loss for many reasons. But from my perspective it marked the loss of a wonderful communicator. 

Of course, he had a positive conversational style that made you want to watch him.  But I thought one of his greatest contributions was his ability to explain relatively complex stuff. This is particularly hard to do on television when time is very short. 

One of the things he was best known for was using a hand-held whiteboard to explain election numbers.  In the following clip, he did a great job of breaking down why Barack Obama had eliminated Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidential nomination.  He started with the simple point that no Democrats thought Hillary had a chance. Then he used his trademark whiteboards to go through the numbers.  Then he ended by restating the point that Hillary can’t win.

He could have used more sophisticated television graphics. But the handwritten whiteboards made things seem so simple.


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