Vin Scully, the long-time announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers who died yesterday at 94, leaves behind several important lessons in communication and leadership for corporate executives.
“Vin Scully’s grace, class, storytelling ability and vast knowledge about baseball are without question. But it was his sense of confidence, which was lacking in ego, that I think resonated with so many and serves as a lesson for business leaders,” Dick Grove, CEO and founder of INK Public Relations, said via email.
“Vin didn’t trip on his words and was sure of what was coming out of his mouth before he spoke. If he was talking about a personal experience, he would either be self-deprecating or put himself in the background to give focus to others which only elevated his status,” Grove observed.
“If a big moment happened in a game, he would let the moment live on his own. He was secure enough to know that the noise of the crowd and [the] reaction of the players could tell the story best. Vin never came across as a ‘know-it-all’ even though he knew it all. He shared. He didn’t lecture.”
“It’s safe to say that ego is alive and well in the C-suite. But for leaders to inspire confidence, it has to be a two-way street. There needs to be the type of security where being curious and truly listening to feedback is at play. Humility is a form of strength. Arrogance is a form of weakness. I think Vin Scully embodied humility as well as any announcer who has ever lived. With that, he both inspired and earned the trust of his audience. Two faces of leadership that are crucial,” Grove pointed out.
“Quite simply, Vin Scully was the greatest of all time. The communication skills he mastered and showed the world provide lessons not just for future broadcasters but also for executives and senior leaders and organizations everywhere,” he said.
Scully “capitalized on his innate ability for storytelling,” according to Steve Turner, owner of Solomon Turner PR. “The attention to detail and the way the words were woven together truly put Vin at the top of his game. I have tried to follow that lead in working with clients to improve their stories and communication skills for marketing and public relations purposes.
“Vin would connect events of the past, from 30, 40 even 50 years ago, and make it relevant to today’s audience and broadcast. Weaving those stories into short, crisp and colorful sentences is a real art. It is something we learned from Mr. Scully and we think about it often to help our clients in preparation for media interviews and other storytelling,” Turner said.
Matt Eventoff, the founder of Princeton Public Speaking, said via email that the following communication lessons from Scully are especially appropriate for business leaders.
The Power Of Imagery
“His use of all five senses and his verbiage made you feel that you were living in the moment with him.”
Understand Your Audience
“Vin was talking to everyone, all time. And he knew it. All simple language and his explanations of the game [were] accessible to a first-time listener or for a hard-core veteran. And he always did it with empathy, kindness and a little bit of self-deprecating humor. He didn’t take himself too seriously and always [admitted] it, but he made a mistake. Priceless lessons for every communicator.”
Master Tone, Intonation And Inflection
“To tell a story with only your voice requires a mastery of tone and inflection to almost create verbal highlighters. Every executive can do this. It means not just delivering your message! It means understanding your audience and utilizing your voice to generate an emotional response and keep your audience engaged. Executive can do this all the time I stressing keywords and key concepts, and creating space before and after so that the audience can fully absorb them.”
“This lesson [applies] to executives who can utilize silence and pausing the same way [Scully did] Allow your audience to catch up had to really process the messaging you are delivering,” Eventoff concluded.