Executive Rewind: The Intangibles of Persuasive Messaging

It’s often the subtle things that win over your audiences.

What you say is important, of course, but what you’re saying silently helps close the “sale.”

Robert Manfred is the 10th and newest commissioner of Major League Baseball. His demeanor exudes likeability. He’s real and credible. He projects a definite sense of accessibility.

(Watch his full interview with Maria Bartiromo at the bottom of this post and see if you agree.)

Overall, he did an excellent job. I want to share a positive example of his technique.  But also an example of how he could’ve done a better job with one of the questions.

First, the positive example, on the question of going to the ballpark vs. watching at home. It’s something of a conundrum for professional sports, especially since HDTV and giant den or family room screens now are commonplace, and replay technology has come so far:

The commissioner’s response is positive and on point; his message is clear. The key economics of the game are at the ballpark!

But on the question of Alex Rodriguez’s return after a year long suspension for his use of PEDs, Manfred got hung up on the tenor of the question, and responded in kind:

Repeating the word “distraction” weakens Manfred’s answer. And his suggestion A-Rod’s return increases interest in the game is something of a stretch.

Consider if he had paused and responded to that same question this way (an edited version):

By going to the point that people are forgiving, etc., Manfred avoids the suggestion of a distraction and smoothly sets aside the A-Rod controversy.

But, this really is the only slight improvement I found in the MLB Commissioner’s performance. His comfort level and friendliness go a long way toward creating a very positive climate. There were some relevant tough questions, but he wasn’t fazed.

Non-verbals often are the final arbiters in transmitting strong messaging. You can watch the full interview here:

Leave a Reply