How to Get People to Listen, by Newark Mayor Cory Booker; “Statistics tell, and stories sell.” The real communicators are the ones who can motivate people to act—and ultimately to lead themselves.

How to Get People to Listen, by Newark Mayor Cory Booker

Cory Booker on April 11, 2013

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My mom told me very early in life, “Who you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you say.” What she meant was you’ve really got to embody what you’re trying to communicate. Ultimately, that’s more important than mere words. You also have to have passion and belief. My dad worked for IBM (IBM). He said, “Look, I can’t sell products I don’t believe in. People will see right through me. But if I’m passionate and have a deep conviction about what I’m doing, I’m the greatest salesman there is.” I’ve found it to be the same way for me.

If that doesn’t work, sometimes you have to do things that push people out of their comfort zone. I’ll ask for a handheld microphone because I don’t want to be behind that podium. Sometimes I’ll jump off the stage and walk in the audience. I’ll start with a joke and get people laughing, or I’ll tell a story. Again, I go back to my father. He used to say, “Statistics tell, and stories sell.”

When I was a Newark councilperson in my late 20s and felt impotent because I couldn’t get anything done, I had to use my creativity to get people’s attention. I engaged in a hunger strike at a housing project to get people to listen. I moved into a mobile home and parked it on the worst drug corner to get people to pay attention and address the issue. My goal is to motivate people to act.

In the end, it’s not about you; it’s not about getting people to listen to you. That’s just an ego indulgence. As a society, we’ve gotten into this state of what I call sedentary agitation—we’re often upset about what’s going on but not getting up and taking action. The real communicators are the ones who can motivate people to act—and ultimately to lead themselves.

• Booker is mayor of Newark, N.J. As told to Devin Leonard

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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