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Mis-Communicator of the Week: Gordon Brown

1st November 2017


Gordon Brown - remember him - has a book out next week. Its his memoirs where, like all former prime ministers when they write their own history, he will attempt to right some wrongs. 

In some of the advance passages released to publicise Brown’s book he has evaluated how he communicated with the electorate and come to some conclusions. The fact that he has evaluated his performance is good. The fact that he has done so over eight years since leaving office is bad. His conclusions are even worse. 

I advise clients to constantly evaluate their own performance. Whether on a panel discussion, a ‘fire side chat’ at a conference, a presentation, or a major speech, evaluating how you have done and why immediately after the event is a great thing to do. Then, a few days later, do the same again with a clear head before moving forward with ideas on how to improve next time.  

Gordon Brown is undoubtedly a talented, clever man who was in politics to make people’s lives better. But he has a flaw in his character that is more apparent than ever by his analysis as to why the British people kicked him out of 10 Downing Street. Brown believes that he was “not an ideal fit” for today’s “touchy-feely” politics and the pubic displays of emotion he says are required. 

If we wind our way back to 2010 the reason why Brown lost the election was that his reputation built on being an “Iron Chancellor” and of eradicating boom and bust had been holed below the water line by the worst recession this country had faced since the Great Depression. He also had an unhealthy reputation for being obsessed with what people thought of him which runs contrary to his own evaluation. Remember his claim that the Artic Monkeys were his favourite band? 

Soon after Brown had left Downing Street I was invited by friends to visit Number 10. In the corner of the ground floor of the sprawling corridor of offices was a small wood panelled room where some of David Cameron’s communications team were based. I was told this was the room chosen by Brown to be his office when prime minister. Was it because it was a plain room befitting of a son of a Presbyterian minister? No, it was because it was next to the press office and Brown wanted to micro-manage his communications. 

Evaluating your performance is vital to being able to take positive steps to becoming the best you possibly can be. But you must be honest with yourself when doing so. Unlike Gordon Brown which is why he is my Mis-Communicator of the Week.   

Mis-Communicator of the Week is written by Edward Staite.



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