Zelenskyy: Ukraine's Persuasive Communicator

Unlike average politicians around the globe, his messages are clear, his choice of words is simple, and his tones are relevant.

Zelenskyy: Ukraine's Persuasive Communicator
Photo by Yohan Marion on Unsplash

If there’s something we can learn from this burning world, Mr Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s persuasive communications in marching Ukrainians and the rest of the world to survive Russia’s invasions is one of them. I can’t help but applaud Mr Zelenskyy’s success in constantly showing empathetic communication in his speech or interviews. 

Unlike average politicians around the globe, his messages are clear, his choice of words is simple, and his tones are relevant. Even Mr Vladimir Putin hated it when his Chief Spy wasn’t clear in communicating his messages. Commentators call him “the Jewish Winston Churchill” for his clear, concise, and clear communications amidst crisis. Mr Zelenskyy’s persuasive communications have ignited Ukrainians’ courage and beyond to survive the wartime after time.

Mr Zelenskyy’s been live from the streets of Ukraine, on TV interviews, social media, been literally everywhere during the crisis, and kept addressing strong messages to various audiences with the right tone despite the daily horror. For their own sake, businesses or brands may take away from Mr Zelenskyy’s persuasive communications: how to know your audience, be strategic in your messages, and be memorable or remembered.

Be Consistent

To date, Mr Zelenskyy’s messages and focal points shared with Ukrainians and the world have been consistent. They are always been about:

  • provide Ukraine with more funds, military resources, and support
  • address the parliaments and strategic events around the world
  • push for more sanctions against the Russian Federation and war crimes trials

It’s important to reiterate your main messages in different forms and shapes for different occasions and audiences. To customize your main messages solid and consistent even though the shapes have been changed or adjusted takes great creativity and intelligence. This brings me to the next point.

Know Your Audience

Mr Zelenskyy pays serious attention to his audience on every speech occasion. He knows the world is watching. It’s Mr Zelenskyy’s consumer-mindedness at its finest. He’s been addressing the Jews at the Knesset, “I am now addressing all the Jews of the world. Don’t you see what is happening? That is why it is very important that millions of Jews around the world not remain silent right now. Nazism is born in silence. So shout about killings of civilians. Shout about the murders of Ukrainians,” he said.

He’s been addressing musicians at Grammys. He said, “fill the silence with your music. Fill it out today to tell our story. Tell the truth about the war on your social networks, on TV, and support us in any way you can, but not be silent. And then peace will come to all our cities.” 

To level with the systemic Russian propaganda, he addressed the UN Security Council, the US Congress, the European Parliament, the UK House of Commons, the Japanese parliament, the German Bundestag, the Finnish parliament, the Australian parliament, the Canadian parliament, Qatar’s Doha forum, and even to the Russian people - all with tailored messages to his audiences.

Some of his speeches have deeply touched many people, even interpreters fought their tears. His messages were so relevant, that they moved people’s emotions in different countries with different languages. 

Emotion is a universal language.

Be Bold

To be remembered, to be less boring or the same as others, you need to be bold. That way, you’ll grab people’s attention. Mr Zelenskyy has been direct and fearless in conveying his messages through bold phrases, such as:

  • “The fight is here. I need ammunition, not a ride.”
  • "If we win, and I'm sure we'll win, this will be a victory for the whole democratic world.”
  • "We’re defending Ukraine alone.”
  • "I want every mother of every Russian soldier to see the bodies of the dead people in Bucha, Irpin, and Hostomel."
  • “There will definitely be a new sanctions package against Russia, but I’m sure it’s not enough. We need more conclusions.

Be Personal

Stop trying to look or sound smart. Instead, always work on being humane in your communications collaterals both internally and externally. Mr Zelenskyy delivers short sentences. No jargon. Simple language. He’s being personal, telling anecdotes as there are no strict rules limiting his way of telling stories, being direct, and honest to those esteemed MPs and celebrities.

That makes his communications feel so close to home and empathetic. He reminds those people that war, death, and torture can happen to anyone in this world. He shows no matter what your social status is, we’re just human after all. Thus, people listen to it. Communicate like an average Joe and Jane.

Be Charming

Have a great sense of humour. That’s a charm. Mr Zelenskyy doesn’t lose his subliminal comedic gestures. For example, when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked, “How are you?” 

“You know how I’m doing,” Mr Zelenskyy replied while shaking hands with the UK PM on the street of Kyiv. In the middle of a crisis you need to keep sane, and humour helps.

 

Coda

Nobody says Mr Zelenskyy is perfect. In his early years as a President, there were a lot of allegations and distrust against him, his political promises, and political communications. He wasn’t great in peaceful times. But, the war was his turning point. He became the guy who 73.19% of Ukrainians voted for as their President in 2019. Some people even say he’s not the President anymore, but he’s the leader of the nation.

It’s indisputable that he’s been inspiring regular citizens to even go to war and nurture the belief of Ukrainian as the bravest nation in the world among them and beyond. The most extreme situation can bring out the best in a person. Mr Zelenskyy has shown us how persuasive communications influence people, mobilize masses, and moves feelings.

To influence, mobilize people, and touch their feelings that lead to buying or using their products or services, isn’t that what most businesses or brands want? 

Whatever the result of the war might be, Mr Zelenskyy will always be remembered as the captain who didn’t leave his ship, the leader of a nation who sparked his people’s spirit, and the former comedian-turned President with his charm.