Monday, April 21, 2008


The Pope's visit to the US is now the stuff of commentators who are asking why he came. It is interesting that advance publicity about the man has changed. Suddenly he is kind and compassionate. It is unlikely he was much different before. People don't change behavior so quickly, especially in their 80s. But, that doesn't appear to be the main reason for the Pope's six days in America. There was a deeper element of communications involved -- the need for people to see leaders face to face in their own space.

Yes, Roman Catholics could go to Italy to see the Pope in one of his weekly audiences, but there is something special about the Pope coming to see them. This is true of all leaders. The CEO walking the floor of the office and popping in on managers has greater meaning than people being summoned to the CEO's suite. The message is clear, "I am here to talk and listen to you." All the modern media at our disposal do not change the need for personal appearance. Face-to-face communication always has been and will remain the most important means of persuasion. It is easier to forget that now, but we shouldn't.


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