Sunday, May 21, 2017

Handling Trump’s Communications Style

The world needs help communicating with President Donald Trump. His speaking style has been described as “discursive.” In layman’s terms that’s “rambling,” but I prefer the synonym “circumlocutory” because it conjures up images of him wandering a room while he’s speaking. His listening style is harder to explain.

Trump is generally assumed to have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), with the attention span of a young child. News of Trump’s trip to the Middle East prompted tips being publicized on how speakers can maximize chances of having him listen to what’s being said. For example: Keep your message short. Very short. Use Trump’s name in every paragraph; Trump loves to hear his name mentioned. (I’ve used Trump five times in this paragraph, assuring it will get read.)

I have another suggestion for how to handle Trump’s communications style. It’s taken straight from the news, including an article in the May 22 Time magazine. In a word: fidgets. Or as Time calls them, fidget spinners. SNL even did a skit on them.

Yes, fidgets. Those inexpensive thing-a-ma-jigs that kids are… well, fidgeting with in school these days. Psychologists claim that the device can help children with ADHD pay attention better in class. The idea is that kids don’t have to look at them to work them, but the constant… well, fidgeting (again) with the contraption helps dispel excess energy, allowing better focus.

Many teachers disagree, but the jury is still out on this trend. Besides, what does it matter? If there were real science behind these gadgets, Trump wouldn’t believe it. When the President is involved, there’s no downside to relying on fake science. Plus, fidgets don’t require a lot of physical activity. That should be a big selling point with him.

Dear Lord, what a simple-minded solution we have available! Here’s some advice for Reince Preibus. Get Trump a passel of fidgets. Make sure there are plenty of them wherever he’s likely to wander during the day. Don’t get the plastic ones; they’re too noisy. Get ones with metal ball bearings. Or better yet, the ceramic ones. I hear they’re the best for spinning. They're faster and quieter and they last longer. But make sure you don’t get ones that are too big. Keep in mind how small Trump’s hands are.

Picture it: Trump with a pile of fidgets. Then if the media described Sean Spicer’s press briefings as spin zones, no one would be able to call them fake news.

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