[VIEWPOINT]Roh’s speaking style needs work

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[VIEWPOINT]Roh’s speaking style needs work

The president’s remarks once again have caused controversy. It’s surprising that he sees the opposition to moving the capital as a non-confidence or deposition movement against him. It is also surprising that he should make such a leap in logic, and it is lamentable that he should create an unnecessary disturbance.
Wasn’t it just a little while ago that there was talk of having a vote of confidence over the illegal presidential campaign funds? The war of attrition is worrisome.
There could be many reasons to oppose the transfer of the administrative capital. Of course, there could be also many reasons for approving the move. Therefore, it isn’t logical to say that those opposing the transfer are conducting a campaign to remove the president.
From the beginning, the proposal to move the capital was not made because of the president, was it? Is the approval of the capital move a sign of support for the president and the opposition to it an effort to remove the president? Making unnecessary remarks on an acutely polarized issue is just adding fuel to the fire. The president has turned an issue that should be handled as a policy matter into a political one.
The president’s words carry a different weight from those of ordinary people, so his remarks should follow a communication strategy that takes into account all the circumstances. Because his words are taken seriously by people, their effects and repercussions should be considered.
This is why the late President Ronald Reagan adhered to a communication style based on a thorough strategy to the point that he was called “the great communicator.” He devised a thorough plan that mapped out each line of his speech, where he should be serious and where he should make a joke. Not an irresponsible word could be uttered. Of course, behind former President Reagan was an excellent staff that plotted out his communication strategy.
Aside from political assessment and his communication style, President Roh is not a “great communicator” but a “risky communicator” because his penchant for speaking freely incurs a great social cost.
Remarks such as “I cannot do my job as a president” became reality as a declaration of a vote of confidence. His promise to retire from politics if his camp’s illegal campaign funds exceeded a tenth of those of the Grand National Party epitomized his lack of constraint when it comes to his speech.
Is saying “I quit” in every crisis the way to get out of a messy situation? This is too extreme a form of communication.
When it comes to President Roh’s communication style, he engages in a “private discourse” when he should engage in “public discourse.” Once, when he was delivering a message to the people, he talked about his nephew’s employment and marriage for an unnecessarily long time.
His “democratic fighter” style, which appealed to people when he was a popular lawmaker in a public hearing or when he was a presidential candidate, does not seem suitable for a president. He should develop a communication style that befits the presidency.
Speaking whatever is on his mind does not necessarily constitute good communication for a leader. There are many cases where the verbal text is delicately disharmonious with the situational context.
I am nervous whenever the president holds a press conference or appears in a debate or makes a statement to the people. I am afraid of what unreserved remarks he will make.
It is pitiable to see the president entangled in useless controversies because he said what he shouldn’t instead of saying what he should.
Do you want to communicate with the public? It is necessary to know how to communicate with each other. When we do not know how to communicate well or do not want to know how to communicate, it becomes harder to do so.
If the president wants to connect with the public, he should have a more polished communication style, one that’s more suited to his position.
There should be no more cause for fuss and controversy over remarks that should not have been made. The president’s message, which 70 percent of the public thinks inappropriate, is risky.

* The writer is a professor of journalism and communications at Sookmyung Women’s University.


by Kang Mee-eun
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