7 things to know about how new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella communicates in public

Satya Nadella is the new CEO Microsoft. No doubt we’ll be hearing more from him over the years. But how does he fare as a smart and engaging communicator? Here are seven points to consider:

1. He’s a subject matter expert. When you listen to his interviews and keynote talks, you’ll be left in no doubt that Satya is a tech guy. He’s knows his stuff. You’ll hear him talking a lot about the cloud.

2. He looks the part. Satya is very well dressed and exudes the look of a business leader without looking too slick. He has presence.

3. Good energy. While not at the over-the-top energy levels of former-CEO Steve Ballmer, Nadella certainly brings good energy to his public talks. He has a clear voice, a good physical presence and cuts a dynamic figure. He brings good energy to the room.

4. During keynotes, he tends to speak a little on the fast side. Added to his high energy style this can become a little overwhelming after a while. His delivery can seem a little one tracked and one paced at times. A few pauses to break up ideas would help the audience digest his ideas. A shifting between energy states to create difference responses from the audience would improve his delivery.

5. He falls into the trap of a technical professional. He leads with content and forgets to have a message. If you stopped his keynote speech after five minutes and said, “Okay, so what was that about?”. You’d struggle to easily pick out a message or takeaway idea without retelling his ideas. Without a headline message, all the data points, process and buzzing ideas will be quickly forgotten.  As he becomes the figurehead of Microsoft, this will likely change. Why? See the next point.

6. I love the fact that he describes himself as a learner.  Satya defines his motivations as “Family, curiosity and a hunger for knowledge. “  This desire will make him a quick study and I’d expect we’ll see a very different public persona from Satya – especially to general and non-technical audiences – over the next 12 months.

7. He loves cricket. And if he can explain cricket to people who didn’t grow up with it – then there’s nothing he can’t explain!

To learn more about Satya Nadella, visit my Scoop page with articles from multiple sources. Click here.
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