You Are the Message - Roger Ailes, Jon Kraushar (1995)
If you’ve read this far, you know by now that one of the themes of this book is that we’re all human. We make mistakes. We’re vulnerable. We’re not perfect. The thing that interferes most with communications, at times, is our attempt to prove that we’re not vulnerable—to keep a stiff upper lip or to appear macho in the face of imagined attacks. Here’s a final lesson I learned from one of the greatest entertainers of all time—Judy Garland.
In her twilight days, Judy was so ill that she often couldn’t complete a show. Alcohol and pills had taken their toll. Her voice was almost gone and she had trouble controlling her vibrato. When I met her, I was so shaken by her voice in rehearsal and her appearance that I couldn’t understand why she had such a loyal following. But anyone who saw her in conceit understood her magic. The audience identified with her “humanness.” They identified with her frailties. They understood her vulnerability. When she sang at Carnegie Hall and tried to hit the high notes in “Over the Rainbow,” twenty-eight hundred people were praying for her to make it. She understood that.
If you can get the audience to pull for you, you’ll always win. After all, audiences are just like you. They’re human. They care. They’re sympathetic. They’re supportive. The audience wants you to succeed. Show them that you care about them.
Try your best, just as Judy did every time she went on stage. Draw strength from others. An awareness of your own vulnerability and the vulnerability of others will make you a better and more human communicator. And only a human communicator can become a master communicator.