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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

What does it take to be a successful communicator?

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

woman standing at a microphone giving a presentation

Successful nutrition communicators possess more than the required knowledge and skills. Successful communicators demonstrate specific characteristics that transform their work from merely adequate to outstanding.

A lack of one or more of these characteristics can spell the difference between mediocrity and excellence.

The characteristics selected have been grouped into three broad areas – ones that build credibility, ones that help a communicator be compelling, and ones that demonstrate a communicator’s willingness to continuously improve.

Successful nutrition communicators are credible A communicator must be perceived as credible before an audience will pay attention, listen, and trust the message. Credibility is built on more than academic degrees. Three characteristics that build credibility are professionalism, integrity, and work ethic. Communicators who are strong in all three areas will be highly respected and will have greater influence and impact.

Successful nutrition communicators are compelling

Credibility is critical for success, but alone it is not enough. In order for communicators to be highly successful, they must be compelling. Compelling communicators are able to capture an audience’s attention amidst competing messages. Compelling communicators are more than interesting; they are captivating, inspiring, downright irresistible. To be compelling does not require a show business persona or salesy techniques. To be truly compelling is genuine and authentic. Several characteristics that help a communicator to be compelling are perspective and empathy, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude.

Successful nutrition communicators are continuously improving Successful nutrition communicators refuse to remain stagnant. They challenge themselves to continuously get better at what they do. The three characteristics that propel continuous improvement are curiosity, creativity, and being a team player.

Successful communicators are curious. They are continually seeking to learn and trying out fresh, new approaches. They are teachable and willing to learn from mistakes and take advice from others. Successful communicators are creative. They deliver messages with imagination. They are willing to stretch themselves rather than settle for doing things the same old way. Successful communicators are team players who work well with others, accepting new perspectives.

“Success – the real success – does not depend upon the position you hold, but upon how you carry yourself in that position.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

This blog is an excerpt from the first draft of Chapter 2 of Communicating Nutrition: The Authoritative Guide.

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