Rahm Emanuel is not known to be a softie. Quite the contrary, he’s known to be a hard charging bully at times.Today, he stepped down from this position as Barack Obama’s White House Chief of Staff to run for mayor for the city of Chicago. I watched President Obama heap praise on his long-time friend and then Emanuel took the platform. Of course, he thanked the president for the opportunities and he praised Obama’s leadership. However, what got to me was when he began speaking about his family, starting with his parents. The usual, tough-as-nails veneer quickly faded and his inner feelings emerged, surprisingly openly. He choked up and even started to cry.
I’m a political junkie; I breathe the stuff. I’ve followed him since he worked with Bill Clinton and I’ve never been a big fan of Mr. Emanuel. He and I would probably not get along too well. However, in those few moments, I found myself feeling surprisingly close to this man. I even teared up somewhat myself (of course, my wife would say I do that anyway).
It was amazing to me that the decade of mistrust and animosity I have felt towards this man could fade in an instant.
It’s NOT about the words
There’s an important reminder here. If you want to connect with people, if you need support, if you’d like to get more done; be real. Let the emotions out. People don’t relate to our words, they connect with our feelings. Yet, too often, we’re embarrassed or ashamed about how we feel.
I’m a speaker. I believe in the power of words; but the true power of communication comes from the emotions that reside underneath them.