How to woo an audience like Rahm Emanuel

Witty, insightful, and a font of colorful imagery, Chicago’s mayor sure can charm a room. Wanna learn how?

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Say what you will about Chicago’s newest mayor, but the man knows how to waltz on stage and charm a crowd.

Chicago Ideas Week hosted an event with three city mayors: Kasim Reed of Atlanta, Michael Bloomberg of New York, and Rahm Emanuel of Chicago. Thomas Friedman of The New York Times moderated the panel.

The conversation focused on problems that cities face, as well as on national politics, but throughout the event you couldn’t help but notice how calm and comfortable Emanuel was on stage. Maybe it’s just because he’s a practiced politician—and sure, he’s done events like this before—but if you’re a corporate communicator who wants to do things The Chicago Way, here are a few things you can learn from him:

Acknowledge the moderator. Simple as this gesture sounds, Emanuel referenced a few of Friedman’s articles. Not only did this solidify the bond between the two men, but it made it feel like they were having an actual conversation—instead of just following the traditional “question/answer” formula. Emanuel listened thoughtfully to Friedman’s queries and didn’t interrupt him mid-question, nor act dismissive toward anything that was asked.

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