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A.W.E. Inspiring Communication: Interview with Steve Herz

By Arel Moodie

Communication. We do it every day, from taking business presentations to talking lattes at your local coffee shop. I sat down with Steve Herz of IfManagement to talk about the key aspects of communication. Coming from someone who works regularly with T.V. broadcasters and has appeared on CNN, CNBC, and Court TV. What is it that Steve does to practice strong communication? It can be summed up in 3 letters: A.W.E.

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How do I become a great communicator?

Whether communicating with an audience or a loved one, Steve points out that great communicators demonstrate at least two out of three qualities, summed up with the three letters A.W.E.

"A.W.E is Authority, Warmth, and Energy." -Steve Herz

Let's delve into each of these qualities so we can get on the path towards becoming great communicators! Read on below; we provided examples from speeches and interviews to bring our discussion to real life:


If anyone demonstrated the apex of authority, it would have to be Ronald Reagan during his speech to Mikhail Gorbachev. Watch below to hear the authority in Reagan's speech:

How does one project authority? It can come in body language and vocal tonality.

If your body languages indicates no confidence, or arms folded off with a closed posture, your audience may perceive you as closed off to them.

When you open up your body, standing with feet towards your audience and unfolded arms, you may feel more vulnerable. Ironically, this vulnerability will allow you to project confidence, openness, and receptiveness. We'll get back to vulnerability later-that helps too.

In regards to vocal tonality, people generally do not perceive high-pitched and nasal voices as authoritative. How would you react to Minnie Mouse making a demand of you?

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How to improve the tone of your voice to sound less like Minnie Mouse? While we all cannot become baritones, it's possible to develop a more resonant voice, or to improve your breathing. Voice coaches don't just exist for singers and musicians.

A quick note on vulnerability: Vulnerability can actually help you in regards to authority! It is when you have experienced/are experiencing failure that you are able to open up and speak candidly about your thoughts on it.

Look at Donald Trump as a communicator (not as a politician) in an interview with Barbara Walters, where he is asked what happens if were to lose the Republican nomination, in stark contrast to his more confident moments. Listen to the drop in his voice as he answers:


How can you show warmth as a communicator? Steve asserts that a great communicator who uses warmth will make people feel as if he is open to them.

How do you show warmth? Get connected, and show that you're open for connection. Connect with a smile. Maintain eye contact so you can establish a level of connection there.   

Steve is a big fan of the hug:

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If your audience is down for a hug, this can be a very powerful move. Along with the connection you make over conversation, over smiling, and over eye contact, the hug allows you to make a physical connection.

Steve says that the picture of warmth would be television personality Al Roker. Look at his beaming smile and even his "smiling eyes" below:

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That looks like someone who's open to communicating and to connecting with an audience!


Steve tells us that energy is the ability to impart your emotional commitment in your message to your audience. Let's break that down.

Steve cites Barack Obama's successful presidential campaign in 2008, where he was able to sweep the country with energy. Pay attention to Obama as a communicator rather than a politician, and see how he makes energy work for him.

Emotional Commitment is powerful.​ If you can't believe in and trust in your message, do you think your audience will? Commit emotionally in your message.

Learn​ to match your energy with that your audience. Whether in a one-on-one scenario or working with a large audience, take the time to read the engagement of your audience. Maybe you're emotionally committed to your message, but make sure your audience is also engaged too! Otherwise you will come off as overpowering.

Steve shared with us a few tips on how to work with audience engagement. Silence can be golden in order to allow your listener(s) a chance to add their own thoughts.

If you want to get connected with Steve in order to evaluate how well you communicate, you can find him on Twitter @StevenHerz or email him at [email protected]

Remember: I promise you this episode will be entirely useless to you-IF you don't apply what we've discussed. Stay tuned, and stay awesome!