Billy Graham died recently at the age of 99. It doesn’t matter where you stand on his religious values. What matters is that he was a great communicator, and he was someone we could all learn from.

Here are my key takeaways from the life of the one of the greatest communicators of all time:

1. He had a clear message. Graham repeated the same message over and over again.

2. He created a tribe of raving fans. He connected his message with audiences around the world and bound them together in their faith in Christ and eternal life.

3. He understood that no matter how large his audience, he had to make an emotional connection with each member of his audience. He moved huge audiences, one person at a time.

4. He leveraged technology. First he used television, then satellite technology to connect with audiences worldwide, and then the internet. I have always been an advocate of using whatever new technology is available to connect with targeted audiences.


5. He knew himself. Graham was charismatic, and he used his personality and clear messaging to connect with presidents and paupers. He came across authentically.

6. He gave people hope for the future. Great leaders are able to make people feel hopeful.

7. He connected with influencers: presidents, broadcasters, and world leaders all connected with his message.

8. Billy Graham was a brand in and of himself; he may not have called it personal branding, but he knew how to create a strong personal brand.

I admire Billy Graham for his ability to know himself, define his messages, leverage technology and give so many people hope for the future. May he rest in peace.

Nancy Marshall is founder and CEO of Marshall Communications, a public relations firm based in Augusta.

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