It’s difficult to pinpoint just one incredible trait of Oprah Winfrey’s. She is inspiring, giving, compassionate, determined, an icon of business savvy… but, when we look back to her beginnings in the public spotlight, and where she has taken herself, there is one trait that truly stands out: communication.
Virtually everything Oprah has built, every positive impact she has had, was made possible by her uncanny ability to communicate across divides, guiding people to a better understanding of each other and themselves, and leading us all towards stronger connections. Not only does she communicate in inspiring ways, she also has a natural ability to help others communicate their own experiences. She gives voice to those who are too often unheard. She unearths the struggles that need to come forward to be eased through compassion, support and a sense of community. She uncovers truths that others shy away from, but that lead to greater understanding, acceptance and love.
It is that power to build, create and guide connections between people and communities that makes the strong communicators of our world so impactful.
Often hailed as the “Queen of Media”, Oprah began her professional career at age 19 as the youngest person, and first African American to ever anchor Nashville’s WTVF-TV. A few short years later, in 1976, she was already hosting her own talk show, People Are Talking, in Baltimore. Her unique hosting style and ability to connect with both guests and the audience landed her another hosting role in Chicago, which would lead to the 1986 launch of The Oprah Winfrey Show, skyrocketing her to fame and opening the world up to the power of Oprah’s incredible communication. That show would continue its groundbreaking run until 2011, bringing forward stories and subjects that had so often been hidden in shame, doing so with deep compassion and changing the entire conversation, empowering people to own their stories with strength and support.
All the while, Oprah stuck to her values, refusing to resort to the tabloid tactics that became popular with other daytime talk shows, proving to the world that media with integrity is not only possible, but can be hugely successful.
In 1996, Oprah launched the Oprah’s Book Club through her show, which is often credited with getting people reading again (or discovering a love of reading for the first time) and bringing up and coming authors and unheard voices into the spotlight. Today, her book club is still going strong through her book club newsletter, bringing more stories and experiences forward into the world.
In 2011, when Oprah decided to end her long-running talk show, she launched her own network, aptly named OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), through which she continues to spotlight incredible stories and experiences, connecting people through television, magazines, podcasts and more.
As a master communicator, Oprah Winfrey has made a significant and hugely positive impact on the world, and is continuing to do so every single day. We believe she is responsible for many advances in peaceful communication in communities and families the world over, and that she will continue to impact the world in the years to come.
Do you know of a woman with great communication skills? Why not challenge her to bring the best of that trait forward?