Language · Leadership

How did leaders use language to unite their nations during COVID-19?

Great leadership communication can change hearts and minds. So how did leaders use language to unite their nations during COVID-19?

In virus-free New Zealand, PM Jacinda Ardern used lots more collective pronouns such as ‘we’ and ‘our’ when compared to the UK’s Boris Johnson. Johnson used the phrase ‘I want to’ four times more frequently than his New Zealand counterpart.

Ardern also balanced this empathetic approach with words like ‘hard’ and ‘strong’. Through choosing her words wisely, she created a sense of togetherness whilst positioning herself as an authority.

Thanks to the linguistics team at University of Sussex for this research. Some fantastic lessons in here: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/broadcast/read/52112#