Chris Ullman on the Incredible Impact of Using Plain Language - Chief Influencer - Episode # 022

Chief Influencer

Oct 25 2023 • 47 mins

Chris Ullman is the Founder and President of Ullman Communications, LLC. Chris is also the author of two books, Find Your Whistle and his newest publication, Four Billionaires and a Parking Attendant. Chris joins guest Host, Robert Krueger, the Executive Director of The Communications Board, to discuss the importance of humanizing communication, understanding different perspectives, and finding inspiration in your personal and professional life.


  • Whether you’re working in public office or private equity, you need to know your audience and what matters to them. That way, you can simplify messages down to what they must know. That is a sign of effective communication.
  • Humanizing communication involves considering the audience receiving the message so they can understand it. A great example comes from the SEC initiative to make complex mutual fund documents easier to understand for everyday people.
  • Speaking in plain English is a crucial way for leaders to provide clarity of thought and language to their audience. Using plain English reduces the chance of a message being miscommunicated or misinterpreted.
  • For leaders trying to build influence and gain advocates within an organization, empathy and understanding different audiences are imperative. Whether working in the public and private sectors, you need to build bridges with stakeholders with different opinions or interests. Empathy allows for effective communication and collaboration with diverse groups.
  • Find sources of inspiration that uplift and push you to be your best self. For example, the incredible composer Beethoven is a great source of inspiration because he overcame personal challenges and created powerful music.

Quote of the Show:

  • “Humanizing my communications has been such an important theme in the work I've done.” - Chris Ullman


Shout Outs:

  • Chuck Schumer - Current U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader
  • John Kasich - Former Governor of Ohio
  • Ted Leonsis - Owner of the Washington Capitals and the Washington Wizards
  • Lou Gerstner - Former CEO of IBM
  • Glenn Youngkin - Current Governor of Virginia
  • Mitch Daniels - Former Governor of Indiana
  • Adena Friedman - President of Nasdaq, Inc.
  • David Rubenstein - Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of The Carlyle Group
  • Bill Conway - Philanthropist