Francis Collins, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways.

I’d like to take a moment to pay homage to an expert communicator whose clear explanation and skilled delivery makes my heart skip a beat every time I see him interviewed. I am talking about Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health.  Take note – if you do half as well as Dr. Collins on staying on message, you’ll likely nail your interview.

Dr. Collins has been making the rounds recently talking about NIH’s Brain Map Initiative.  First there was the PBS NewsHour interview (my old stomping grounds – I was a producer there for nearly 14 years). “If only all scientists were that good!” my former boss said in response to my email commenting on the high caliber of the interview. Even when PBS’s Ray Suarez pressed him on the steep price tag for the brain map, Collins circled right back to his message. But the crème de la crème is Dr. Collins on The Colbert Report where he deftly stayed on track despite Colbert’s best efforts to throw him off. He even pulled out props – his iPhone and a cool brainwave monitoring hat. He has messages. He sticks to them.  He is conversational not academic.  His enthusiasm is infectious.

Take a look at the master!

During another interview with Dr. Collins, Colbert teasingly notes “You want to make science sexy again.” Well, it’s enough to make producers and communications professionals from coast to coast swoon.