Manuel Campo Vidal is a nationally famous and respected journalist, who studied Sociology and Engineering at university but is well known for his journalistic work. He was asked to inaugurate this course entitled “Communications in the classroom: learn to teach”, organised by the Campus do Mar with sponsorship from the University of Vigo Social Council wherein the objective (as stated by the course coordinator, Mrs. Inmaculada Anaya) is to “provide researchers and lecturers with the tools needed for good communications”. During their interventions on Tuesday and Wednesday Mr. Campo Vidal, Mr. Roberto García Carbonell, Mr. Pablo Castejón Ruiz, Mr. Álvaro Gómez, Mr. Fernando Ramos, Mrs. Begoña Jamardo and Mrs. Inmaculada Anaya will reveal the key concepts for improving communications between lecturers and students. This is “an essential feature” declared the Vice-chancellor of the University of Vigo, Mr. Salustiano Mato, during the opening ceremony, who also emphasized that “we need to open minds and stimulate emotions when transmitting knowledge”.
To cite an example, using Mrs. Inmaculada Anaya,’s words “rigor, empathy and humbleness”, Mr. Campo Vidal delved in-depth during his discourse on the keys for effective communication, stating that he understood communication as “a present that should be cared for and adequately presented”. Mr. Adolfo Suárez, Mr. Jordi Pujol and Mr. Felipe González were cited on several occasions by the journalist as examples of good communicators. Special mention was made of the investiture speech of Mr. Suárez, which was qualified as “impacting” for its content, simplicity, style and delivery since it meant a clear separation from the previous Franco regime.
The capital sins of a communicator
Communication is very relevant in today’s information society (the US politician Bill Clinton said that communication alone accounts for 50% of information while the rest makes up the remaining 50%). However, as against what happens in other countries, the Spanish educational system does not give any importance to public presentations or public speaking, denounced Mr. Campo Vidal. He said that the seven capital sins of communicators are: improvisation, not listening, lack of time control, arrogance, inability to start and finish interventions, non-verbal communications and lack of capacity to transmit emotions. These are the seven fatal mistakes that lead to failure of the communication process and hamper the prime aim of communication, namely; efficacy.
“Let’s listen to what others are saying and incorporate it into our speech” is what he recommends to lecturers and researchers who are participating in this course. He furthermore encouraged them to “try and spark their student’s emotions”. Therefore a good communicator is either born as such or learns to become one. Being gifted with an innate linguistic intelligence and listening to stories from family members throughout childhood are, according to Mr. Campo Vidal, two conditions that adorn people with communicative blessings. However, people who are not gifted can learn to become good communicators. He illustrated this through the example of Spain’s ex-president, Mr. José María Aznar, who apparently became good at it after several communication and English courses, which helped him to lecture at the University of Georgetown.
The par excellence moderator of debates between presidential candidates
Of the many facets that Mr. Manuel Campo Vidal has cultivated throughout his professional trajectory, it is his role as the moderator in debates of presidential candidates for which he is most well-known. When asked to opine on his preferred debating model amongst all models he has participated in, he undoubtedly replies “the Spanish model” which involves reply and retort between debaters as against the US or French models wherein politicians do not ask each other questions. “I believe that our format is the one that provides more flexibility but it is also more tiring for the debaters and the moderator”, explained Mr. Campo Vidal. He actually refrained from choosing any one favourite debate that he has moderated but mentioned the high personal tensions that existed between Mr. José María Aznar and Mr. Felipe González, as against the less aggressive debates between Mr. José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero and Mr. Mariano Rajoy, or between and Mr. Mariano Rajoy and Mr. Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba.