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Best Public Speakers: Studying Mark Clouse's Leadership Communication

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

We included Mark Clouse on our “Best Public Speakers” list because of his relatability while serving as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Campbell Soup Company. It is no small feat to appear so approachable while running a publicly traded, S & P 500, global food and beverage company that's over 150 years old.

by Stephanie Bickel

We reviewed Mark's interview with IRI Growth Insights’ C-Suite Conversations where they feature industry leaders who share their boots-on-the-ground experiences and best practices to ensure the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) retail industry thrives.

Here are Clouse’s leadership communication takeaways:

  1. Thinking a smile: even as Clouse discusses hard times or dry data, he appears pleasant, interested, and polite. He seems glad to be there; his face is relaxed, his mouth suggests a smile, and his eyes connect with the camera and, therefore, us.

  2. Pitch range and resonance: Clouse possesses a beautifully resonant bass-baritone voice, but he explores his full range of pitches making his sentences interesting and engaging. Don’t be afraid of your upper register, gentlemen!

  3. Plain language: while not afraid of popular business buzz words, Clouse utilizes everyday vocabulary and simple phrasing. He is easy to understand and follow.

  4. Empathy/emotional intelligence: Clouse uses feelings words, humbly admits he does not have all the answers, acknowledges the real trials of his employees during the pandemic, and shows compassion for everyone.

Here are ways Clouse could improve his leadership communication:

  1. Fillers: Clouse has many “um’ an “uh” filler words; removing these would increase his impact. Pausing would also give him the time to gather and structure his thoughts.

  2. Structure: Clouse would benefit from a top-down messaging approach: a clear thesis statement followed by his supporting arguments.

  3. Weakening language: Clouse’s crutch phrase is “ya know” which he uses as an alternative for “um”. When he uses “kinda”, it makes his statements seem less sure and more vague. The overuse of “really” does the opposite of its intended use, thereby, decreasing impact rather than increasing it.


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