Here’s a fact: 9 out of 10 dyslexics have poor spelling, punctuation and grammar, but many are amazing communicators.
From Pulitzer-prize winning journalists to respected CNN news anchors, high-profile Bishops to gifted space communicators, dyslexics use their curiosity and passion to explore the world, understand complex situations or facts and explain them to others in a way that’s simple and easy to understand.
So why do dyslexics make such good communicators?
Here are 5 reasons:
1. Dyslexics make sense of the bigger picture.
The dyslexic brain is wired differently, so we are able to connect stories and see patterns in narratives where others may not. This makes us adept at understanding big ideas or evolving situations and explaining them to others.
Many of us become skilled journalists and TV presenters, helping our audience to make sense of world events and situations which are constantly changing. CNN news anchors, Robyn Curnow and Anderson Cooper are both Made By Dyslexia.
Robyn Curnow, says:
“Generally, TV news is an amazing place to trust your dyslexic instincts. You have to look at the big picture, identify the story, tell the story and create a narrative that’s simplified, so that an audience can understand the main issues.”
Like 4 out of 5 people, Robyn Curnow attributes her success to her dyslexic strengths. She says:
“To write for television news is like a dyslexic dream… the sentences are simple, you’re writing to pictures and you need to take away all the useless information. It has to be the real essence of the story.”
Her ability to quickly summarise a situation, or assess the facts and present an angle, comes as a result of her dyslexic communication skills.
Watch her explain why her greatest weakness is also her greatest strength in this interview with Made By Dyslexia:
Thinking about his role as a story teller, CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper, says:
“A lot of compelling stories in the world aren’t being told, and the fact that people don’t know about them compounds the suffering.”
2. Dyslexics are great at simplifying
Dyslexic minds are great at stripping away unnecessary detail to create clear, compelling messages. This means they excel in careers where explaining, educating or influencing are key, like: teaching, marketing, journalism, campaigning or PR.
Roland Rudd, Founder and Chairman of PR firm, Finsbury explains:
“Being dyslexic enables you to simplify things very quickly. It enabled me to see the big picture and I could make decisions more creatively and effectively as a result.”
Other dyslexic minds, like space scientist and communicator, Maggie Aderin-Pocock, use their dyslexic communication skills to simplify concepts that are ‘out of this world’ and go on to engage new audiences and inspire a generation.
“As a scientist, I have found that I am able to take complex ideas and simplify them, story tell and bring science ideas to life in my own unique way, this has been a huge advantage.” Maggie Aderin-Pocock, space scientist and communicator
Watch Maggie’s inspiring Made By Dyslexia interview here.
3. Dyslexics have high levels of empathy
It isn’t just our knack of making complex ideas clearer that makes us strong communicators. We’re also able to use our high levels of empathy and emotional intelligence to create messages that are compelling too.
Gareth Cook, a journalist who is Made By Dyslexia and writes for the New York Times Magazine and The Boston Globe, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for “explaining, with clarity and humanity, the complex scientific and ethical dimensions of stem-cell research.”
Dyslexics have a greater ability to sense, understand and respond to how others feel. This allows for a more authentic connection with people and can result in a deeper understanding of their stories and a greater skill in telling them. It’s all part of our ‘Connecting’ skills.
The Right Reverend Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, recognises the strengths her dyslexia brings:
“I love listening and solving problems. I also have a high level of emotional intelligence. I will respond differently to situations than other people.”
You can hear her talk about the blessings her dyslexia brings here:
Empathy and emotional intelligence featured highly in Bishop Sarah’s previous life, too. Before her ordination, she was the UK’s Chief Nursing Officer. With these enhanced emotional strengths, it’s no surprise that many dyslexics are drawn to careers like nursing, caring, social work and becoming champions of the socially disadvantaged. In fact, Dame Martina Milburn, Group Chief Executive of the Prince’s Trust and Chair of the Social Mobility Commission, is also Made By Dyslexia.
4. Dyslexics are passionate and curious
What really makes dyslexics amazing communicators is our passion and curiosity. We love learning new things. And the energy and passion we use to do it inspires others.
Jamie Oliver’s infectious energy, and skill in communicating, has made even the most complex recipes simple and easy for most of us to have a go at in our own kitchens. In this way, he’s able to pass on his passion and curiosity to millions of us around the world.
5. Dyslexics engage hearts and minds
The combination of being able to make sense of the bigger picture, simplify complex ideas, use our emotional intelligence and inspire people with our passion and curiosity means we are great at engaging hearts and minds. We know how to entertain, inspire, motivate and influence people.
Dav Pilkey, the creator of Captain Underpants, says his dyslexia and other learning abilities:
“helped me to write stories that were not boring. It helped me to choose my words very, very carefully.”
His words (and pictures) have helped millions of children (dyslexic or not) love reading.
Our purpose as storytellers
At Made By Dyslexia, we want everyone to understand the true value of dyslexia. So we use our dyslexic strengths to create powerful and clear messages that drive change. We are determined storytellers and single-minded communicators, here to help the world to see the bigger picture of dyslexic strengths. You can watch my TED Talk here about the Creative Brilliance of Dyslexia.
And read more about how we are communicating the Value of Dyslexia in the workplace through our ground-breaking reports produced with EY.
Our message couldn’t be simpler: the world needs dyslexic thinking now. And we’re making it our mission to empower dyslexic thinking in the future by training every teacher by 2025 to spot, support and empower every dyslexic child.
If your dyslexic strength is communicating, tell us how it’s helped shape your life in the comments below.
And as always, like and share our messages so we can spread the message as far and wide as possible.
Thank you so much!