I apologize.

March 1, 2016

I was watching some of the political coverage of campaign speeches this past weekend and was astounded by what I saw and heard.  As someone who's in the field of public speaking, coaching people on how to do it effectively and having made my own fair share of speeches, I felt the need to apologize on their behalf.  This has nothing to do with their parties, their politics or their policies.  The approach of descending to juvenile ridicule for which we'd be admonishing our school-age children demeans the whole art of public speaking.

 

Those of us who use public speaking as a way to get people's attention on anything, whether it's an idea or a product, whether looking for a vote or a sale, serve people better when we lift up hopes and offer solutions.  This increasing tendency to go for the crass and cheap demeans not only the person saying it, but it also tears down the fabric of the groups listening to the message. 

 

We do better together when we have approaches that focus on issues and solutions. That's where I hope we can refocus our direction.  So what I propose for you is something I will continue to strive to do more and more -- when I have a chance to speak, whether to groups or even individual conversations, to bring positive words and thoughts to the discussion.  I am not talking about being pollyannish and pretending we all will agree, we all will get along or that there aren't some significant issues and differences.  But if we mean to solve them, the approach can't keep pulling us down into the morass of ill will.

 

I wanted to just offer this for your thought and would enjoy a conversation if you feel moved to share any feedback in the comments below.  Thanks.

 

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