Yesterday Donald Trump demonstrated unequivocally the impact the spoken word can have not only on a country but the entire world.
The announcement that Donald Trump was to become the 45th President of the United States of America to hold the most powerful leadership position in the world was not only a historic one in world politics but a momentous and very sad one in the world of public speaking.
As a presentation and public speaking skills coach I have been following the American Presidential Election Campaign very closely and have written a few articles about Donald Trump’s oratory skills.
In an article entitled 8 Presentation Tips for Donald Trump I wrote: ‘I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a sales pitch where the pitcher calls the president ‘incompetent’, the competition ‘stupid’ and then insults his business partners.’
In a previous blog headed What Kind of Public Speaker is Donald Trump; Presidential, Pompous or Pernicious? I wrote: ‘Are the words which leave Donald Trump’s mouth each time he speaks those of a future President, or are they little more than the mindless expression of ego?’
In the very first article I wrote about him called Donald Trump Presenting the Facts, the Future and Fear I said: ‘If a ‘being’ from another planet had landed in Cleveland at the RNC last Thursday and sat through 75 minutes of Donald Trump’s address I believe he would have leapt straight back into his space craft after recovering from his paralysis by fear.’
History has demonstrated time and time again that the spoken word elicits a far greater effect than the written as we saw yesterday.
How is it humanly possible that nearly 60 million people can vote for someone to lead them who said?
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists… And some, I assume, are good people.”
“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her… wherever.”
“If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”
“I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
“Ariana Huffington is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision.”
“Our weak President, that kisses everybody’s ass, is in more wars than I have ever seen. Now he’s in Libya, he’s in Afghanistan, he’s in Iraq. Nobody respects us.”
“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
Why it is momentous and sad?
As a father I have spent many years working very hard and mindfully to teach my son to treat fellow human beings with respect, love, understanding, patience and even a little humility. I know I’m not alone as there are billions of parents all over the world raising their children in the knowledge and belief that there is already too much selfishness and greed in the world.
Ignorance, bullying, racism and intolerance are massive global issues and at time where these are epidemic in society and so many are fighting so hard against them along comes a man who says they are all acceptable.
A man who says it’s acceptable to say what you think regardless of whether it upsets or offends anyone.
A man who says it’s acceptable to promote divisiveness, fear and separation.
A man who says it’s acceptable to brand a nation as rapists.
A man who says it’s acceptable to be offensive to women.
A man who says it’s acceptable to ban an entire religion from entering a country.
A man who says it’s acceptable to mock someone with a disability.
It’s sad because despite their frustrations, discontent and personal despair tens of millions of people have said it’s not only acceptable for Donald Trump to speak publicly in this way they have just given children all over the world permission to do the same.
We live in a world of complex and continuing change where despite so many wonderful advances we have become more separate and parochial than ever before.
At a time when we need each other more than ever before, when the world is crying out for understanding, empathy, tolerance and unity millions of people have just given the next generation a license to put themselves first an disregard others.
“Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.” Gautama Buddha
Personally I’ve never been a huge fan of politicians largely because of my belief that far too many lack, transparency and the ability to speak in a way that connect with the average person.
Donald Trump has demonstrated that he is different; he speaks his mind, he says what many are thinking and says it in a way that everyone understands.
For a politician that is of course hugely refreshing for those he is looking to lead however honesty and transparency is not enough.
There has to be another way.
Attack on a train
I was travelling home on a crowded rush hour train earlier this week when I suddenly heard a man launch into a rather aggressive verbal attack on a young girl. The girl was listening to some music on her phone through headphones were the sounds was clearly still far too audible for her attacker. He leaned right over to her and shouted ‘Don’t you have a volume control on that bloody thing’. The girl naturally alarmed by his attack responded asking him to calm down. He took offence to the suggestion that he wasn’t calm and became even more aggressive telling her how selfish she was and that he was only saying what everyone else in the carriage was thinking.
At this point the rest of the carriage decided that the man was right and joined in the verbal assault on this young girl.
Was her music too loud?
Did the man have the right to ask her to turn the volume down?
I don’t see why not
Did he need to be so aggressive?
Could he have achieved his goal without him and the rest of the carriage attacking her?
For some readers that may appear a ridiculous example when comparing it to a new world leader trying to change a country but for me the principle is the same.
Is it possible to address such major political issues as immigration, crime, unemployment, trade and health care in a country with far greater emotional intelligence, respect and empathy?
You’d like to think so wouldn’t you but tens of millions of people in America this week decided enough was enough and they need someone like Donald Trump to be like the man on the train and tell the country to ‘turn its music down’.
Millions of American’s have just sent a very loud and clear message to young people all over the world, and I mean really young people.
I happen to know quite a few primary school teachers who interestingly but also sadly have had very young children comment on the result, here are two quotes I heard from them yesterday:
“A boy in Year 3 said he was upset today because he can’t go to America because he is a Muslim!”
Boy in my class: Mrs X did you see Trump won?
Me: yes I did
Boy: but why, he is a terrible leader
In the summer I wrote an article asking the question “Does the next President of the United States have to be an inspirational speaker?”
I should have asked the question ‘Does the next American President of the United States have to be someone who can bring a nation together rather than divide them?’.
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