Today is a holiday for those of us in the US – Labor Day. As a kid, I used to have mixed feelings about Labor Day: on one hand, the weekend itself was always one of the most enjoyable of the summer but it’s also the last one of the summer. Even as an adult, I still see it as the last day of vacation despite the fact that I’m excited about the fall season, which is becoming my favorite season (I love all the activities in the fall, the temperature and I’m excited about all the events I have planned).
Earlier today an official in Texas took offense to someone using the term “black hole” to describe something negative. Later on, this same official also took offense to the fact that that Angel Food Cake (which the term “angel” has a positive connation) is white and Devil’s Food Cake (“Devil” having a negative connotation) is brown. I’m pretty sure based on the context that the phrase “black hole” was used (he was describing a local government office as place where things go in and never come back out) that the speaker wasn’t making a racist remark. However, whether we like it or not, as speakers and communicators, we may from time to time say something that is perceived in a completely different light than what we intended.
Conservative icon and talk radio host Rush Limbaugh recently signed an eight year deal for $400 million. Who says you can’t make money speaking? Each day, an estimated 15 million people tune their radios to Rush’s syndicated talk show – talk about a large audience. Whether you love him or hate him, those of us aspiring to become great communicators can learn a lot from Rush Limbaugh (and other talk radio hosts). Here are four lessons that will help you regardless of your political leanings:
Lesson 1: People don’t have to agree with you to listen to you.
Since today is President’s Day, I figured it would be a good day to talk about leadership at the highest level. Whether you’re the President of the United States or the president of a company, being a successful executive requires some skills in addition to the ones necessary to excel at lower levels of management. Today we’ll look at the following three:
- Public Speaking and presentations.
- Managing egos.
Each US President from George Washington to George W. Bush had these skills before becoming President (some were better than others) so we’ll use some Presidential examples.
I was watching some of the Super Tuesday coverage on the Fox News Channel and caught an interview with Michael Reagan. Michael is the son of President Ronald Reagan (Reagan and first wife, Jane Wyman, adopted Michael) and he said “I’ve heard my father’s name mentioned so often during this race that I thought he was running!”
Ronald Reagan was an extremely popular President – he left office with the highest approval rating of any 20th Century President and won 49 states during his re-election bid in 1984. So it’s no surprise that republican candidates are all claiming to be “the next Reagan.” Even Barack Obama recently paid the Gipper some compliments, only to be distasteful attacked by the other democrats vying for their party’s nomination.
On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, the biggest news story of the year in the U.S. is about to hit full force. Will we have the first Mormon, Black, Italian or female President? Will John McCain or John Edwards fare better this time around? Will one of the lesser known candidates surprise the world tomorrow? No one can say for sure, but it’ll certainly be exciting to watch.
I came across an interesting link from WQAD that ranks all the candidates based on your stances on major issues. Simply answer the eleven questions and you’ll see your results (note: the system will also include candidates that are no longer running). You can visit it at http://www.wqad.com/Global/link.asp?L=259460.