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6 Communication Lessons for Leaders from Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton

Corporate Grooming & Etiquette 3rd November 2016 Mitali Bose

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The final segment of the presidential debate in the US showed that the political differences between Trump and Clinton have now taken a personal turn. Both the candidates were trained by world’s top political debate coaches, but it seemed that they have developed a genuine dislike for each other which reflected in their body language. However, under the theatrics and all the drams there were some obvious communication lessons for leaders.

While you may think what happened on the set may not be of importance to you, but think again. Both candidates expressed much of what was going on in their mind through verbal and non-verbal gestures. It revealed to the world hooked to their TV sets what they’re made up of.

Do not interrupt at any cost

When others talk and you don’t agree with them, it is only natural to feel distressed and interrupt them to make your point heard? But doing so is unfair to the one who’s speaking. Keep in mind that you should speak when you’re spoken to or asked a question. If you want to speak your mind, ask for a moment. Clear evidence of how Trump began losing his cool when he kept interrupting Clinton, which made him look foolish and a worthy recipient of an eyebrow raise.

Related: How to work with Colleagues with Conflicting Opinions

Do not act like a predator

You’re not in a jungle waiting for a kill or are you? Stay away from being seduced by the thought of looking predatory because you like to believe that’s how you win. Instead, try and establish your authority with substantive arguments without getting too close for comfort unlike Trump who always inched closer to tower over Hillary in an almost predatory fashion. Hillary, on the other hand, stood her ground and wasn’t intimidated by Trump’s efforts.

Related: Ways to Deal with a Jealous Colleague

Do not let your face giveaway

If your face gives away and your eyes get moist at the hint of someone remarking on your inability, then you bet you’ve got to get thick-skinned and more crocodile-like. Rain bullets or arrows, don’t furrow your brows or squint or cry or look too smug no matter how agitated you are from within. Wear your ‘game face’ like Hillary did and enjoy the competition. What’s the fun when there’s no competition and no mettle to prove, right?

Related: People Skills Every Professional Must Possess

Do not get personal

Your office is not the Big Boss house where you think you can say personal things about others and still get away. Whether you like it or not, retribution comes every weekend in the form of Salman Khan. Trump too thought he could get away on national television for dragging Bill Clinton’s name and calling Hillary a “nasty woman”. It only made his argument sound shallow and him even shallower. Talk to the point without slinging mud and making personal attacks. Let all of that stay out of the board room.

Related: 5 Ways to Resolve Co-worker Conflicts

Do not point fingers

Trump did that effortlessly, in turn revealing his state of extreme anger and anguish. If you’re doing it too then you definitely will come across as someone with anger issues. You’re clearly condescending in nature and probably even vindictive. Would you like someone doing the same thing to you? No, isn’t it? Then why do it in the first case. Be nice and focus on the point of discussion and keep your hands and fingers in check.

Related: 5 Professional Ethics To Follow At Workplace

Talk like the way you’re expected to

Clinton and Trump are contending for a seat of power and so expected to sound presidential than two adolescents bringing each other down. After all whether elected or not, they still are public figures and given a huge platform, they should have seized the opportunity. Trump, however, sounded brash and rude and got those eye balls rolling with the kind of remarks he made. For instance, when Trump was asked about the US’s standing with countries that are its allies, his response was rather inappropriate considering the political standing of US as a superpower. He responded with ‘those who pay US’. What can we or the rest of the world say about such an irresponsible remark?

Having highlighted communication lessons for leaders through public debate . Keep an eye. Exercise control and restraint. Grownups are expected to. You can apply these logic in personal life too and see the difference.

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