"Your number one task as a speaker is to transfer into your listeners’ minds an extraordinary gift—a strange and beautiful object that we call an idea."|
Chris Anderson, Journalist
Political leaders don’t just make laws and create policies. They also must be able to communicate effectively, solve problems, adapt to change, and use technology thoughtfully. Many of the skills that were necessary for political leaders in the past will continue to be important in the future. Let’s take a moment to look at some of the skills we’ve covered and how they’ll continue to be relevant to politics.
In this challenge, you’ve read about how technology has changed politics. From radio addresses to Twitter feeds, technology has in some ways forged a closer connection between politicians and voters. However, it has also perhaps made politics more shallow—in a 24-hour news cycle, detailed speeches or policy proposals are often reduced to quick soundbites. Also, the public now expects politicians to use social media and respond quickly to the constant stream of news events. Leaders in the future might take a cue from the past—just as Harry Truman carefully used his technology skill to send a message about his ability to connect with everyday people, tomorrow’s leaders will likely be thoughtful and strategic as they choose how to use ever-changing technology to spread their message.
Creating and delivering a message is an essential part of being a politician. Politicians need to use their communication skill to sway their audience to support their ideas or their candidacy. Each new communication technology that becomes part of the political conversation has the power to dramatically change that conversation.
Today’s political climate is one of constant change. Politicians must respond to a flood of national and international events in a way that makes an impression on a wide range of constituents. As the pace of politics continues to quicken with the increased global use of social media, politicians will need an agile mindset to succeed.
In a way, the world of politics is all about problem solving . Political leaders must use critical thinking to assess large amounts of information and then decide how best to solve problems that face their individual constituents, their community, or the country as a whole. As more and more information becomes available in our data-driven society, politicians must become more adept at deciding what kind of information to use and how to use it.
Of course, this week’s lessons about skills are incredibly relevant for us in the workplace. Media is becoming integrated into more and more day-to-day jobs. The internet provides a constantly expanding pool of information and resources for learning and solving problems. We also have tools to email, message, and hold virtual meetings with colleagues and customers around the country and the world. In the workplace today, there is a large technology and communication toolkit that can be matched to a range of problems that need solutions. To take advantage of this wide range of tools, we have to stay focused on using it intentionally: selecting the right tool for the job and crafting our message to meet our audience and purpose.
Source: Strategic Education, Inc. 2020. Learn from the Past, Prepare for the Future.