Political Animals: What Every Entrepreneur Can Learn from Presidential Debates

And after watching President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney face off in their second, nationally televised presidential debate, I realized entrepreneurs can learn a lot from their performance.

Do you watch presidential debates?

If not, you could miss out on fervent discussions that hope to address the most controversial issues facing our nation and the world. Some might even argue, that if you’re not of the ‘politico’ set, then you’ll likely (at best) find humor and comic relief in watching two opposing candidates “stride on stage and pretend, for a few moments, to not be sickened by one another’s presence.”

Whether you consider yourself a “political animal” — someone deeply interested in political issues — or in contrast, not at all interested in any type of political affiliation, the truth remains: political debates dominate our nation’s political culture and if you listen closely there are lessons to be learned.

After watching President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney face off in their second nationally televised 2012 presidential debate I realized that entrepreneurs can learn something from both candidates.

Here are three lessons every entrepreneur can learn from watching presidential debates.

1. Make up your mind and develop stronger decision-making skills.

“Debate is about decision-making. Our lives are filled with decisions to make. Some are simple and relatively unimportant ones, like what to have for dinner, or what to wear. Other decisions are more complex and with a lot at stake, like what car to buy, where to go to college, … or whom to marry. In all of these cases our lives, communities etc. are improved by better decision-making,” according to National Association For Urban Debate Leagues.

The same could be said of business. Decision-making is at the core of every entrepreneurs daily life. Some decisions have long-term implications while others must be confronted head on to preclude short-term disasters. I’ve learned that when it comes to business, the worst decision is ‘indecision’ — not making any movement or progress at all.

Leadership requires tough calls and resolute decisions. While your decisions may not poll with popular opinion, it’s important to gather information then evaluate, determine and act on your decisions.

2. Prepare your messages and stay on topic.

A debate is merely a constructed argument. And one of the first things you’ll notice about a strong debater is their ability to deliver their message seamlessly and stay on topic.


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