How Not to Listen to the Presidential Debates

Have you listened to one or more of the current Presidential debates? Do you come away relatively empty in terms of any useful new information? Would you like something that can help you cut right through the “smoke” and get to the meaningful content? I will outline a few steps that will give you the maximum opportunity of extracting any useful information there might be in a Presidential debate. The wonderful thing is that you can use these same steps to get the maximum amount of useful information from any conversation, article, or any other source of communication.

How not to listen to the Presidential debates:

  • Listen emotionally
  • Listen based on a single issue or small set of issues
  • Just listen to anything that makes your favorite candidate sound good
  • Listen for the next headline
  • Only listen to the views of the top two candidates

How to listen to the Presidential debates:                                                                       

The key is to listen through the Purpose.  Here is a short process for doing that:

  1. First determine the purpose of the Presidential debate
  2. the purpose is to provide you with information so you can select and vote for the candidate that will do the best job as the President of the United States of America
  3. in essence the debates are part of a public job interview for the job of President of the United States
  4. Determine the purpose of the United States of America (the organization which the President will lead).This is key.
  5. Since the President is the leader of the United States, know and use the purpose of the United States as a filter that will help you sort out meaningful from useless or unimportant information. Keep this purpose uppermost in mind and filter everything you hear through it.
  6. Evaluate all the ideas that you hear during the debate and determine which candidate’s ideas would best fulfill and enhance the purpose of the United States
  7. Information that does not help you answer this question, should just be ignored.
  8. Relevance is judged against the purpose or mission of the United States in determining what information is meaningful and what information is not.

What is the purpose of the United States of America?  You would think this would be a hard question to answer. But a lot of people, including me, feel the most acceptable definition has been around since September 17, 1787.  It is the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution:

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

If we can accept this as the purpose of the United States, then here are some of the things you might be listening to during the “job interviews” which are the Presidential debates. Which candidate’s ideas, as a whole, will help us:Picture6

  1. Form a more perfect union?
  2. Best establish justice?
  3. Insure domestic tranquility?
  4. Provide for common defense
  5. Promote the general welfare
  6. Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity

You can use this same assessment against the purpose for any position papers, books, articles that the candidates have written that reflects the candidates’ current views.

The mission or purpose will not only help you ferret out any meaningful information in Presidential debates, it can be used for just about any conversation or article that you read.

Try this during the next presidential debate.  Let me know how this works for you by liking and commenting on this article.


Want to learn similar ideas that will help your business? Attend the State-Award winning McClaskey Excellence Institute’s “Achieving World-Class Results” class. One of the many topics you will learn is how to use your organization’s Mission statement to get everyone focused on what is most important to achieve that Mission.