Lessons for all public leaders: The new public arena demands a personal and theatrical style. A conversation about Trump, the new Medialandscape, the Battle for the Eyeballs and Lecturing. [Read more below. Also available as video.]
The new digital direct media channel
We are going to talk about Trump and his leadership and strategies in the new public arena. How is it possible that this person who is legally challenged now in Washington DC is still so popular amongst the citizens of the USA? In the analysis of Dr. de Waal this is because he personally and intensely uses the new digital direct media channel, which is from, by and for the citizens themselves, like internet, social media, Whatsapp etc. This third channel, as it was analyzed in the book of Dr. de Waal, Trump uses to directly communicate with his voters. That is the reason he is now often called ‘Twitter-in chief”.
He is a disruptor of democracy: coming from outside politics and then immediately winning elections because he better knows how to use the new technological platforms and new media channel than his competitors. He further shows that now as president. He still uses his own voice and messages on Twitter directly without the normal mediating role of spokesmen or information officers. Every day he keeps interested people informed of his whereabouts. He talks personally and directly to them. He even uses this personal connection with them as an argument in his decisions, like in his conflict about the Mexican wall: that ‘he promised it to his voters in his campaign’. Which politician anywhere in the world uses that argument after he is appointed as president or minister? And most importantly: he speaks their language, so they understand each other. It’s what Dr. de Waal called the behaviour and attitude of ‘one-of-us’ – citizens that is now necessary on these new media channels and increasingly in the public debate in general. That is also the consequence of this new public arena: public personality and style of and (the feeling of) personal connections with politicans are now more important than their messages, policies, plans or even their misdemeanours from the past!
Why politicians can learn from Trump’s strategy
In this interview we talk about Trump because he shows in his political style (these observations to let us learn strategically from Trump are certainly not meant as any support for his often very right-wing policies and decisions or his divisive style!) many of the conclusions in the book of Dr. de Waal:
- Any person aspiring to become public leader, should use actively and personally this third digital mediachannel of, by and from citizens themselves
- As a public leader you should have an attitude of ‘one-of-us’-citizens
- You should directly relate to ‘your’ voters, they now want to be informed and related to on the spot, immediately and personally as it happens, and not in the long run or only around elections
- The new public arena asks for a permanent campaigning, almost every day or minute.
These are all reasons why politicians around the world can learn from Trump. Old characteristics of ‘good’ leadership are no longer an argument in this new public arena. He already showed that he is not a good executive in the White House. He certainly is not a connecting or empathetic or protecting leader. So he is all kinds of things not, but he shows how modern politics will and must deal the coming years with this new media landscape and the permanent public grandstand it creates, as Dr. de Waal analyzed in his book.
We are also going to talk about Steven de Waal’s talks in America and Finland. He is giving information and his analysis to the audience, but what does he get back in return from these lectures?