Keynote Speaker Feature: Election Watch, Actions 1st … Words 2nd by Dr. Sheila Murray Bethel

Posted by Alexis Washington

Here we go into the fray of national, state and local elections!

How can you make wise decisions about the candidates? A revealing way is to ask these two critical questions:

Two critical questions:

1. When choosing a leader, what should I judge first, what they say or what they do?

2. What qualities should I look for in both their words and actions?

When candidates are in full campaign mode it is hard to get clear answers and a clear picture of where they want to take the city, state or nation.

If you are in a swing or battle ground state for the national elections, you are being bombarded with ads, literature and phone calls. Finding real answers to issues is not easy amidst all the campaigning. What to do, what to do?

Actions 1st

Talk is cheap … with the help of a good speech writer most candidates can sound smart and reasonable and convince you that they are concerned about your best interest.

To make good decisions for yourself and your children look behind the words. Here are some questions you can ask about any candidate for any office. They are designed to help you sift through all the rhetoric.

Leadership Questions

  • What has this person done to be called a leader?
  • What are their qualifications? Education, experience, community involvement?
  • Does this candidate talk in clichés and platitudes, rather than address concerns?
  • Do they openly and clearly explain their mission … their vision?
  • Who does this person associate with? Do you understand, approve of and believe in what their groups stand for?
  • What have they done to prove that they are open to all ideas and issues?
  • Do they have a record of team play and problem solving by cooperation?
  • Is this candidate able to clear away extraneous issues and get to core ideas?
  • Do you feel you are seeing and hearing “the real deal” or a campaign personality?


Words 2nd
Words can uplift or discourage, build or destroy, bring people together or drive them apart. Of course we all want some aspirational language. We are a nation built on hope, courage and inspiration. We want language to be a tie that binds us together in a common cause bigger than just ourselves.

We want leaders whose language is about connecting with others, building strong relationships and inclusive communities. As John Ralston Saul wrote in Reflection of a Siamese Twin,

“All the lessons of psychiatry, psychology, social work, indeed culture, have taught us over the last hundred years that it is the acceptance of differences, not the search for similarities which enables people to relate to each other …”

The Words You Hear and the Actions You See

When words and action match … you have a leader!

Former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca wrote: “In crisis, language rises to a level of importance not realized before. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It’s easy to sit there with your feet up and talk theories and strategies for success. But when the rubber hits the road as a leader you had better be able to communicate in a way that helps people understand their emotions and the power of what the crisis or emergency is.”

A trusted leader is one who is able to lead in good times and bad, in crises and normal times with a “mission” that is articulated by both what they say and what they do.

Eight Leadership Qualities That Matter Most

We need leaders who have ideas, concepts, attitudes and aptitudes that build community for people individually, locally, national and globally. Here are the 8 qualities, in question form, to help you make the best choice at the ballot box.

Does the candidate:

1. Have the competence to back up their fine words?
2. Foster trust with accountability?
3. Generate integrity with their openness?
4. Build bridges between people with their language?
5. Forge community with their values?
6. Establish balance with a well-adjusted perspective?
7. Master influence with the wise use of power?
8. Inspire authenticity through humility?

If you can glean some insight into the candidates with these questions you will be better prepared to make those wise decisions and move to the most important part of the elections this fall.

Before You Vote

Be as objective as you can, try to suspend your ideology and prejudices and look closely at the candidate. If you trust them, their past actions and current words then step up to the plate and exercise the most precious act in a democracy … cast your vote!

Go ahead … click the Eagle.


To check fees and availability on Dr. Sheila Murray Bethel call Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau at 1.800.345.5607.

Posted by Alexis Washington
Alexis Washington writes about expert keynote speakers and Motivational Speakers, as well as tips and tricks for corporate meeting planners. If you need a guest professional speaker or corporate entertainer for your next convention or conference, you can visit

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