Preparation – 2017

I’ve posted observations from Stuart Stevens, a GOP consultant and writer not affiliated with any presidential candidate this year.

Here’s another, after last night’s debate:

Preparation is hard, and much harder and longer than mere presentation. Consider an extemporaneous speaker: anyone who speaks well and at length without notes only does so based on considerable, prior reading, listening, and rumination. A person may require many, many hours of reading (that’s an understatement) before even a minute of speaking competently on a subject.

Sometimes one will hear that talented people don’t need this kind of preparation. On the contrary, it’s talented people who know its importance and perhaps profit most from it.

Almost all of that earlier reading, listening, and rumination will occur in private settings, far removed from a public forum.

It’s not glamorous work, but it is (or should be) enjoyable, enriching, and perhaps even practically rewarding.

Nationally and locally, there are a large number of policy presentations that reveal only a weak grasp of the underlying issues, and an obvious lack of thorough preparation. (I think PowerPoint often allows weak presenters to hide behind a few, ill-considered bullet points.)

These presentations aren’t flimsy because their presenters aren’t smart (most people in a community are very sharp); these presentations are flimsy because their presenters are misdirected in their focus or lazy in their work.

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