What Does it Mean to be “Presidential”?

At least a dozen Republican presidential hopefuls and several Democrats have jumped into the 2016 Presidential race. manager prsentiert gute neuigkeitenThe election is many months away so candidates have a long time to prove that they’re Presidential material, and avoid damaging public gaffes.

But what does it actually mean to be Presidential?

That Elusive “Presence”

To this point, a number of candidates have already flubbed the Presidential test, which involves communicating a consistent message, having a gracious demeanor, and not flip-flopping on the issues. Politicians who bend whichever way the wind blows are not Presidential.

To be perceived as Presidential, it’s essential to exude “presence,” that indefinable inborn trait of leaders. You know someone has presence when they walk in and immediately command the room.

John F. Kennedy had presence and charisma as does the actor Hugh Jackman. Jackman has that unmistakable star quality that captures people’s imagination and inspires loyalty and devotion.

But all the presence and charisma in the world won’t matter if you flub a response to a reporter’s question or waffle on an issue. Jeb Bush attracted the wrong kind of attention when he changed his position on whether the U.S. should have engaged in the Iraq war.

The former Florida governor was in a tough spot because he didn’t want to appear as if he was criticizing his brother, President George W. Bush. But he knew he would get the question about the Iraq war during his campaign for the Republican nomination. Why wasn’t he prepared?

He changed his position several times over the course of one week, as shown below.

Nowhere to Hide

Presidential candidates have nowhere to hide. They need to remember that if they don’t want to read about it, they should not say it. These days nothing is sacrosanct.

It’s no different than if you’re president or a top executive of a company. You’re on the public stage. You’ve got to act and look presidential. Back in the day of John F. Kennedy, the media was respectful of a President’s personal life. That’s no longer the case.

The mike is always on. Are people seeing the real you or the manufactured candidate?

Charisma Concept. Keys with Golden Keyring on Black Wooden Table. Closeup View, Selective Focus, 3D Render. Toned Image.

Your message should be consistent throughout all media. Having a social media strategy is essential because everything you say and do will go viral instantly. You need an instant response team.

It’s not likely that a candidate today will get a $400 haircut, as former candidate John Edwards did several years ago. The social media networks would be on fire with the story.

The public wants their candidates to look and act Presidential. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie spent $82,594 on food and drink at NFL football games over two seasons.

The Governor has a weight problem and it didn’t enhance his image to spend that kind of money on food, alcohol and desserts. It was insensitive to the average fan, who, more than likely can only afford one $6 hot dog and a small $5 soda.

Are You Presidential?

If you’re the leader of your company, division, or department do you inspire the confidence of your staff? Do reporters know they’ll get a straight answer from you when you’re involved in a crisis?

The CEO who waffles about what happened to cause a disaster for his company loses all credibility.

You can’t duck a question. Once you’ve established a point of view and message, stick to it. Reporters may try to paraphrase your response to get you to make a statement that will become a juicy quote. But don’t fall into that trap.

Company presidents can learn a lot by observing Presidential candidates on the stump, currying favor with voters. Mainly they will learn what not to do, like waffling on their points of view on the “wedge” issues like crime, immigration, and national security.

To be Presidential is to know what you stand for and stand for what you believe in. That’s the candidate voters want. That’s the leader who will motivate and inspire the people in their organization.

1 comment to What Does it Mean to be “Presidential”?

  • Steven Spenser

    Answer: In a presidential race, acting exactly the opposite of how Donald Trump does.

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