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GSBGEN 565: Political Communication: How Leaders Become Leaders

This year -- 2022 -- will be a fascinating backdrop for national as well as state and local politics. Implications of the recent pandemic, its dramatic economic impacts and an uneven but recovering economy, Inflation fears, a war in Ukraine, and looming off-year elections in the U.S. will continue to complicate the political landscape Politics, perhaps like no other arena, provides a rich and dramatic laboratory for studying the art and science of influential communication. Whether it is a local school bond election or a Congressional race, a Presidential debate or a State of the Union Address, the demanding communications of politics provide insights into our own strengths and gaps as a communicator and leader. Political campaigns, by their very nature, are highly visible, oriented toward very specific objectives, and increasingly leverage a variety of new media platforms. They are often emotionally charged, and rife with conflict and drama. The principles of political communications transcend politics, and are useful guides for leaders in business, the non-profit community, as well as government. How candidates, elected officials, and leaders in all kinds of organizations communicate vision, values, and experience, as well as how they perform in very fluid environments, not the least of which may be during a crisis, has a great deal to do with their career success. In its 14th year, this highly interactive course allows students to explore both theory and practice behind effective positioning and presentation. Students will analyze and evaluate both successful and unsuccessful communications strategies of political campaigns and candidates. I believe history is a great learning tool. As such students will explore historic examples of US Presidential debates, from Nixon/Kennedy to the present, as well other political events from the near and distant past. Popular culture, the effect of social media, disinformation will also be topics of discussion. Further students will experience political events as they happen -- with each class drawing lessons from political developments around the nation and the world. Students will also hone their own strategic communications skills in activities requiring both written and spoken communication. This is not a course in political science, American government, or in public speaking. However, the engaged student will gain insights into those areas as well.The course is taught by David Demarest, former Vice President of Public Affairs for Stanford University. Demarest has broad communications experience across the public and private sector in financial services, education, and government. After serving as Assistant U.S. Trade Representative, and Assistant Secretary of Labor in the Reagan Administration, in 1988 he served as Communications Director for Vice President George H. W. Bush's successful presidential campaign. He then became a member of the White House senior staff as White House Communications Director. After leaving government in 1993, he spent the next decade leading communications for two Fortune 50 companies, before coming to Stanford in 2005.
Terms: Aut, Win | Units: 2
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