It terrifies me that my first book will be VERY relevant during tonight’s Presidential debate.
It’s been almost fifteen years since I wrote, “ALL Business is Show Business,” and I’m honored that it still has some traction today. But, it will have significance tonight in a manner that I never anticipated and do not desire.
The “ALL Biz is Show Biz” philosophy is based upon a basic principle that applies more today than when I wrote the book:
We are so inundated by entertainment from birth onward, we enter the marketplace expecting an experience where we buy and where we work.
The more compelling the experience, the more engaged we become.
Many misunderstood the premise because they only related “show business” — or the entertainment industry — to song, dance, and comedy. They overlooked that the goal of work from “Shindler’s List” to “The Fault in Our Stars” was not mirth or merriment.
The key to success is show business is creating emotional engagement with the audience.
Sometimes, the desired connection is through fun and frivolity. Many other times, however, the goal is to make the audience think and feel.
- So…what is the “experience that you expect” as you prepare to watch tonight’s debate?
In a perfect world, we would be watching the debate tonight in an attempt to ascertain which candidate will create the necessary emotional connection as a leader that will inspire the change we desire in our nation and in the world. We would be using the opportunity to observe Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump, standing side-by-side, and imagine which one of the two would best work with other leaders around the globe to resolve problems.
- We would likely suspend our judgement on which candidate should win until the debate is over — just as we usually do not want the ending of a movie or TV series “spoiled” for us, so we can see it for ourselves.
What troubles me is that many of us are going to be watching the debate from the perspective of a satire — rather than the drama it truly is.
- We’re watching it as if it were reality television instead of a documentary. It’s almost as if it were more “Veep” than “The West Wing.” That’s tragic.
Or, we are preparing to have our current beliefs and bias confirmed — regardless of the candidate of your choice — rather than with the spirit that we will “go with the flow,” and see where the program takes us.
It’s not just the general audience I’m talking about. I promise that many network commentators are hoping more for dramatic argument than insightful discussion. They’re praying for a gaffe — “You’re no John Kennedy” — instead of desiring to see an exhibition of leadership.
There’s a critical problem here. It is the one way that the business of politics (or YOUR business) is NOT like show business.
- When the movie has ended, you get up and leave the theatre behind. When the television show is over, you change the channel or turn your TV off.
- When this debate (and the ones that follow) is concluded and voting is completed, we will have to live with the outcome — and the impact of the decisions that the winner will make — for years to come.
Which may make tonight’s debate the most important program of our lifetime.
- How will YOU be watching?