If you’re anything like me, your inbox has been flooded with reflections on Tuesday’s election. Whether you are part of the approximately 50% of the country and saw your preferred presidential candidate re-elected or align with the 48% of the country that’s still a little ticked that their candidate did not achieve victory, I bet it’s hard not to reflect on what transpired this week and wonder what it means for you.
I can’t tell you what will happen next in the White House or with Congress.
But I can tell you, without stuttering, why the Democrats secured the White House and Senate.
According to CNN, just less than 20 percent of Americans believed that Governor Romney understood them. Would speak to their own interests. And while a fraction of the population (white, non Gen Y men) voted for him anyway, the rest of Americans didn’t. This is the most important takeaway not only for political pundits but also for anyone seeking to influence and lead.
Yes, overall women voted for candidates who vowed to uphold their right to be responsible for decisions about their bodies and defeated two senators who, sans some egregious comments about rape, would likely have been re-elected.
Yes, the LGBT community saw the election of the first openly gay senator, Tammy Baldwin, in Wisconsin and the legalization of same-sex marriage, for the first time ever, via ballot referendum in Maine and Maryland.
Yes, African Americans and Latinos voted in even greater numbers than they did in 2008. As we know, they typically voted blue.
And yes Gen Ys or Millennials, who will be the largest generation in the workplace by 2014 (while experiencing the highest levels of unemployment throughout the recession), laughed all the way to the voting booth at the speculation they lacked the enthusiasm they possessed in 2008.
But let’s be clear, if you want to influence, if you want to lead, you need moxie. And moxie is not simply the confidence and competence to open your mouth, take up space, and be heard. Moxie is also being able to meet people where they are with your communication, establish your credibility through genuine connection, and co-create and articulate a plan the integrates the voices of those who feel powerful with those who feel powerless.
Most of America – “the special interests” – voted for presidential and Congressional candidates who communicated they understood that they felt disconnected from their power – were sick and tired of being left out of our institutions, boardrooms, and the highest ranks of government and corporate leadership. They used their voice to vote for people who they believed would speak up and out for them. Their interests. Their values. Their vision for themselves and their America.
Whether you are in government, education, corporate America, small business…remember that the voices of the people who are positioned outside of the highest ranks matter. The more you allow yourself to listen to your employees, use your communication to understand where they are coming from and what they want, the more you build their trust, commitment, engagement, and loyalty. The more you listen to your customers and clients, their fears and their desires, the more successfully you can design and share your products and servies in a way that will connect and translate into conversions and business. And as a public speaker, the more you can communicate that you understand where your audience is coming from and adapt your delivery based on the nonverbal cues they send, the more you will educate, entertain, and incite action.
The political and business case for moxie has never been stronger.
As you think about the often forgotten part of moxie – the connecting to and empowering all voices piece – consider how you can dial-up your communication and public speaking. How can you talk less about you and more about the people you are speaking with? How can you demonstrate through every pore of your being that you want what’s best for them, that you are committed to learning about their struggles and their desires, and that you possess genuine solutions that honor their priorities.