The 2008 Democratic and Republican conventions have renewed the debate about the need for better speaking skills. Listening to the recaps, reading the news articles, and having to suffer through partisan talking heads, the core of the issue shines through…does speaking well matter to leadership?

Being a committed Toastmaster, I would say yes. Also, being in corporate America, I would say that speaking well does matter. That isn’t to say that all leaders need to be in Toastmasters, but they at least need to be able to clearly communicate ideas and not just spout off the talking points of the day, rehash the quarterly financial statement, or yell because something has gone wrong. Those things do not a good leader make.

Not to take sides in a partisan battle, but I think that Barack Obama has the edge in speaking. I enjoy the fact that people talk about the power of his oratory. His speeches remind me of politics of the past where people knew what you stood for from your speaking. I also think that no matter who wins, it will leave a lasting impact on the modern political landscape that speaking and speaking well is important.

So no matter what side you take in this election. Think for a moment while watching the candidates in action and ask yourself, does speaking well matter in leadership?

I think you will find that it does.