Snyder High School, located amidst the mean streets of 1960s Jersey City, New Jersey, had a debating team. That was, of course, before gentrification.
Those who were going to be first-generation-college, like myself, were encouraged to join that debating team. We were expected to work hard. And we did.
Sure enough, learning the art of arguing my point in a civil manner prepared me for doing papers at the college where I was awarded a full-tuition ride. From there I was awarded another free full-tuition + living stipend ride in a doctoral program.
That was then.
As I progressed in my career, I paid for public speaking programs and even joined the low-cost Toastmasters to improve my ability to present a point of view versus those of my opponents and competitors. Instead, essentially I became better at the monologue. And, like the Beatles' Father McKenzie, I came to deliver sermons no one would hear.
What used to be trained in traditional debating organizations now is mostly only available in high-priced one-on-one media coaching. That's what new executives have to take. They will have to position and package their point of view in ways which are more persuasive than what journalists, competitors, lawyers, regulatory agencies, and enemies contend. You bet,it's a dog fight of concepts and words.
In an era of extreme diversity of points of view, it's almost a survival strategy to bring back opportunities for Everyman and Everywoman to get down cold the fundamentals of civil social discourse. Obviously, on Monday night, Donald Trump lacked that skill. Instead he took on the role of a Shakespearean clown mouthing hard-edged witticisms.