Friday, 2 September 2016

The Politics of Introversion

Politicians. We love them and we hate them, don't we? There are some good ones. There are some bad ones. There are some dodgy ones. There is Winston Peters. The New Zealand political scene would be a lot poorer off if there was no Winston Peters. He brings some colour to it I think. Love him or hate him he does a great job.

One of the more well known speeches in the New Zealand Parliament in the last few years was by Maurice Williamson. He is a MP for the centre right ruling National Party, so basically a MP from a conservative party. He became famous for a speech he made in support of the Gay Marriage Bill in 2013. Here is his speech. It is very entertaining and I think he hits the nail on the head by asking the question how can two people who are the same gender and who love each other who want to get married affect our lives? I agree with him, it doesn't affect our lives one iota. Have a look at the speech and look and listen to how he delivers it.

My question today is, could an introvert deliver this speech? Do you have to be some kind of extrovert to be an affective politician in 2016?

My answer to the first question is a loud and proud YES! My answer to the second question is an emphatic NO.

I believe myself to be an introvert however I'm also, I believe, an OK public speaker. I'm not scared to get up in front of people and talk. Some people, extroverts included are very scared of it. I've heard that people would rather die than talk in public.

Of course in some aspects of politics being an extrovert would be an advantage. By that I mean when you are socialising, schmoozing, that kind of thing, the extrovert would have an advantage. We are also naturally attracted to the more outgoing person so an extroverted person would be better.

I wonder around the world if the MPs are the extroverts and the advisers around them are the introverts. I'm sure that there is a little bit of that but apparently Barrack Obama is an introvert and he only has a small group of advisers because that is how he likes it. If he did have hundreds of advisers it would go against his personality and he would feel very uncomfortable about it.

Some people say that introverts are not as dominant and they would struggle as a politician. Quite frankly, I can't see how being an introvert or an extrovert has anything to do with being dominant. As I have said ad nauseam introverts recharge by being by themselves it doesn't mean they can't function in a big room full of people it just means they would run out of gas quicker than an extroverted person. I'm sure Barrack Obama dominates the room wherever he goes and not just because he is the President of the United States of America.

Introverts can become great politicians. They are just not going to be in your face and climbing up the walls and having parties every night of the week. They will do their job well and do it as effectively as any extrovert out there.

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