Communication and Public Affairs

Alonso Lopez, founder of Reti España, a leading strategic communication company in Lobbying, Government Affairs and Media Relations, details the value boutique firms have to offer. Explains what Reti is for its clients. Also, he touches on the synergies between communication and public affairs. Finally, he announces the new collaboration between Proa Comunicación and Reti.

Video from Observatorio Proa Comunicación: Public Emergencies

Prevent, learn from others who have experienced the same issue, devise an action plan, coordinate how to send out your information, and evaluate what has been done. These are the key actions for good crisis management. This was derived from a lecture given by Yago de la Cierva, Director of Crisis Communicación at Proa Communiaction, after a presentation from Raimundo Herráiz, Director of the Madrid Emergency Coordination Center during the attack on 11M. This lecture took place at the Observatorio ‘Public Emergencies: lessons on prevention and planning for professionals and directors.’ The event was organized by Proa Comunicación with management collaboration from Club Excelencia on Friday November 8th in the Club Financiero Génova.

Acting to Combat Climate Change is More Cost-Effective Than Inaction

Boston Consulting Group’s new Center for Climate Action, in a recently published report determines that, in terms of climate change, the cost of inaction far outweighs the investment needed to combat it. Ignoring the problem comes at a very high price, estimated at a reduction in global GDP per capita of 30%, if not more, by 2100, far greater than the cost of tackling it, given the rapid technological advances in low-carbon technologies.

According to Boston Consulting Group’s recent publication Flipping The Script on Climate Action, the economic costs of climate change far outweigh the economic impact of a major investment in order to decarbonize the planet.

New advances and developments in low-carbon technologies have shown that reducing emissions has an increasingly positive economic impact. For many countries, this reduction in emissions translates into an increase in GDP. The report that captures these findings has been released by BCG’s new Climate Action Center (CCA), a specialized expert center, which aims to help businesses, governments and non-profit organizations lead the technological and economic transformation needed to address the growing threat of climate change.

“This is a global challenge for the coming decades, one of the most critical issues for many of our clients and a clear leadership imperative for BCG,” notes publication co-author Michel Frédeau, BCG Global Climate and Environment Leader and co-author of the publication. “The good news is that big emission reductions are not only possible, but they also make economic sense.”

A Basis for Economic Action

The publication analyses the dilemmas faced by different actors in tackling climate change. Existing research shows that uncontrolled warming will reduce global GDP by up to 30% by 2100, with significant additional risks given the far-reaching effects of global temperature increase and new evidence that continually points to more dramatic negative impacts than anticipated.

In direct comparison, these figures are far greater than the economic costs of taking action. According to the BCG report, most countries can already meet about 80% of the requirements of the Paris Agreement without resorting to immature or as yet undeveloped technologies. The relative economic impact of drastic reductions in CO2 emissions is therefore likely to be slightly negative or even positive for many countries (it will represent around +/- 1% of national GDP in 2050).

Based on this positive economic impact, the authors of the report urge governments, companies and investors to intensify their efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. In the absence of an international regulatory framework and a global price for emissions, governments should take unilateral action by adopting national CO2 pricing schemes, subsidies for green technologies, and existing sectoral regulatory models. For their part, companies must define their own roadmap towards total reduction of their emissions and accelerate initiatives that already have a positive or neutral economic impact, while developing new technologies that will play an increasingly important role in the coming decades. Those sectors with difficulties in reducing emissions must take action and partner with competitors, customers and suppliers in initiatives to share the risks of large investments in research and deployment of new technologies.

A Comprehensive Climate Campaign

Given the urgency of acting against climate change, BCG has integrated its intellectual capital, leadership in innovation, and experience in this area into a Center for Climate Action (CCA). The CCA will support the global drive for decarbonization and provide organizations with tools to achieve carbon dioxide emission reductions by focusing on three areas: business strategy, operations and stakeholder engagement. It will also work with governments, NGOs and social sector groups to define and implement strategies to reduce emissions.

As companies reorient their strategy to drive their own transformation to low-carbon operating models, CCA will work with them to assess trade and portfolio impacts in a variety of future climate scenarios. In terms of operations, the CCA will help companies identify and follow the most cost-effective path to emission reductions, both in their own operations and in their supply chains. The CCA will also collaborate with organisations in their efforts to engage with the climate change action agenda of their internal and external stakeholders.

“BCG’s Climate Action Centre has been created at a critical time, when both companies and governments need to accelerate progress to reduce carbon emissions,” says Patrick Herhold, Managing Director and Partner at BCG. “As detailed in our publication, a real boost is being generated from low-emission companies as they reinvent their business models and decarbonize their operations. The CCA will engage with business and government leaders and be a catalyst for climate impact.”

Access the study Flipping the Script on Climate Action

Authoritarian leaders, progressive leaders

Alexander the Great directly attacked the Persian warlord who fled in fright scattering his army. Hernán Cortés with only five cavalrymen charged Aztec Cihuacóatl, shot him down and his army was dispersed. Tito, the marshal, goes to another life and Yugoslavia split up; Saddam Hussein, eliminated, his people continue fighting among themselves. Franco died and we have become divided again, to this day. Dictatorship produces social fragmentation, because it does not count or it eliminates those who do not share its vision.

The authoritarian leader can unite, for a short moment, opposing forces present in any group, large or small; conflicting intentions, selfishness, forces of cohesion and fragmentation while he lives, then it returns to the previously broken society that was hidden the whole time.

Each brain is settled in its dogmatic fortress, with its beliefs and unshakable opinions, its difficulties to think differently. Therefore, in any group, family, or nation we find all that is human; a gathering of beings equal in emotional ambivalence, with automatic thoughts and actions without question, with love and hatred, with the need to ignore or attack what is different, denying the “sins” of their leaders. This is not going to change present-day democracies, which we left in the hands of characters or emerging movements responsible for the existence of the enemies to vote against it. Emotions are manipulated, people are driven to exploding, confronting and destroying each other. They make us mad, they make us regressive, they see us talking about politics with friends and relatives and they will show ruptures, aggression, discreditation. The need to live in politics based in disqualifications in the absence of programs and deep understanding of what the Nation needs, has permeated society.

The true leader almost predicts the future. They are an integrator, and need everyone. However, the ones we have are going to win elections, piss off and confront people.

There are tactics as old as humanity, to awaken messianic hopes, united by universal Christianity, for planetary revolution, or as a progressive project. Another tactic employed in Spain, every day, is to point out the enemy so that they feel that they are attacked or threatened and join in the discrediting scheme first and foremost until they can reach the annihilation of the “enemy”. Both tactics produce social depression, disenchantment and the people who identify with these issues. The majority of society become disillusioned and depressed.

Now we are “lucky” to have a progressive government. Those of us who are not will be confined by a cordon sanitaire.

The progressive, in declaring himself as such, during these times in Spain has a brutal emotional force, it is a moral accusation, a contempt for those of us who are not. It is used to create guilt, to exclude, it is the narcissus who believes himself to be superior, because of his class, his position, his status or because he is left-wing and progressive. Quite the opposite to the unifying movement that we need.

A good personality assessment is to understand the effect of your language, your expressions, your presence. If we feel, undoubtably, fear or that we are cornered, we are facing a psychopath or a pathological narcissus. In this case, the progressive government, formed by progressives with the claim that places them on the good side, clean, ideal, on the honest side of history, with social programs, with their corresponding obsequiousness, with a good cleaning of street names of those undesirables, they position themselves on the right side. All of this is part of progressivism – not progress. Make a story that confirms their moral superiority that are awarded in its entirety. In such a way that I and my fellow citizens remain on the side of those who need to mark ourselves, or something that differentiates us, since we are right-wing and other epithets less innocent. It is the usual perverse trick, the heretics, the infidels, who unleashed tremendous social forces or the class traitors who ended up on the sidelines.

It has been difficult to reach agreements because they hammer every day stirring up differences, and disqualifications, in the electoral processes, before and after. It lacks the superiority of a pathological narcissist who becomes morally superior.  We have a couple who love each other. But one of them is in love with the other partner’s money.

Elections as a Solution

Now there are more elections and then there will be others in which we are going to remember again that there are good and bad and to divide us, to confront us. Therefore, a disease is being treated with a botched job: elections. They spend their days dividing, disqualifying, ignoring, and sometimes on television inciting division. Their brain, like that of Don Quixote, does not care whether they are sheep or mills; their readings, their left-wing creed, need them to be saviors and giants. Quixote, in his omnipotence and in his literary intoxication, could not but invent enemies of his stature. He is the drug addict of many ideologies.

In this work of undermining to divide us, the electoral results that we have are inevitable. I would say that it is a perverse urge, a need like a heroic knight defending his ideals, without seeing the reality we need, only the one that comes out of his own ideology. We all know that they are in this playpen of people playing cards, while things happen that move us away from the tasks that lie ahead and slow down our development as a People. It is the result of this brain we have: a set of preserved primitive evolutionary experiments, of shoddy jobs, shortcuts and archaisms tending to elude complexity and move forward, we need strong lines, to define enemies, to remain seeing or feeling that we are in correct and other characteristics that I have described earlier. Christian Salmón: “A society driven by half-truths goes straight to the abyss.” There have been many in this electoral campaign, custom-made stories have been created. “Now Spain” for now with the independentistas.

The progressives of Nicaragua seized power and created a state of repression and violence by the government against the population. Another progressive in Colombia divided his country between good and bad. Ecuador has also exploded in the face of the progressive policies of leftist governments; Cuba, Venezuela, a model for some of our young progressives, who have contributed to bring “progress” to the nations mentioned.

José Antonio Rodríguez Piedrabuena 
Specialist in Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis

Communication for Fund Managers

The vigor of the asset management industry and the massive quantity of operators in the Spanish market reinforce the that the role of financial communication as a tool for positioning and support essential for this industry. Proa Comunicación offers an effective a specialized model of financial communication. We work to optimize our clients’ investment in us, differentiate their brand from competitors, and help drive their growth goals.

How to Create an Effective Cyber Security Plan

In order to have an effective cyber security plan, first, you need to know what assets must be protected, whether they are material or immaterial nature (buildings, computers, programs, data …). Once you know this, the possible vulnerabilities must be investigated to determine the risks and how prevent, avoid or eliminate them. Once this is determined, the plan is done.

In the first half of 2017, computer equipment around the world was affected by a harmful program called “WannaCry.” Once executed, it encoded data in such a way that prevented the normal function the programs. Users were forced to pay in bitcoin to some address on the dark web. After the payment was made, they received the key to decode the data and to be able to return to normal, if such a situation of abuse could be called that. When either private individuals or employees received an email simulating a well-known company and executed an attached program, they started the hacking process.

Why were both individuals and businesses affected? Because the path they followed the same simple and easy path of deception. Since in both cases they had received an email that simulated a company known in the market and clicked on an attachment, they started an unstoppable process. Could the previous situation have been avoided?

Intentional Collaboration?

Today we know that in the world there are many people dedicated to understanding the vulnerabilities of operating systems, whether for large corporations or for security services, and some even sponsored by countries. These people could facilitate this group, given their deep knowledge of theme, and allow them to perform intrusive cyber-attacks. But apart from this specialization, it is necessary to add the importance of the collaboration, intentional or not, of people who receive or use emails. Some additional questions arise, do all employees need access to the internet? Can everyone enter or remove data by clicking on an external hard drive (USB) or similar? What employees can have open communications? Which ones are restricted or no restricted at all? Are their passwords safe? If are responsible for our computers, do we apply the security policies that software manufacturers recommend? It has been found that although many companies are aware of the vulnerability, they do not apply the appropriate policies.

All this leads us to think about how much time and money should be devoted to cybersecurity and how strict company policies should be. Questions that everyone has to answer in one way or another. Finally, companies must prevent cybersecurity from being an activity that prevents the daily development of any business and convert it into an ally that allows working safely. Although certain processes and procedures must be followed, we must have an adequate communication policy.

Video Summary of Proa’s Observatorio with Olga Cuenca

“The secret to success is hard work, continuous learning and collaborating with others, not blocking yourself off, but sharing points of view,” Olga Cuenca summarizes. The doctor, founder and former president of Llorente y Cuenca, artist (who goes by the pseudonym Ty Trias) and advisor in various businesses spoke at Proa’s Observatorio that took place Monday October 21st. This was her response to a question from one of the directors attending the event, after she gave an overview of her career path, presented by Iñaki Ortega, the director of Deusto Business School in Madrid and Lucía Casanueva and Valvanuz Serna, the founding partners of Proa Comunicación.

Repetition (II): Side B

Another article about electoral debates on television? Another article about the six debates broadcast, two from RTVE, two from La Sexta, one from TVE-3 and one, the first to be held, from Barcelona Tribuna-La Vanguardia? I prefer to read them, some may say, rather than seeing them (as a diet for a single week is a gravelly digestion).

But, an article about those television debates after the elections themselves, after a tough campaign and a bitter election night for almost everyone? There is a serious risk that the attention has gone irretrievably to another chapter of the endless political series, no less dramatic, but more peaceful, just because of exhaustion. Or that the ravaged taste for so much post-analysis does not want to know more about candidates and parties for some time.

However, for the benefit of inventory, and with the advantage of looking back in perspective at an object still close, the imprint of several practical lessons, of some small progress, of certain possibilities worth exploiting, appears more clearly. There are already journalists, it is fair to say, television professionals, who have drawn conclusions about it.

A matter of formats

I would say that if one thing has become clear, it is that the format of the debate must guarantee good behavior, a presentable behavior, not irreproachable, on the part of the politicians involved. What does this mean and how is it achieved?

These television spaces do not work as correctional facilities or are childcare centers, but they cannot respond to the populist model (for using the word for once with propriety) that induces conflict as an inexhaustible, inextinguishable form of spectacle, which is the case for much of the programming of Tele 5 (where you can see things like “Big Brother 7: the Debate”, don’t forget).

In reality, the format of debate is generally split, so journalists pick up on it, between the desire for a lively and close dialectical exchange, which can border on acrimony and demagogy, and the requirement of rigor in what is said . And the common thing is that one thing is detrimental to the other. Not losing faith that both extremes are compatible and that the best debates occur when the two are combined must be the guiding key.

All this comes to mind this week: the contrast between supposedly more “loose” debates that ran, and fell, at the risk of deteriorating, of becoming monothematic (about Catalonia) and rude, and debates in which one stricter format, more “guarded” forced the participants not to carve their own way for fear of ending up in a ditch and not to drive in opposite lane and run over the one that coming straight ahead respecting the rules. This was the case of the women’s only debate on La Sexta on Thursday, November 7, and at the subsequent round table led by Antonio García Ferreras, journalists were well aware of that advantage.

The difference may seem superficial to an unthinking spectator, but it can also be considerable. Consider the first debate of TVE, where the obsession of the moderator (and moderated) Xabier Fuertes for “favoring the debate.” He let it flow spontaneously and it was overshadowed at times when instead of opinions intersecting, voices overlaped , nullifying the speakers in the legitimate usage of their words.

In these cases, the worst, the most reductionist and obsessive are imposed on the most courteous, who seem to appear without support, (see the difference between Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo and Inés Arrimadas against Irene Montero and Adriana Lastra in that same RTVE debate).

Here we run into a big problem in Spanish public life. Namely, the usual: the rules are one hand and, on the other, the way to ignore them. If the usual way of driving is more for breaking them than for respecting them, the end result is that everything degrades and those who take advantage have their heyday. Ergo, what is penalized, in the end, is respecting the rules.

That is why we must guarantee equal opportunities. There is no point in getting caught up with the technical excellence that time is controlled by professional sports referees (as highlighted in the first debate on RTVE along with the one on Sexta Noche conducted by Iñaki López) if there is no guarantee that you can play fair without fear of unregulated attacks on the contrary.

It would not hurt, it should be added, and with irony, that journalists were the first to lead by example. Before it began, the debate on Sexta Noche seemed more civilized precisely by comparison with what it had seemed, the usual Saturday night, with its confrontations, and little uplitfing between “hacks” of the opposing sides (more exclamation than admiration.) Which brings us to the melancholic questioning of whether the public space will be polluted by even more bad blood that runs in the media than by the bile of politicians.

Side effects

But there is an added effect that should not be forgotten. When the debates focus on campaign obsessions, the rest (of the issues, of the interests, of the programmatic points) is relegated in such a way that it is only cited as a recipe book or shopping list, as an addition. Politicians must learn that everything is important, and journalists should not only remind them, but urge them to discuss it. And that is easier in a block format.

It could be said that they all follow a block format, but a nominally thematic debate is not the same as another in which the moderator obliges to stick to the subject and interrogates with precision.

Thus, it is obliged (I emphasize this) to focus on specific issues, so politicians can offer feasible proposals. An example would be Ana Pastor (the journalist) asking for precise measures to combat climate change. Since Vox does not seem to believe in the phenomenon, Rocío Monasterio was exposed.

Know how to be and be without knowing

With caution as a rule, but not as a limit, candidates must know clearly what they want to get out of a debate and how to achieve it. Communicate directly with your constituents, beat the adversary, lead the debate. For better or worse?

Being the leader of the debate does not mean winning it, this means what it means, especially if more rejection is generated than connection.

This is still Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo’s problem, he has not given the impression of being even more arrogant than aggressive. Rather, it is said that his rhetoric is basically one of opposition, rather than propositive, of aspiring government, as if he were in an intense debate in Parliament. But it is also a competition problem. If the PSOE is attacked, it cannot be done with only strong words, these must be backed up with data and names and dates and cases.

It is remarkable that Iván Espinosa de los Monteros gave a much more “professional” impression for that precision when offering data and percentages (raising expressively, though curious, only the right hand). In general, Vox speakers adapted to the various formats to get the most out of them. They did not run the risk of their colleagues on the right, and rehearsed other behaviors, so that they appeared earlier as aggrieved offenders than as aggressive offenders (except, perhaps, in the case of Ortega Smith). I speak of the forms, not of the background.

I cannot fail to cite the most virtuous example in its way of explaining itself, of making the measures of a program tangible, of accepting general faults instead of throwing them on others, of pursuing a constructive rhetoric and a governance objective (in name, oh paradox, of a party that only appears in three provinces).

It’s Aitor Esteban, from the PNV. Aitor for President, Esteban to La Moncloa! There will be those who say that with age comes wisdom, that their concern is only that of the “Basque agenda,” but their technique of “sharing” with the viewer and maintaining the flow without ever disregarding the forcefulness (such as in his grabs with the representatives of Vox), he deserves to be studied carefully.

Ideology as rhetoric

It would be a joke to affirm that there has been something like “ideological” debate or true confrontation of ideas, like Ignacio Urquizu usually claims. But “ideological” rhetoric, even if conceptually misplaced, could not be absent.

It is even symptomatic that the word shines by its absence, the favorite of recent years, was “populist”, and instead the term “communist” has returned vigorously. Perhaps this is because, if it had been “populist”, it would have had to be used to refer to Vox.

We are already referring to the Anglo-American conservative variety for some Vox proposals. Along with this, we saw Monasterio paraphrase Margaret Thatcher’s famous address at her entrance on Downing Street in 1979, based on a prayer from St. Francis of Assisi.

Men and women

The insistence on the necessary parity in the composition of the electoral lists and the search for equality between men and women so that they cannot be absent from any political space made, by default, the main debate on Monday, 4 November at the Academy of Television, seem intolerablely male. It is a sign both of progress, because we cannot stop feeling it that way, and of regression.

The photo of the five men, much younger than canditates of the past (according to statements today in vogue), costume dolls, jackets without ties or ties without jackets, well planted and aggressive, bordered on shocking or ridiculous. The image replicated in the viaral Team “E ” video caricatured online.


And it added, by the way, a counterproductive “aesthetic” effect. All the leaders are less than fifty years old, there are no bald or large-bellied candidates. They all have a good facade and all are, seen together, more threatening than empathic. They are no “pack”, of course, but think of a debate in which the participants were, it is a guess, Rajoy, Iceta, Girauta, Lllamazares and Vidal Quadras. It would have also seemed to us unbearably masculine, but perhaps not so toxic.

Hence the initiative of La Sexta, to counteract, since it does not counterprogram, with a debate of women only. This debate is more successful, especially since it was more orderly and clear.

It is something that society and politics have to fix, something for which television has no choice, only relief. But as long as there remain, by default, debates of only men, they will have to be compensated with all-female debates, although both are, in the end, ultimately rare.

Check, contrast, deny

If we also believe that the last word is that of the voter, it is imperative that the politicians be examined by a reliable body after the electoral debates. It is good news that the work of checking, contrasting and refusing the claims, fallacies or hyperbolts with what is known as “fact-checking” has become a result of debates. Initiatives like or Newtral – Journalism, fact-cheking, technology and data could not be more welcome.

Only, as there is already an Ombudsman on many channels, these departments should exist in all of them, starting with those of public ownership.

And Lastly…

What genre do television debates belong to? Nowhere is it written that they have to be entertaining and, much less, fun (although it is convenient to serve them with a huge sense of humor). Unlike its cousin, the election night, more dynamic and exciting (although potentially more frustrating), the demands made on the electoral debate do not always depend on what the television media asks.

But do not resign yourself to everything being scorched earth. It can be sown waiting for something to grow. Since discussions are necessary, they must be clear and instructive, and educational by the speakers. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that they have become more frequent, more plural and perhaps more robust. They are improvable, that is, not as an expression of good wishes but as a possibility technically, journalistically, and politically feasible. And those who do not improve them will be evident.

Related Article: Repetition (I): Side A

Pablo Carbajosa

Head of Public Speaking at Proa Comunicación

Are You Growing or Entertaining Yourself?

One of the biggest problems in the market for training and coaching services in management skills is that we easily confuse entertainment with growth. Not only the clients, but even the trainers themselves confuse the art of growing as a person and as a leader with the enormous fun of playing with personality tests. And you? Do you grow or entertain yourself?

We see some examples of entertainment. The first and most common is the lecturer. A directive committee wants to have teambuilding without getting too many blisters. We talk about men and women that live and work on the defensive for years trying to escape the bland and basic. They cannot maximize the results of their work. They are sceptics to everything that cannot be impressed with numbers, let’s say.

Human Resources hires a great speaker who tells the exact same story everywhere he goes. It is a pretty intellectually stimulating talk, seasoned with the right dose of neuroscience, experiments, and Harvard studies, recounted with the grace and voice of a radio host. Very good. The managers listen to a lot of truths that are still common sense, and if they get bored they check emails on their phone or send whatsapps during the conference.

It does not really matter if they attend his talk or not. The speaker loves to hear his own voice. Nobody is in a hurry to answer a personal question, and at most they are asked to discuss a third person or a “business case”, so that they risk nothing and can offer opinions happily without consequences. Then they put on an opulent dinner, hug each other and say some nice things after a few wines, and then they all go home. Actually, nothing has changed for this team. They continue to speak with strategic terms to avoid entering the history of problems and bad situations that move like a ghost on the ceiling of the boardroom. But they have fulfilled the task of skills training and can remove this duty from their to-do list.

Another example of entertainment is the dozens of surveys with an American-style use license, in which managers answer 200 questions to be sent a very cool report full of colors and graphics in which he is told that he is a certain type of person, or a player profile, or other intellectualized and sophisticated versions of what comes to be a personality test like those of women’s magazines.

What a sacrilege I just said. With all of the decades of academic studies that justify the large prices of the licenses to be paid each time an executive fills in this survey! It is very entertaining because it is full of data, colors and graphs. But it does not change behavior. Like many, it points out a habit that we should think about changing. But how to change it, it does not tell us.

And well, in the last ten years everyone has become an expert in neuroscience and can get us to assemble a circuit of questions, exercises and intellectual diversions of the most sophisticated variety supported by conclusions of studies that are still unable to explain the mysteries of the human mind. More entertainment

I am not saying that it is not of much quality, and I do not doubt that it is fun and employees have a good time doing these training activities. What I am saying is that entertainment is not growth. And without growth, there will not be a real change to behavior nor will it be lasting.

A client recently told me that the first time he had taken him and his team to the mountains and asked them to talk about what was happening at their meetings. They had felt virtually violated. He is a very joking customer and totally exaggerates with the expression, but he brings up a very uncomfortable feeling that one does not have when playing with entertainment.

Growth is an irreversible change in perception. A change to be more, to see things that you did not see before. And once you start seeing them, you cannot stop seeing them. And by only seeing them, you begin to change things in the way you behave. In the case of one of my clients, I showed him that his dynamic of interacting with his team was a strikingly aggressive. With jokes, irony and double meanings, daggers flew between them. But they didn’t realize it because they always did it.

When I returned to the same team to do another program with them two years after, this sense of aggression had disappeared completely. The jokes, ironies and double meanings continued to animate their conversations, but they had learned to voice their frustrations and conflicts in safe spaces so that they did not affect the climate of the team, nor the climates of the teams that each of them directed.

“I noticed that before I…”

The moment when an expert like me arrives and tells a full-grown man that he observes a vice, or an excess, or lack in his behavior has absolutely no entertainment value. It is the kind of feedback that disrupts our mental schemes and makes us feel very vulnerable. And the more reason the expert has, the more it hurts to hear it, because as the words fall in our minds, all the past situations in which we have made things worse than we thought appear before us.

“I noticed that before I…” is the type of reflection that comes from training that has created real growth. This is the change in perception that opens the door to better behavioral progress in the following months. And this method of training demonstrates that taking responsibility of how we did things before and how we are beginning to do them now.

If you are realizing that you have been doing many fun training sessions that did not generate discomfort or changes in your perception, you probably just understood the huge difference between making personal growth and enjoying executive entertainment.

And when you learn how to grow personally all of the entertainment begins to seem boring because you bite into the mystery that is your own mind and the challenge of reinterpreting your own history to challenge your destiny.

Personal growth is a road full of adventures that reveals the hidden anonymous hero inside of us, and no leader should settle for less, however entertaining it may be.

Pino Bethencourt 
Coach and founder of Club Comprometidos

Repitition (I): Side A

Although not unexpectedly, it is most unusual that cautions and objections to the televised debates of candidates for senators and representatives have to be repeated, like the elections themselves, only six months later.

Already spring of this year saw four electoral calls (general, European, municipal, autonomic) in April and May which provokes an indigestion to the benevolent spectator of this kind of exchange. This time the boredom comes, if perhaps, restrained only by being the shortest campaign, although more disconcerting, since 1977.

A campaign in which there seems to be only one debate, pushed by television like the finale of Eurovision or a clash of the Champions. But the viewer has seen at least five on three different channels and his observations are dictated by all of them. This article does not want to be the only one, but only the first of a series.

With three main criteria: judging on the basis of what (better) candidates should and can do in a debate, the comparison with the performance of their rivals throughout the debate and, finally, the consistency between what they have done in the debate and their rhetorical strategies needed to convey their messages and programs.

Side A

So, although this album is scratched, very scratched, more from failures than successes, has its side A and side B.

On the A side, last night November 4 in Madrid in the Crystal Pavilion of the Casa de Campo in the Television Academy, playing on almost all the channels, the debate was composed entirely of men. These men all displayed traits of alpha males and, as was noted, in the debate the bearded to the hairless (3 to 2), the rights to the left (3 to 2 also) won numerically. There was only one that was ruled out and it was not from the extreme left but from the radical right.

Worse than the debate

Such a leaden or lively perspective was not politically resolved at all. This has been very bad for this occasion, the most counterproductive to remember: the pessimism of the spectator voter does not come from having attended a distribution of fire and ashes in which, however, has been able to move to vote and move the vote, but to a confirmation that, even by voting, given the distribution and division of the options, the blockade, to what it seems, will persist. Something depressing, not because of the debate itself, but because it does not show any governable solution.

However, still in its negative qualities, the debate deployed for a few moments a liveliness that is not negligible and a number of paradoxes greater than that of contestants in the fray.

Liability of verbal formulas

Who talked about governing the “most voted for list?” Casado? No, Sánchez. Who reverted every two times that of the “constitutional order?” Rivera? No, Abascal. Who referred to “the cowardly right”? Abascal? No, Sánchez. Who does not mention the Constitution? Casado? No, Iglesias. Who said “yes, we can?” Iglesias? Yes, and Rivera too!

But Obama said it first, it could be argued … It is notable, though not very important at the moment, I think, that the formulas of American politics now matter to them, Vox, some of whose claims seemed straight out of Trump’s campaign manuals and Bannon (for example, in regard to Bruelas). Already in an earlier debate, Espinosa de los Monteros spoke of “regaining control”, picking up the expression, as misleading as it is effective, of Farage, Gove and Johnson in the badly frayed Brexit process.

It remains for the record, in addition, that Vox has taken out its four main leaders (Abascal, Espinosa Ortega Smith and Monasterio), to engage in debates and their dialectical results have been stimulating for the formation and worthy of a detailed analysis. We will return to it.

Strange methods to stay in office

On the contrary, the painful spectacle of the final part of the debate, in which an acting president of the government refuses to answer, questioned and summarily interrogated by Rivera and Casado and, bordering on the passive-aggressive, does not look up from his papers, doing as he underlines and writes, and leaves the mess going on to other issues, confirms something of concern: Pedro Sánchez lacks speaking ability. Or he didn’t want to exercise it, which isn’t much better. And to a greater extent, it is not worrying as much about what happens in this kind of debates as about the (future) parliamentary activity.

Rivera does not take off the resource of graphic elements and supporting materials, indoctrinating even with the cobblestone, and providing great fun for social networks.

But for that (it also happened to Casado) you have to make sure that the television production will pick it up with the right technique. In the first debate of candidates in RTVE the previous Thursday (October 31), the camera did not focus on the foreground the evidence that some wielded. They neither saw nor read each other. In this, the camera reached them, but the lighting was dazzlingly reflective and hardly anything could be deciphered.

Iglesias came with a formula that was successful in his last appearance: the constructive motion to destructive debate, the virtuous circle. That is why it is misunderstood that his “golden minute” technique was so clumsy, ideal to deconcentrate, or disconcert the recipient of his message, when referring to a particular case, by exemplary that is created, to a dramatic “piece of life ” And that when it had already been seen to fail in that effort, and at that same minute, Irene Montero and Noelia Vera with the same approach (plus the one launched to Florentino Pérez) the previous week.

Casado has refined his ways, but he lacks a winning formula: the one he has is also lacking. At least avoid all errors, surely of character, of its spokesman, Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo, model in so many things that should not be done in a debate, but this will focus on the next installment.

Pablo Carbajosa

Head of Rhetoric at Proa Comunicación