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It seems like a simple contract: We elect men and women to represent us, and their votes reflect our concerns about issues that are important to us. They are responsive to our needs and the issues we value. But manipulated voting maps in Michigan and other states can make elected seats so “safe,” the voices of voters can get the silent treatment.

Elected leaders who are sure they will win re-election, regardless of what they do, can become less responsive to voter concerns, particularly concerns of voters in a district’s minority party. When elected leaders win by 10, 20, maybe even 30 percent, what incentive do they have to listen to dissenting views among their voters? None. This is a big concern and it happens on both sides of the aisle. Consider a few recent examples from Republicans and Democrats.

Rep. Dave Trott, who represents the 11th District in the U.S. Congress, held a town hall event on March 18th in Novi , his Nil Simile Ladies Narrow Fitting Smart Slip On Shoes Sirena Pearl Softee Beige EUyZVGhE
. He hadn’t held a constituent town hall since March 2016 and his constituents were demanding that he meet them face to face. He famously got a lot of criticism for flying to Mumbai during the February 2017 congressional recess, rather than hold an event to hear voters’ concerns.

Trott has said publicly that the protestors aren’t from his district and are being paid to protest . This doesn’t pass the smell test any more than the same accusations from Democrats against Tea Party protesters in 2009. Representatives need to acknowledge all of their voters — the voters who elected them, the voters who disagree with them and the people affected by the laws that they passed.

We’re not picking on Trott, though his example shows that a 12 percent margin in the most recent election can make you feel like you don’t have to hear from your own supporters or the thousands who may have supported your opponent. And he’s not alone. Michigan U.S. Reps. Mike Bishop, Bill Huizenga and Tim Walberg all dragged their feet in holding live constituent events this spring (before eventually following through).

We’re not picking on Republicans, either. Remember the Tea Party protests of the summer of 2010? There were plenty of examples of Democrats, many from safe congressional districts, dodging angry protesters wanting to voice heartfelt views about the passage of the Affordable Care Act and other issues. For example, Rep. Frank Kratovil, Jr., a Maryland Democrat, told the New York Timesin August of that year that protesters at a town hall were “a group of people who were there to disrupt, purely politically driven.” Sounds remarkably similar to GOP representatives in 2017, doesn’t it?

Both sides do it, when given a chance, because facing voters can be hard and partisan voting maps give representatives no incentive to hold town halls.

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Ajay Banga , President and CEO, MasterCard; TopDadFathersBestUnisexFlipFlopsMedium WqUnqXxZ
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Global cities are driving today’s global economy. Some, such as New York and London are global financial centers. Los Angeles stands at the peak of the global entertainment industry. Hong Kong and Singapore loom over global trading. São Paulo, Seoul, and Chicago have taken their historical expertise in industry and turned into global centers of industrial knowledge. In what ways are the world’s most powerful and global cities, rather than national governments, serving as the economic engines of the twenty-first century? Is the concentration of economic activity in global cities disrupting international norms? How are global cities positioned to serve as hubs of global trade and commerce, and what role do they play in international trade negotiations?

Start the conversation!

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This event is part of the Chicago Forum on Global Cities .

Issues: Global Cities , Global Economy .

President and CEO, MasterCard

Ajay Banga is president and chief executive officer of MasterCard and a member of its board of directors. Prior to joining MasterCard in 2009, Banga was chief executive officer of Citigroup Asia Pacific responsible for all businesses in the region, including institutional banking, alternative investments, wealth management, consumer banking and credit cards. He joined Citigroup in 1996 and held a variety of senior management roles in the United States, Asia Pacific, and the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions. Banga began his career at Nestle, India, where for 13 years he worked on assignments spanning sales, marketing and general management. He also spent two years at PepsiCo, where he was instrumental in launching its fast food franchises in India as the economy liberalized. Banga is a member of the board of overseers of the Weill Cornell Medical College, and serves on President Obama’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. He serves on the US-India CEO Forum and chairs the US-India Business Council. He co-chairs the World Economic Forum’s Financial Inclusion Steering Committee. He received a BA in economics from Delhi University and is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Administrator, UN Development Programme

Very informative and helpful. One thing I may add that during such presentations where at outset ppl feel sleepy due to technical nature, it will be good to keep asking small advises from audience to keep them involved. Otherwise, when everyone ended yawning, the presenter starts!

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Rupnarayan Bose says

Two points that I’d like to add: 1) Tell them a story. I do. Everything you want to say, every point you want to make, every topic or theme that you want to present – has a beginning, a middle and an ending. A story keeps the audience interested. 2) The Pause: It’s a vital tool, as you have stated. It can be used with telling effect. It can help to break the monotony, can be used as a break between ‘chapters’ – especially during a day-long lecture session. A sudden pause can generate anticipation, draw the focus of the audience, make them attentive to what you are going to say next. It can draw the audience in.

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Dominique says

Great ideas indeed. Try to think like Steve Jobs and wow the audience with charisma and tell a story instead of death by PowerPoint.

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mark says

While #9 is useful it is actually the easiest part of public speaking. In fact, it is the thing that makes the rest of it all fall into place, including overcoming stage fright. The best way to overcome stage fright is to understand how to do #9, then do it, then practice, then know that you are ready.

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Leon Mann says

Great insight and article Dave!, one of my biggest mistakes in public speaking I made was talking in monotone my audience would be bored very easily then I discovered ways to differentiate my tone my audience became much more engaged this article was spot on to appear calm and cool a little pause also will convey confidence along with a change in tone and certain emphasis in points you want to get across to the audience.

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