Every five year the World Economic Forum develops a list of “Top Ten Skills” for a successful global citizen. Most common of such skills, for 2015 and 2020, are complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, judgment and decision making, service orientation, and negotiation. However, there is nothing about linguistic intelligence which is not less essential to be a valuable leader or manager.
The contemporary world requires the ability to choose words wisely rather than raising voice while speaking and writing and the ability to listen and read actively. Linguistic intelligence as one of the Nine Multiple Intelligences offered by Howard Gardner refers to not only mastering all four language skills but also to use it effectively so that it persuades people with its effective speech composition and delivery. So, what is the best way to gain linguistic intelligence?
In the USA, debate plays a decisive role for the candidates for the president to win the election. They have to persuade citizens that he is the best candidate for the position of the president, not speaker or lecturer but for the position who deals with political and social problems. But, why does the debate decide?
Most people think that debate is only about the manner in which you deliver your winning speech but does not deal with listening, reading, and writing. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Firstly, persuasive speech requires a lot of reading about different topics to approach the problem from different aspects. Second, an ability to hear an idea that was not told by your opponent is also essential to counter-attack. Last, systematically constructed speech is mostly based on note-taking that means the debate is highly important to learn taking notes in a limited amount of time.
Well-planned speech with a good articulation of thoughts always touches your listeners` mind. The speech cannot be attractive if it does not contain balanced arguments with reasoning and evidence based on the deep knowledge. Your word is the mirror of your mind which means it is clear for your listeners how deep is your knowledge by your word choice. Therefore, to produce a great speech analyzing and synthesizing complex information by researching various data is a fundamental skill for a good debater which is a precursor to being a critical thinker. Besides, in debate, the limited time given to prepare facilitates decision-making skills. Also, debate sets different issues to address that demands complex problem solving creatively. In brief, debate is the practice that is essential to have every leader.
So, why linguistic competence is not included in the “Top Ten Skills”? My personal answer is that because it is the base for all the ten skills because debate is considered a very effective tool to earn linguistic intelligence which is the key for the basic skills for a leader of XXi century.
What do you think about the importance of linguistic intelligence in gaining “Top Ten Skills”?