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Afterglow in the Aftermath – A Tale of Two Candidates

August 8, 2015

Professional 3 3836My work involves training people in leadership skills; more specifically leadership communication – and more exactly the art and science of persuasion.  In this post I will talk about two of the most popular post-debate candidates – Carly Fiorina, and Dr. Ben Carson –  in light of their persuasive performances.

  1. Convincingly Congruent Carly: I was surprised, when I looked at my notes, that I had rated anyone technically higher than Carly Fiorina.  It goes to show there are many factors in effective communication.  A matched non-verbal, vocal and verbal delivery does provide a solid foundation, especially in relation to persuasion.   But add some inspiration and you’ve got a winning combination.  As experts know, “the way to the head is through the heart” – and Fiorina was able to trip people’s emotions with her inspired stories and vocal and verbal delivery.  In summary, she was able to “bring it” better than most on stage by her well matched non-verbal, vocal and verbal delivery – and even more effectively with an infusion of inspiration from the heart.   As I mentioned in an earlier post, she was my favorite even though she didn’t score as high technically as a few others.
  1. Totally Likable Ben: Dr. Carson rated the lowest in my mechanics scoring system. However, people raved about him the next day and he gained considerable popularity and 250,000 new Facebook followers.  When I watched him a second time, I appreciated how totally likable he came across.  And, whether practical, logical, cold-hearted, factual, rational types like it or not, likability is a major persuasive force.  Given that more of the population is oriented towards relationships than results, it’s huge that he scored with so many people.  He was soft-spoken, real, intelligent, down to earth – and very witty.  And he scored big with his humorous closing remarks.  Again, “the way to the head is through the heart” – and humor pushes people’s emotional buttons.  Another communication law is that “the mind follows the body and the body follows the mind.” Or, if you can move one you can get to the other.  Humor is a way of moving people emotionally to open them up intelligently.   My students refer to my teaching in this area as Jedi Mind Tricks!

The lesson is, you don’t have to be a mechanically perfect speaker to win over others.  Sometimes an audience will love a person who is a less skilled speaker, but comes from the heart and relates to them along those lines.  Other times, however, a person could be passionate about a cause, or be running for office, but because they lack communication congruence will never be believed, understood or taken seriously.

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