McCain’s October 15, 2008 Debate Performance: Blinking, Grimacing, Stumbling, Stiffening Up…. The Top Four Ways He Can ImprovePosted by shel_leanne | Under Communication Friday Oct 17, 2008
Why do 58% of respondents in the October 15, 2008 CNN poll think that Senator Barack Obama won the third presidential debate held that same day with Senator John McCain?
In my book, Say It Like Obama: the Power of Speaking with Purpose and Vision (McGraw Hill, 2008 - www.sayitlikeobama.com), I highlight the many techniques and practices that can enable speakers to use oration as a powerful tool. In the October 15 debate, Senator Obama did many things right. But more importantly, McCain did enough things wrong that he failed to sway voters during the debate. Here are four top ways McCain could have improved his performance:
First, McCain blinks an awful lot. It is not clear to me if there is a physical reason for this, but many people have (fortunately or unfortunately) been taught to believe that when people lie, they blink their eyes more than normal. Rapidly blinking eyes send a negative impression, similar to when someone displays “shifty eyes” or refuses to look others in the eyes. This was one of the most striking performance differences between the two presidential candidates, and one that—though it may sound small—can have profound influence on the perceptions formed among viewers. Take a look at the footage again—you will see what I mean.
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