Watched about 30 minutes — and then the final 5 minutes — of the Final President Debate tonight. Once again, it is amazing to me that with so much on the line (it’s not even a remote stretch to say that the balance of power in the free world is at stake) we have individuals who have apparently failed to get coaching on some very basic communication skills.Please understand this is an apolitical observation. This has nothing to do with what these men stand for, how it aligns with my beliefs, or what character they possess (or not). I’m just talking communication. To wit:
- Neither man used eye contact to generate confidence. There were shifty eyes and a lot of looking down (you could tell they missed their teleprompters).
- Both use an incredible amount of non-words, especially when using a defensive posture answering the other.
- I didn’t feel either was particularly polite until the final comments. I realize it’s a dirty, mean, political campaign, but I also believe common courtesy is worth using.
But the thing that struck me the most was the incredible overuse of statements to announce “facts”, “points”, and “truth”. I’m scared to try to estimate, but it seemed that almost every statement, rebuff, or accusation was prefaced with “The truth is…” or “The point I want to make is…” or “The facts are…” And at no time did I feel that I was getting straight facts when either man said this (as evidenced by the ubiquitous grin and sarcastic head shake by the accusee during the tirade).If points and facts stand alone, they needn’t be announced with lead-ins. Stories shouldn’t start with, “Let me tell you a story.” (Good) jokes don’t begin with “Let me tell you a joke.” And good political rhetoric shouldn’t have to put banners and headers on every statement. Make the points clear and definitely delineate the big ones, but every issue needn’t have such a title.
The more you state that there’s a point or fact or that things are true, the more cause I have to doubt you.