Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Presentation Advice for the Candidates

If I were advising the candidates on their campaign presentations, I'd say:

Michele Bachmann: Vary your rate of speech. You often speak rapidly and that makes you sound nervous and less serious. Study Margaret Thatcher's use of emphasis. Lean toward speaking more slowly.

Herman Cain: You often sound as if you are a CEO giving a PowerPoint presentation. Back off from the bullet points and give a bit more philosophy. Make sure that it is deep, not glib, and that it will reassure people on the experience issue. Don't argue that experience is meaningless; instead emphasize that your different experience has special benefits.

Newt Gingrich: Take fewer trips down Memory Lane because those anecdotes only remind people of your age. The futurist stuff that you like to cite only works in better economic times. Right now, people want to hear about what can be done to improve things fast.

Jon Huntsman: Stop pointing at the audience. It looks aggressive and doesn't match your voice tone. Stop smiling when you attack an opponent. That makes you look deceptive. No more gold ties. Any wardrobe choice that detracts from your message is a problem. Don't talk about your ability to speak Mandarin. It will win as many votes as John Kerry's ability to speak French.

Barack Obama: Edit out all strawman arguments. They are starting to be predictable plus they kill credibility. Shorten your speeches. No more teleprompters. They are adversely affecting your speaking style, you do not use them well, and they are a barrier between you and the audience.

Ron Paul: Some self-deprecating humor would go a long way in reducing the fanatical grandpa image. Either joke about your frumpy appearance or get a tailor. I'd suggest the latter. When you are proposing major changes, you can't look like some guy who just got off of a long bus ride.

Rick Perry: Don't run from but do downplay the macho Texan. [Remember, the rest of the country is not in love with Texas and New York.] Temper the toughness by showing more of the guy who grew up in a dirt-poor Texas town and knows what it's like to be on the outside. Watch the expressions you use when others are speaking. Drop the pointing gesture. Smile more.

Mitt Romney: Ignore the criticisms that you are robotic; most of those come from enemies who wish their candidates were as disciplined. Right now, programmed is fine if it is competent, but you need to let your audience see the ideological framework behind the "turn-around specialist" details. Keep the sunny image.

Rick Santorum: Same advice as Bachmann plus place more emphasis on bringing a new perspective. So far, you have not drawn a clear line between yourself and the others. Your youthful appearance is not reassuring when people are hurting and you have to overcome that.

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