A Real-Time Case Study on What (Not) to Say

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I can tell the holidays are coming by the growing number of catalogs and sales circulars in my mailbox each day. There’s also another kind of mailbox clutter these days, but this one will mercifully disappear in another two weeks.


You guessed it, it’s all the flyers and postcards for local and regional candidates running for office.


With midterm elections coming on November 8th, debates abound, and while I find there is rarely any substance in them that would sway my vote one way or the other, there are ALWAYS great leadership communication lessons to be learned from the events.


Now, as most of you know, I remain firmly apolitical in my work and commentary. Ever since my analysis of the communication patterns of the 2016 presidential race, I watch and listen in order to provide analyses of the candidates’ messaging styles for the sole purpose of identifying effective (or ineffective) communication strategies and tactics, which we can then apply appropriately in our own lives.


I did the same in my commentary during the 2020 election, from my analyses of the Democratic primaries, final debates, town halls, Comparing the DNC and RNC conventions and beyond.


Objectivity is key here. Think of it as though you were a football coach watching game footage the next day. You want to see:


  • What your team did well so you can do it again
  • What your team did NOT do well so you can work on strengthening those areas
  • What your opponent did well, so you learn new ways to be successful
  • What your opponent did NOT do well, so you can leverage it to your advantage in the future (and avoid making the same mistakes for yourself)


You would NOT, however, look at a great play your opponent made and say, “Well, I don’t like them, so I’ll never use that play.” You give objective credit where credit is due, and then decide how to implement it for your own purposes later.


As a prime example, tonight is the debate between Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) as they compete for the open Pennsylvania seat in the US Senate. It’s the only debate I plan to watch and analyze this cycle, frankly because, (a) it’s my state, and (b) there are simply far too many other races to follow.


When I watch “the game footage” tonight, I will be looking for a variety of things I believe each candidate will need to do in order to tip the scales in his favor with regard to:


  • What key personal characteristics they need to project
  • Their ability to make core messages “Tweetable and Repeatable”
  • What they will need to say (or avoid saying) to project those qualities
  • How the sound of their voice and body language will affect those interpretations


In this video podcast I share exactly what these specifics are that I’ll be looking for.


Listen in to see what my predictions are, then watch tonight's debate and see:


  • Where the candidates did or did not follow my advice
  • Who framed and delivered which messages most (or least) effectively,
    and most importantly
  • What lessons we can all learn from their performance and apply in our own lives to help us be more confident, influential, inspiring leaders… regardless of which candidate teaches us each lesson and how.


Then, tomorrow morning I’ll share my “post-game analysis” with you. And if you’re an early bird, tune in to WPHL-17 at 7:45am (watch the livestream here) where I’ll be speaking to the morning show hosts and sharing my main take-aways from the event.


If you’re in PA (or anywhere else), will it help you decide whom to vote for this year? I doubt it. But will it help you increase your influence and have a greater positive impact with some key take-aways about how to be a more compelling speaker and inspiring leader? Absolutely.


Speaking of persuasion, did you miss last Friday’s LinkedIn/YouTube Live event with Keith Campagna, on “Articulating Your ROI in Concrete Terms”? If so, fear not – here’s the replay!


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