Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Timeless High-Impact Verbal Techniques: In the 3rd Obama-Romney Debate, Each Candidate’s Most Talked-about Rebuttal or Parry Employed One Such Skill

Immediately after the last presidential debate between Obama and Romney--the one on Monday, Oct. 22, in Florida--one rebuttal from each candidate instantly became airborne. And that was no surprise to me because each of those two parries employed one of the simple but powerful verbal techniques that are standard fare among highly effective communicators. Nor should the cogency of those two rebuttals have been a surprise to anyone who has attended my flagship seminar “Power of the Spoken Word & Techniques to Communicate with Impact and Sway.”

  • Obama’s highly effective line: Responding to Romney’s contention that our navy is weak because the number of ships is fewer than what it was a hundred years ago, the president said: “We also have fewer horses and bayonets!” In other words, he used an analogy--one of the half dozen or so most effective verbal techniques to emphasize a point--to assert that the strike power of a single modern-day weapon can easily overwhelm a sea of 100-year-old weaponry.

  • Romney’s highly effective line: More than once, when responding to Obama’s criticism of the Republican nominee’s stand (or flip-flops) on an issue, the latter began: “There is no point attacking me…” Why was this choice of words so effective in parrying Obama’s criticism, why did it resonate so wildly with Romney supporters? Because “attack” is a negative word, and telling someone to their face that they are “attacking” you immediately disarms that person, puts them on the defensive. Users of my book The Articulate Professional (3rd Edition) know that I have a whole chapter (Category V) featuring words employed by smart communicators to disarm and neutralize their critics and detractors (words such as denigrate, aspersion, reflexive, foist, puffery, apologist, nostrum, meretricious.).

© Copyright 2012  V. J. Singal

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