Both presidential candidates are facing one of the greatest and most challenging debates in this nation’s history. With the current state of the economy and the passion for or against the current president, each has their work cut out for them. Knowing what to say and how to say it is important. Knowing what to avoid saying can be equally as important. Given the opportunity, here are my recommendations for both gentlemen:
1. Before beginning, leave your ego outside. There is no room for insecurities and ego in a debate. It interferes with clear thinking and concerns itself with image and personal desires.
2. Clearly identify each issue and a precise course of action. Be detailed in offering solutions. Explain the reason for the path you have chosen, citing statistics and facts if necessary.
3. Examine all possible solutions and options, taking into consideration the possible unforeseen obstacles and challenges that may occur. Always have a plan “B”.
4. Attack the issues, not the individual. It is easy to confuse the two. Keep them separate and apart. Attacking your opponent is a sign of weakness, fear, and insecurity.
5. Listen carefully and objectively to the other party, responding accurately to what they said as opposed to what you think you heard them say. Leave your own agenda and personal feelings for them out of the equation.
6. It’s ok to show emotion. It makes you human and relatable. It’s not appropriate to be emotional. That is viewed as weak and out of control.
7. Be authentic and transparent. Do not hide who you are, your weaknesses and faults, and mistakes made. People respect honesty.
8. Be strong, firm, and confident. Say what you mean and mean what you say. And say it without being mean.
9. Deal with facts only. Avoid making unsubstantiated comments. Have documented proof readily available.
Here is my list of the top Do’s, Do Not’s, and Never’s:
Do: remain calm, be brief and specific, and remain open-minded.
Do Not: embarrass, humiliate, insult, yell at or judge the other party.
Never Ever: assume, exaggerate, lie, distort facts, character assassinate, or blame. These behaviors are all rooted in fear and reveal one’s insecurities.
While these tips can help ensure a respectful and productive presidential debate this fall, they can be applied to everyday disputes that arise between any individuals. Try them. They work.
Share your comments and suggestions.
Janet Pfeiffer, The Secret Side of Anger