Interesting communications in the Blagojevich scandal. Patrick Fitzgerald is the U.S Prosecuting Attorney who announced the charges, and he is good, and a solid communicator.
On the other hand, likely soon to be ex-Gov. Blagojevich is not very believable in his first defense here. Why?
First of all, when you have the truth (apparent) on your side, you would tend to speak with conviction and certainty. When you are lying, or uncomfortable with what you are saying, it tends to show in behavior. Here’s how:
- Firm voice, solid eye communication with reporters, serious and calm facial expression
- Straightforward recitation of facts, strong Point Of View, mentions team indicating thoroughness
- Consistent – Fitzgerald has been through this before – see this blog post as he prosecuted Scooter Libby. He projects the same confidence and certainty, and was named one of my Top Ten Speakers in 2005 for his communications.
- First of all the hair. Now it shouldn’t matter that much, but it does. First time I saw him and I wondered – toupee, or if not, why not a haircut. Remember “Blink” and Malcom Gladwell’s ‘Thin Slicing’. In the first two seconds we make a lot of judgments based on appearance.
- Hair aside, Blagojevich is jumpy, eyes darting, with a bit of a smirk. Glib is a word I’d put in his descriptive cloud. Says arrogance to me.
- His content is weak – not believable in the face of such serious charges. Lot of repetitive concepts with lot of non-words (ums and uhs).
This said, we can be deceived. Pathological liers who actually BELIEVE they did not do wrong, or justify their behavior so THEY think it is accurate, if not truthful, can look like they are telling the truth. (eg: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman!“) But it is very hard to feign false confidence and certainty.
At least Patrick Fitzgerald does not have to worry about feigning or obfuscating. Blagojevich – a different story.