Sarah Palin – Communicator

The news commentators and journalists missed one very important item in the buzz around Sarah Palin's selection - this Vice Presidential candidate is a great communicator - and that might make all the difference.

In her announcement she is forceful and confident:


  • She smiles confidently, is energetic and above all has great eye communication. (She is the ONLY one among Obama and McCain who knows how to use the teleprompter well.)
  • She is articulate and powerful in a large audience setting, pauses -  knows what she wants to say and says it.

Palin is personable and has a light touch:

  1. In her announcement she mentions Hillary, the glass ceiling and the 'women' issue with a light touch.
  2. She appears not afraid to risk.

In a one-on-one interview setting, where spontaneity is so important for politicians, she is also confident and articulate, as in this interview with Maria Bartiromo:

For a surprising contrast, Barack Obama - who has just come off a highly successful oratorical event the night before (some say his best ever) - suffers by comparison. In this short 20" clip he has 10 "ums."

So now Obama has some communications competition - this is going to be an interesting race. Can't wait to see how Palin does under the pressure of her convention speech this week, and in the debate with Joe Biden. It would be great to see Obama and Palin debate - but in the end it is a contest at the top of the ticket. Although now the bottom of the ticket may have turned the race upside down.

Aural vs. Visual

Interesting note on the difference in audio vs. visual impression. I heard Palin before I saw her. I was listening to the radio driving to record the audio version of my

newly revised book "You've Got To Be Believed To Be Heard" (more on that

later.) So as McCain was announcing Sarah Palin as his pick for VP I heard the announcement with no visual. And what a contrast:

  • Hearing Palin without knowing what she looked like I only had the sound of her voice to go by in determining trust and likability. And I was not impressed. I thought she had a high voice, and a bit light and strident, but a confident tone. She was only OK - I was eager to see her.
  • Then on TV - seeing her - the problematic high voice fell away (well, it was still there but the impression was overwhelmed by the visual) and I saw a very confident and assured person - smart and lively.

The voice is a powerful tool - think of all we do on the phone and cell phone - and politicians on radio. But impression (and trust and believability) is always powerfully dominated by the visual.

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