If the VP Debate Were A Radio Show

 In Blog

By Cliff Dumas

What do great leaders, innovators and key players in any industry have in common? They communicate powerfully and effectively.

If the first Vice Presidential debate were a radio show how would you rate the hosts?

First, as a radio show, it had everything: character revealing content, polarizing participants and engaging conversation. Don’t you wish ALL debates and radio shows were this entertaining?

Joe Biden, like any good radio host, showed up prepared. He was confident in his experience and expertise and delivered his message concisely. Whether you agreed with him or not, he was memorable. Being memorable is key to connecting with your audience.

Paul Ryan scored high in likability, which is also key to connecting with any audience. He was poised and intelligent. He helped his ticket with some women with his endearing demeanor.
Like any great radio show, their exchanges were captivating.

Revealing your character is one of the key building blocks to connecting with your audience. People who can open up and let the audience peek into their soul, and share their vulnerability, are the ones the audience will care about.

Ryan’s heartfelt story about Romney helping a family victimized by a car crash brought out Romney’s endearing side. That gave Biden the opportunity to share his personal tragedy, losing both his wife and daughter in a horrible car accident soon after being elected to the U.S. Senate. 

Both Ryan and Biden used effective storytelling to deliver their messages. Purposeful storytelling is an effective way of sharing your lives and content. A story needs to be something that both you and your intended audience can bond with. When considering a story to tell, ask yourself: Can I find a way to connect, motivate, even inspire, through this story? Whether humorous, compelling or tragic, a really good story resonates with universal aspects of being human.

How do you develop character and brand recognition? Identify each member of your team’s key character attributes and filter your content through that statement. For example: If Biden’s radio personality brand statement (what he’s known for to the audience) was “The feisty curmudgeon”, then all of his exchanges and comments during the debate met his audience’s expectations and they either loved him or hated him for it. If Ryan’s radio personality brand statement was “the articulate, poised pragmatist,” then the debate reflected his brand accurately.

Ryan’s personality came out through his humorous and clever dig regarding Romney’s now famous “47 percent” quote. He said, “I think the Vice President very much knows that words don’t always come out of your mouth exactly the right way!”. Biden replied, “But I always say what I mean, and so does Romney.” He went on to say that if Romney’s comment was a mere slip of the tongue, “I’ve got a bridge to sell ya.”

The result of the display of two contrasting characters was the kind of debate (and radio show) the audience deserves every time. It was specific, vigorous, and personal. It wasn’t the most comfortable exchange to watch/listen to. But the ones you remember often aren’t.

The Vice Presidential debate is also a great example of how important facial expressions and body language are in conveying your character and personality to an audience when you’re on camera or hosting an event.

Here are some screen shots of Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. Do you laugh along with Biden or does he come off as condescending? Does your gender affect whether you felt his expressions were irritating or “swagger”? Be strategic with your message both verbally and visually, as you audience will place judgment based on both. What do you want to be known for?


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