Can You Evaluate the Presidential Debates?

We’re approaching that time of year when we get to watch the presidential debates. Whether or not your decision is already made, the debates are an excellent way to evaluate each of the candidates while under pressure.

Here is an opportunity to revisit the “Three V’s of Communication” –  VISUAL, how they “look,” VOCAL, how they “sound,” andVERBAL, what they “say.” The content and issues (Verbal) are paramount,  however, the other “V’s” cannot be discounted. When the three V’s are not consistent with each other, the listener may lose confidence  in knowing the genuine message. The candidates’ credibility may be in jeopardy. Both candidates are undoubtedly coached in their speaking and delivery, but some of the fine-tuned communication techniques may slip at unexpected moments. Let’s analyze these a bit further:


  • Posture – How confident do they appear? Do they look stiff and tense or relaxed? Are their shoulders raised up or or in a natural position? Do they “own” their space at the podium?
  • Eye Contact – Do they look at the camera? Are their eyes fixed and staring? Do they dart their eyes away from the camera or look up in the air as they formulate their responses? Do they roll their eyes as their opponent speaks?
  • Hands and Gestures – Do their gestures convey power and confidence, do they point in an accusing manner?
  • Facial Expressions – Is the smile genuine, do facial expressions reveal their inner emotions?


  • Does their voice sound powerful?
  • How do they end their statements? Does their voice rise or fall?
  • How quickly do they speak?
  • How do they respond to interruptions?
  • How is their overall tone of voice? Antagonistic, friendly, confident…..?


  • What do they say about the issues?

So, when you watch the upcoming debates, think about all of these factors. The Visual, Vocal, and Verbal should all be in alignment to convey accurate content, sincerity, and passion.

I welcome your comments on what you saw in the debates. I’d love to hear from you!