Disclosure, while I lean toward Democrats/Independent, this post purely provides insight on Palin’s performance, not the content.
Last week, I wrote about the one-on-one interviews Sarah Palin had conducted. I highlighted her weaknesses and provided some media recommendations before the vice presidential debate. Her interviews singlehandedly increased the attention that the VP debate would receive.
How Did She Do?
While I watched the debate to educate myself about the candidates, I kept in mind the weaknesses I highlighted previously. To summarize:
- She responded with canned messages to EVERY question
- She allowed herself to be cornered on questions which led to
- Her answering questions she shouldn’t had
- She was visibly uncomfortable with the speed and style of questions
Based on this, here is where she improved:
Visible Presence: I think this format played to Palin’s strengths. She demonstrated confidence and charisma that electrified Republicans, and took Democrats off guard, at the RNC. Palin seemed more comfortable as she could focus on the audience, not just an interviewer.
Bridging Responses: The other benefit was the debate format. It seemed that each veep candidate had notes behind his/her podium, which can be reassuring to a person. Furthermore, the 5 minute limit on each question prevented the moderator from digging into each person’s response.
While Palin was considerably better with her responses, I think she can improve on how to bridge her responses. In fact, she overtly stated that she would not answer questions that she felt the media wanted, but rather the viewer. Not great, but from a communications perspective, she did what we always counsel – respond to the question that you want asked, not the one that was asked.
Preparation: I give Palin 4 gold stars. She was clearly MORE prepared than her interviews. She had 3-4 key points that she highlighted throughout the debate. I only detected 2-3 questions when she seemed to struggle, but she recovered quickly.
With political pundits and prospective voters watching her closely, Palin did a great job to nullify the concerns that her interviews had raised. I recognize that the expectations may not have been high to begin with but you can’t deny that she provided a great performance.
She does have room for improvement regarding how to bridge her response with the question asked. Future interviews won’t be like the debate. But in just one and half hours, she definitely responded to her skeptics.
Do you think this debate is enough? Or are the doubts still around?
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Cece Salomon-Lee is director of marketing for ACTIVE Network, Business Solutions division, and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.
This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.
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