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Judge the Vice Presidential Debate on These Three Fundamental Criteria

Posted October 11, 2012 by Terri Sjodin in Archive, Public Speaking, Small Message Big Impact

This evening, America will tune in to the only Vice Presidential Debate in this election cycle between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan.

The debates serve as a national public job interview, and Americans will have an opportunity to assess whom they want to “hire” as a result of the performance of the candidates.

Those who watched last week’s Presidential debate will no doubt be watching this week’s event with a curious eye. We can’t help it; we will evaluate each speaker’s performance through a critical lens.

In my last post, I offered my quick review of the first Presidential debate using the criteria from Small Message, Big Impact.

Now, it’s your turn…

I have attached the simple one page Speech Evaluation Form from Small Message, Big Impact, (Chapter 11, page 170) and invite you to use it as a reference point to assess this week’s debate. Download it by clicking here.

What can we learn from the performances that will help us make our next presentation better?

Try and really listen to both presenters fairly, and “judge” the debates based on three fundamental criteria… Case, Creativity and Delivery.  Each section on the form asks questions to help define whether or not the speaker is on track and meeting each benchmark. (Note: not all areas will apply specifically to this debate scenario, as it was created for a more business focused purpose, so only use the elements that apply.)

  1. Case— Did the Candidate build a solid, persuasive case, employing clean, logical arguments and evidence to support their points.
  2. Creativity— Did the Candidate offer illustrations of the talking points in a fresh and creative way?  Did they blend thoughtful analysis and/or interesting messages that Americans can really relate to? (Listener’s love a good story, dazzling one liner’s.)
  3. Delivery—Did the speaker connect?  Did they present their message in their own authentic voice?

Some speakers can structure a great case but have a flat, boring delivery and no creativity. They’re one for three. Some speakers have great creativity and polished delivery but have a weak case. They are two for three. I think you see where I’m heading with this

Can you be a fair and impartial debate judge using the simple criteria above? Who will you choose as the winner of the debate Thursday evening?  Who was the stronger presenter in each category?  Who was a 1 for 3, or a 2 for 3?  Was either candidate a 3 for 3 presenter?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!  TS


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