Election 2012: Debating Image

Source: Denverpost.com
 Election 2012: Debating Image

 

Sources: http://potus-geeks.livejournal.com/269824.html, http://cstl-cla.semo.edu/renka/ui320-75/presidents/kennedy/1960_election.asp

 If the Nixon/Kennedy debates were any indication of how important projecting an image is, then the Romney/Obama debate Wednesday night was no different. Remember (or not) how fresh and tanned JFK looked in the 1960 debates (granted the tan came from Addison’s disease), while a sallow Nixon sweated away in his corner recovering from a staph infection? Nixon’s choice to forgo makeup in front of the camera may or may not have cost him the election but it certainly influenced what people thought about his debate performance. Speaking in public is not just about what you say, but how you present it. Taking control of your external image can help you feel more confident and make your audience more receptive to your message.

 

 The Candidates 

 

Source: Denverpost.com

Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama looked sharp in black suits and American flag pins. Romney’s choice of a red tie made him seem powerful, confident and patriotic. The bold red tie matched Romney’s steady eye-contact he gave to the camera during his opening statement.

Obama’s blue tie helped him exude a more subtle type of power. Often perceived as unapproachable in front of the media, Obama may have chosen the blue tie to seem more humble and likable. The debate stage doesn’t allow for the opportunities to connect with the crowd that stumping on the campaign trail does (read: singing Al Green   songs to a roaring crowd of supporters) so candidates must make subtle image choices to project their message.

 

 Future First Ladies  

 

Source: StyleBistro.com

Ann Romney and Michelle Obama watched the debate in style. Michelle Obama matched her husband in a blue dress and jacket by Preen according to Danica Lo of StyleBistro. Coordinated but not too matchy-matchy, Michelle Obama’s outfit was the perfect mix of feminine printed silk and dignified suiting.
Ann Romney wore a white skirt and jacket combo and accessorized with a two-strand pearl necklace. Like Michelle Obama, the skirt and jacket combo projects an image of an approachable but smart future first lady.

 Science and history teach us that humans are visual creatures. Making an impression and taking control of your image are critical tools (and easily practiced!) when you need to influence your audience such as in a  job interview, a business presentation or a presidential debate.

 

 

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