What Speakers Can Learn from the Clinton-Trump Debate


People watch debates for many reasons. Some to measure the platforms of the candidates against each other. Some to see how they think on their feet as questions are thrown at them by the moderator or their opponent. Others watch for sport, watching two gladiators in the arena. And still others watch as a backdrop for a drinking game. (Well, maybe.)

But anyone who ever finds himself behind a microphone for any reason should have watched the first debate between the two 2016 presidential candidates to learn how-to refine their presentation skills and public speaking. The debate stage is a prime space to showcase the best skills and the worst skills of communicators. Let’s look at some examples from the Clinton-Trump stage at Hofstra. Here’s who did what well or first:

How to:

  • Warm Up A Crowd–FAIL – you could not learn this here.
  • Slip in something personal–HRC *mentioned her granddaughter in first 3 sentences.
  • Take advantage of the question–DT
  • Use the “you” first–HRC
  • Clearly State Impressive Facts–HRC
  • Get A Laugh-first one HRC says “your own reality”.
  • Break The Tension–HRC
  • Create Drama–DT
  • Stick To Message–HRC
  • Argue for the sake of it–DT
  • Keep your cool–HRC

What not to do:

  • Self-Congratulate–DT –“my father gave me a small loan” and How much money he made this year!
  • Duck A Question–DT never answered how to bring manufacturers and jobs back.
  • Interrupt Another Speaker–DT did it first

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