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View Diary: Interview Skills 101--Surviving the Fox Hunt (261 comments)

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  •  I meant to say last night (4.00)
    That we have really been remiss on the level of making an emotional connection with our words.  We are good at making an intellectual connection, but then we are talking over the heads of the non-intellectuals.  To paraphase the famous Adlai Stevenson exchange, if we have the votes of all the thinking people in the country we will lose, because we need a majority.

    A minority of the electorate is capable of responding to an intellectual message, but everyone, including intellectuals, is capable of responding to the right emotional message.  Especially if that message connects to cherished values and a person's bedrock concept of what is True.  Just look at the emotion on this site every day!

    How can we harness this?  How can we catch this lightning in bottles?  Are our noses too far in the air to deign to look for common denominator messages both intellectuals and average Joes can relate to?

    Rs have been practicing this for twenty years and have beens sadly sucessful at selling the public a pack of lies in the process.  Call me naive, call me crazy, but I think we should try doing the same thing with the truth.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Tue May 10, 2005 at 08:56:29 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Political Communication and the Triune Brain (none)
      TrueBlueMajority -- this essay is THE BEST commentary on political communication I've ever read. Although it deals with responding to Faux News dittoheads as a point of departure, it is the essential lesson of political communication Democrats need to learn.

      Paul MacLean's theory of the Triune Brain can be very helpful in understanding the political communication challenges we face. The theory holds that the human brain is made up of three evolutionary parts: the Reptilian, the Mammalian, and the Human. The three parts interact, but each has it's own primary function -- the reptilian is instinctive and survival oriented; the human part is the cerebral cortex, which is the thought process and other higher brain functions.

      The importance of this, is that people don't make voting decisions on the issues -- it is their EMOTIONAL RESPONSE to issues that determine their choices.

      In fact, if you can push the emotional hot buttons, the issues become irrelevant. That's why Frank Luntz has been so successful, polling and programming the GOP to use emotionally charged words.

      An example -- when asked, most people will say they want fuel efficient cars. These same people then go out and buy an SUV. Why? The logical thought process says to buy a high MPG car, but the gut level reptilian brain emotional response is power, strength, and security -- which leads to the SUV buying decision.

      Bottom Line -- the emotional trumps the analytical, every time.

      This is why the fear response led Security Moms to vote for Bush -- which was entirely predictable, since Kerry made no effort to Swift Boat Bush's credibility as a strong wartime leader. Game over, Bush won.

      Lakoff talks about this, using the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life constructs as models. Choice is a consumer value; Life is a moral value. Consumerism is trumped by Morality -- advantage to the other side.

      Democrats lose arguments because they rely on issues and analysis, instead of emotion and passion -- Republicans win, because they go straight for the hot button emotional responses.

      Another way of looking at it is through the lens of Aristotelian communication theory -- Ethos; Pathos; Logos. These have been discussed at They correspond to modern marketing techniques of What; Why; How.

      Ethos = What -- What are your core principles?

      Pathos = Why -- Real World examples, that reinforce your Ethos.

      Logos = How -- The logical conclusions that naturally flow from the What and Why of your core beliefs.

      Those principles, in that order.

      As Democrats, We Believe in Liberty and Justice for All --

      The GOP believes in liberty for corporations, and justice for those who can afford it --

      •  ethos/pathos/logos, amen! (none)
        I have commented on the ethos/pathos/logos triangle many times.

        Here's one summary restated from a February post responding to a comment about "narrative of the mind" vs. "narrative of the heart":

        Ethos--first they have to trust you: either because of past trustworthiness, because of your role (pastor, president, doctor), or because other people they already trust are willing to vouch for you.  If you don't have their trust, you are stopped at square one.

        Pathos--you must make an emotional connection: push emotional buttons with the narrative of the heart.  But if they don't trust you, their emotions will not engage.

        Logos--this is the narrative of the mind, but it goes in one ear and out the other unless they trust you and have made an emotional connection with you.

        bottom line:  Dems have got to stop nominating logos-heavy candidates and giving logos-heavy TV interviews.  Even our occasionally strong attempts at pathos don't work because Joe Redvoter does not trust us.

        Whatever else establishment Dems might say about Howard Dean, he is pushing emotional buttons and getting an emotional response.  He is going to the heartland, letting people who almost never get to see a real live Democrat meet him and trust him.

        Whatever else Republicans may say about Dean, they fear any Democrat who has the potential to make an emotional connection with the people.  That is why they attack his trustworthiness, so that his emotional message will be muted.

        Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Jun 09, 2005 at 01:12:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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