What Can Scientists Learn from Tonight’s Presidential Debate

By Carol Schadelbauer, October 3, 2012


Everyone’s eyes and ears should be glued to their television or radio for tonight’s first Presidential debate. It is bound to be packed with perfect examples of messages about real people, and use of storytelling to get a point across. It will also be a great display of a tool we call “bridging”—what experts in this NPR piece that aired today call “the pivot.” When this strategy is done well it helps the speaker stay in control and stick to his messages. When it is done poorly, it is obvious and as a viewer, it feels cheap and distrustful.

I never ask scientists or nonprofit leaders or advocates to behave like a politician, but many politicians are a good study on a helpful technique they use to their advantage and to get their most memorable points across.

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