By Goke Ilesanmi
Last week, we said some of the additional political communication skills that politicians and campaign handlers need to master through training are Linguistic Diplomacy and Maturity in Political Speeches/Electoral Campaigns; Use of Powerful Introduction, Agility, Deportment, Vocal Rapidity, Mixed Styles, Codemixing, Codeswitching, etc.; Use of Personal Voice, Emphasis, Rhetorical Expressions, Imperative Statements in Political Campaigns as well as Use of Outline Notes in Public Speeches/Political Campaigns.
We added that others are Employment of Recognition Span and Rhythmic Eye Movement in Speech-Reading; How to Enrich Oral Political Campaigns with Effective Voice Control, etc.
We stressed that any candidate that predominantly dwells on demarketing of others candidates is simply confirming the fact that he or she does not have any genuine manifesto to present.
First rule of persuasion
It is noteworthy that the first rule of persuasion is to establish your credibility, that is, believability. Politically, thus, there is need for credibility or believability of a message and even of those delivering the message, that is, the candidates and campaign handlers.
To achieve this, there should not be intimidation, expression of desperation in the form defamation or demarketing of opponents, confrontation or abuse of other candidates or those not yet persuaded by the message, etc. The message must also be devoid of suspicion of class, religious or ethnic agenda to be able to radiate credibility.
As already said, also important is the credibility or integrity of the candidates and campaign handlers. Their public credibility, reputation or perception will determine the level of enthusiastic acceptability of the message. The fact must be stressed at this analytical juncture that credibility equally varies and is contextual. Credibility can be moral, social, intellectual, psychological, temporal (time-related), practical, vocational, theoretical, etc., depending on what a situation or context predominantly demands.
As regards intellectual credibility for instance, before you can voluntarily sit down to listen to somebody for impartation of knowledge, you must have had the confidence or assurance that he or she is intellectually qualified to impart the knowledge.
Moral credibility is about the ability of someone to have proven to have high ethical standards or value over a period of time. As far as context is concerned, for instance, if you want to attend a post-graduate course in Business Management in a university and you are given an option of choosing between an intellectually-sound but morally-corrupt lecturer and a morally-upright but intellectually-average lecturer, the better of the two lecturers in this context is the first one that is intellectually-sound but morally-corrupt. This is because you are in the university basically to acquire knowledge and not to upgrade your morality. After all, you will be assessed on the basis of your intellectual competence in the course at the end of the day not on morality.
In contrast, if you are asked to choose between a highly-intellectual but morally-decadent religious leader or preacher and a highly-moral but intellectually-average religious leader or preacher, the appropriate choice in this context is the one endowed with a reservoir of morality. This is because in the religious places of worship, it is about walking the talk or living an exemplary life not just intellectual acumen without morality.
Often times, credibility is not about status but psychology of practice. For instance, if an organisation wants to organise a seminar on punctuality and wants one of the staff is to be the speaker, a staff-member that people will be willing to listen to and that can effectively persuade them to embrace punctuality is the one that comes early and regularly to the office irrespective of his or her official position or title. So, an intelligent senior staff-member that usually comes late to the office lacks the temporal credibility to persuasively speak on the topic because he or she does not put what he wants to teach to practice. So psychologically, staff will not be persuaded by whatever he or she may be saying.
In the same vein, if you want to learn about practical business management skills, for instance, you will psychologically prefer a billionaire entrepreneur such as Alhaji Aliko Dangote to a theoretically or academically sound Harvard University Professor of Business Management that does not manage any business.
Candidates and campaign handlers
So political candidates and their campaign handlers need to be conscious of the different types of credibility and context central to efficacy of persuasion and exhibit varied relevant credibility to succeed in their efforts. They must be reputable, maintain social credibility in terms of human relations, have a good dose of morality and be intellectually sound.
They must avoid confrontation, controversies, etc. A credible or lovable candidate may end up having many enemies through unprofessional, confrontational, anti-social, immoral or abusive campaign handlers. That is why corporate organisations are careful about the choice of brand ambassadors they engage as their corporate representatives because their (ambassadors’) reputation will either enhance or rubbish the overall public perception and corporate reputation of such organisations, too.
Another rule of persuasion is that you should never expect an immediate positive response.
Building your persuasive message or case slowly but steadily will improve your chances of success in terms of persuasion. So, campaign handlers must not compel the electorate to embrace their message immediately.
To be continued
PS: For those making inquiries about our CV/Profile Writing and Speech Writing Services; Political Persuasion and Presentation Course; General Public Speaking and Business Presentation Course; Professional Writing Course, etc., please visit the website indicated on this page for details.
GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant. Tel: 08056030424; 08055068773; 08187499425