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Slight Communication Misstep Will Cost Election

As we near Election Day 2012, the most recent Wall Street Journal poll indicates a 47% to 47% dead heat race. Assuming poll numbers are accurate, which is debatable, the fact of the matter is that every piece of verbal and nonverbal communication by each candidate, and campaign representatives, are critical leading-up to Tuesday, November 6th.

There is no question that effective, strategic communication will be the underpinning of success in this electoral process. With another debate looming, most of the immediate, post-debate chatter seems to be less about the details of economic or foreign policy and more about the communication gaffs or stance of each candidate (e.g. the “binders full of women” comment by Romney or the contrasting assertiveness of Obama in each debate).

Americans have had enough of the rhetoric and simply want a more improved quality of life. As the theatrical sales process continues among those in the political arena, each of us will have to take a step back and decide which candidate will provide the vision, leadership and results that help all of us achieve a better life for ourselves and future generations. The key question – which candidate, through a strong communications-based campaign, will convince American voters to choose them?

Leaders in the private, public and nonprofit arenas should take heed and realize that all can learn how to be more effective leaders through observing this election process. Analyzing the good, bad and ugly is important as both leaders, and those that aspire to be, take the lessons learned and apply them to their own leadership lives; remembering, of course, that credibility above all else, is paramount.

As we handicap the final weeks of this race, be certain that the candidate who slightly stumbles or is not technically sound will lose. Much like the Olympic 100 meter dash, where a slight imperfection is the difference between medaling and no one remembering your name, our Presidential gold medal winner has yet to be determined.

The Fallston Group is a crisis management & communications firm dedicated to helping leaders prepare for, navigate through and recover from issues of sensitivity, adversity and crisis.

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