Handling Q&A: Why Republican Candidate Rick Perry Fails

Here are three golden rules when dealing with Q&A: 1) If someone asks you a question, give an answer; 2) Think before you answer; and 3) Keep the answer short. Republican front-runner Rick Perry fails on all three points when being asked about climate change in a recent television debate.

The reason we don’t like politicians is because they sidestep questions. And when they do it makes you cringe. Specifically Perry is being asked: “Which scientist do you find most credible on this subject?” The answer is one big waffle.

“Well I do agree there is … the science is not settled on this. The idea we would put Americans economy in jeopardy based on scientific theory that is not settled yet in to me is just it is nonsense I mean and I tell someone just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said ‘here is the fact’. Galileo got outvoted for a spell but the fact is to put America’s economic future in jeopardy asking us to cut back in areas that would have monstrous economic impact on this country is not good economics and I will suggest to you is not necessarily good science. Find out what the science truly is before you start putting the American economy in jeopardy.”

He fails on numerous counts:

1) He doesn’t know the answer. Fine. Say you don’t know. Better to lead out with “Sorry, I can’t quote a specific scientist on this matter” than to ignore the question altogether.

2) Instead of considering the question he starts talking straightaway, having to talk and think at the same time. The result is a huge waffle where he repeats himself – America economy jeopardy – three times. And what on earth is Galileo doing in his answer?

3) The longer he talks, the more unclear his message becomes. He strings all his ideas together into what seems to be one big long sentence. This is a usual trait of someone who is uncomfortable with what he’s saying.

I have watched Perry speak a couple of times now and this is a typical Perry performance. Mark my words: it won’t be long before he loses front-runner status.


About Case

Managing Director at Black Isle Group Asia, helping executives stand out when they speak.
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