March 30, 2008

Eliot Spitzer’s apology

According to UCLA professor emeritus Albert Mehrabian, when evaluating public speaking people only remember 7% of the words you say; 38% of your impact comes from your tonal quality and 55% from what your body is doing while you are speaking.

As the author of “How to Wow: Proven Strategies for Presenting Your Ideas, Persuading Your Audience, and Perfecting Your Image,” the first thing I noticed was the disconnect between Mr. Spitzer’s overuse of the word[s] “apology/apologize,” and his lack of eye contact, rigid physicality, and flat delivery. Turn the sound on your YouTube down, and it’s unlikely you would guess you were looking at an apology.

Should you wish to parse his delivery further, I found it fascinating that although he didn’t stumble before saying, “I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family,” he did when he reached, “and that violates my, or any, sense of right and wrong.”

This was, to me, an interesting moment to choke…is it possible Mr. Spitzer wasn’t heart whole in his feeling of having violated his sense of right and wrong?

Finally, when Yale University studied the most influential words in the English language they informed us that “you” is that most influential word. Never once, however, did Governer Spitzer say, “I apologize to you.” We were, instead, “the public.”

Along with Travis Bickel, another New Yorker with a dubious grasp on reality, I must ask, “are you talkin’ to me” Eliot?

Let me know what you think.

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