If you watched the July 23, 2007 CNN-YouTube debate between Democratic presidential candidates, you probably noticed the format was not typical. Generally, debates consist of political questions and answers between a few talking heads. This one—with its video clips, audience participation, emotionally charged presenters and a moderator, who spoke without hiding behind a lectern—shattered the old rules. The results were dynamic and quite revealing. In fact, I believe that the format forced candidates to truly “sell” their message to the audience and stand out from their competitors.
As someone who taught the importance of visual selling for years, I loved the set up for this debate. All the visual elements—from the YouTube questions to the audience shots to the candidates themselves—kept TV viewers engaged. It was a visual selling feast—one that truly put the candidates’ presentation skills to the test.
See The Great American Sales Pitch, for the full critique.