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Not content with experiencing Canada's medical system, I also dipped my toes into its political system. Simon told me that the Green Party was having a leadership debate at OISE. I tagged along because politicians live and die by their public speaking abilities, and Ian gave me a lift there.
It was absolutely fascinating. The two candidates present - Elizabeth May and Jim Fannon - were as different as night and day. I spent most of the evening not only listening to the points they made during the debate but also watching how they made those points, taking notes on their speech technique and manner.
Elizabeth was by far the more seasoned speaker. Here are a few things she did particularly well.
- Her experience gave her plenty of concrete examples to cite during the debate.
- She used quotes to great effect, allowing her to take advantage of other people's clear and concise expressions while also showing that she'd done her reading.
- She used humor to establish rapport, and drew a number of chuckles from the audience. Humor also demonstrated that she listened to the question and reacted to it.
- She used powerful statements and good sound bites. (With content, mind you!)
- Her body language indicated that she paid attention when the other candidate spoke.
- She answered each question directly, and then expounded with more information. In contrast, the other candidate sometimes started talking and then circled back to ask what the question was again.
- Examples from international politics strengthened her case.
I learned a lot from the conversation afterwards, as Simon and Ian discussed a few of the points that were raised. I need to develop political thinking. It's a great way to practice critical thought.
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