Psychotherapist Analyzes Republican National Convention – How To Connect With 4 Steps

Psychotherapist offers 4 steps for connecting with others – examples drawn from speakers at the Republican National Convention.

There were many interesting stand out moments throughout the Republican National Convention this week from a psychotherapeutic perspective. Below you will find my analysis from the angle of how to connect with others. First, I will provide you with my 4 steps to connect, achieve likeability, and appeal to the masses. Then, with brief examples drawn from speakers at the RNC, I point out how these speakers utilize one or more of my 4 steps to connect with others. The speeches addressed in this blog article includes: Clint Eastwood, Ann Romney, Niki Haley, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Ryan, and of course Mitt Romney.

4 Steps To Achieve Likeability, Connect With, And Appeal To The Masses:

  1. Validate the public’s feelings.
  2. Identity – A) Share your identity including one’s life experiences that are in sync with the message you are trying to convey. B) Share experiences that are relate-able to those you are trying to reach and connect with so that they will feel you identify with them and can understand them. Thus they then feel they can identify with you. C) State and explain your philosophical identity.
  3. Explain that you are what the public needs and why. State with clarity what you can and will offer them and how you will care for them.
  4. Compare self to the other candidate. Concretely state what is better about you and contrast yourself with your opponent. Specifically address what you can and will do and very directly detail the contrast of your ideas with that of the other candidate and what he has not done and cannot do.

Speeches – Analyze That!

Each speech analyzed below includes one or more of the 4 steps listed above for how to connect with others. My focus during this article is not to demonstrate all 4 steps within each speech. Rather, it is my intent to offer insight into what the 4 steps of connection, likeablity, and appealing to the masses are by providing a few examples drawn from speakers at the RNC.

Clint Eastwood 

Skilled actors and directors enter the reality of the character that they are trying to portray. To have an empty chair on stage in an effort to enter the reality of some of the public and thereby entering the reality of what so many perhaps wish to state to President Obama, but feel their voice is not being heard, was brilliant. It was Eastwood sharing the voice of many to that empty chair. This concept in theory, was brilliant as it is a clear demonstration of Step # 1 for connecting with others which is; validate the public’s feelings. Well, brilliant from a psychoanalytical perspective but quite likely would create a wider range of response from the masses.  Opinions ranged from people thinking it seemed odd, others finding it humorous, and yet still others who saw it as disrespectful and offensive. Then there were those that “got it” and liked it. Who else but a skilled actor, director, and politician would be so bold as to bring such a prop on stage to allow the public the opportunity to see the reality of what many are feeling. Sure, it was not in sync with the rest of the speeches in its style nor approach, agreed, but was the message concept not in and of itself in sync?

“Eastwooding” – Is Actually The Psychotherapeutic Intervention Known As The Empty Chair Technique 

There has been much chatter about Eastwood’s use of the empty chair during his speech at the RNC. The chatter throughout social media is that there is a new term: “Eastwooding”. I will share with you that the “empty chair technique” is a real psychotherapeutic intervention that has been around for decades. The empty chair technique is quite advantageous as a therapeutic intervention to help clients who are stuck and unable to move forward. In a safe therapeutic environment with a therapist who the client trusts, the empty chair technique can be used to facilitate an opportunity for the client to share their thoughts and feelings and understanding those very thoughts and feelings in a different way. Through the years, this psychotherapuetic intervention has evolved in that the client can then sit in the “empty chair” continuing the conversation, this time reversing roles.

Fascinating in this context to use the empty chair technique as a staged intervention. Is it possible that the not so subliminal message Eastwood relayed was for the public to move forward by voting for Romney rather than remaining stuck with the same President.?

If you wish to learn more about The Empty Chair Technique and Eastwooding, I invite you to read my blog entitled: Eastwooding – Empty Chair Is A Psychotherapeutic Technique – Analyze That.

Ann Romney 

Ann’s theme of hearing the voice of the public, literally she stated during her appeal to women; “I hear your voices”  was significant! Hearing the voice of the person you wish to reach and connect with, is indeed the first step towards achieving that goal. Step # 2 during a campaign from this psychotherapist’s analysis of how to connect with the public is to share your identity and show you identify with your public. Ann attempted to do just that as she shared pieces of her and Mitt’s life together, what they believe in (e.g., work hard) and how some of their past is relate-able to the challenges of the many (e.g., cancer, eating on an ironing board). “This is the man America needs” is an another important statement she made that falls in line with my 4 step process for likeability and connectability as this statement is in sync with Step # 3 which is to state with clarity who/what Americans need.

Niki Haley

Haley discussing the “you didn’t build that” point is of great significance as there are so many who are disappointed and concerned about the notion that working hard and accomplishing is not something you get to take pride in according to the President’s philosophy. From a mental wellness perspective, government taking credit for what you have done is a concerning notion. Step # 2 and # 4 of my steps for likeability to get the voters interested in Romney, are both in action in Haley’s speech. As I am sure you recall, Step # 2 includes sharing your philosophical identity and Step # 4 includes making a direct comparison of philosophically who you are and what you stand for that is in contrast with the opposition.

Chris Christie 

The theme of treating all of us as “adults” is such a good fit and in theme with what we  as adults need to remember from time to time. Specifically, we are indeed adults and the theme of Obama taking care of America by adopting a philosophy of dependency and ‘give me’ because I deserve to have is quite reminiscent of what a parent must steer their children away from. To motivate, to self empower, to develop a strong work ethic and become adults who are able provide for self and family – that is what we as adults must help our children to become, and we as adults must be. We are adults not children and we must act as such. We must also help our children to become capable, self empowered adults who believe in themselves. The reminder of our country’s founding principles and how important they are is indeed in sync with the very philosophy that Mitt stands for. This is a fine example of a piece of Step #4 which is to show the comparison between candidates.

Marco Rubio

Step # 4 of connecting with the public to win over voter support is to concretely share what is better than and different from one candidate to another. Specifically what one candidate offers to Americans in direct contrast to the other candidate. Rubio stated in reference to Obama: “instead of inspiring us by reminding us what makes us special, he tells Americans that you are worse off because other people are better off.” In addition he shared that Obama’s philosophical belief system is that “rich people got rich by making other people poor”. The assertion that Mitt’s philosophical belief system is in direct contrast to this is an important comparison. “America has always been about new beginnings” is a statement made by Rubio offering the public the opportunity to view Mitt as a vessel through which Americans can have that new beginning.

Rubio retold the story of his dad standing “behind” the bar working hard for all those years so that one day he could stand at the podium “in front” of the room – this statement is beautiful, it is exactly the story of what makes America great.

“America is the story of ordinary people who did extraordinary things.” Rubio made it clear with his anecdotes that our philosophical belief system and by choosing Mitt to become President will have a direct and positive impact on our future, and our children’s future.

Condoleezza Rice

A powerful story she shared about her own history. To not be allowed to go into a movie theatre as a child to eventually become the Secretary Of State is quite a statement to remind the many that anything is possible in America with conviction, passion, and desire. Her story is a reminder that America is the land of opportunity. Step # 2 for connecting with the voters and leading them to be interested in what you are saying is to share your identity, your personal experiences as well as what your philosophical identity is. Rice’s story is a reminder of Mitt’s philosophical identity and the voice of the Republican Party.

Paul Ryan

In the first moments of Ryan’s speech he jumps straight to my Step # 3 of likeability and connecting with voters wherein he stated: “I accept the duty to help lead our nation out of a jobs crisis and back to prosperity.” He then implemented Step # 1 (validating voter’s feelings) when he finished his sentence and further stated: “I know we can do this.” Voters need their feelings validated. This is the reassurance that we can indeed get out of this jobs crisis. Many Americans are worried, concerned, and anxious.

Ryan stated: “Mitt Romney and I are going to solve this nations economic problems . . . if we are serious and smart . . . we can do this.” This statement is in line with my 4 steps for how to appeal to the public further solidifying Step # 3. During Ryan’s speech he shared a story about his mother who created a business to provide for her family. This is a superb example of  Step # 2 of connecting and appealing to the voters which is sharing your identity and identifying with the public.

Mitt Romney

Many Romney advocates spoke at the RNC, sharing their stories and working to connect with the public while laying the foundation for Mitt’s speech. Then, Mitt Romney shared his points. He was consistent with the messaging of the players mentioned above.  The 4 steps I use to coach people to connect with others on a larger scale were evident in many speeches at the RNC.

I reviewed Mitt Romney’s speech and pulled out an example of each of the 4 steps discussed above. I believe Mitt likely connected with many voters  and thus accomplished his goal of connecting with the voters. The four examples are:

  • “This President cannot tell us that we are better off today then when he took office.” (In sync with likeability and connection Step # 1).
  • Mitt spoke about his life with his family and showed emotion. Also, Mitt stated:  “In America we celebrate success we don’t apologize for it” (In sync with likeability and connection Step # 2).
  • “My promise is to help you and your family.” (In sync with likeability and connection Step # 3).
  • Mitt stated his plan is to create jobs. (In sync with likeability and connection Step # 3 and # 4)

If you found this blog article interesting, provided below are a few items you may also want to check out:

Does Likeability Trump Economy In Presidential Election? Dr. Karen Ruskin’s television interview by Neil Cavuto on FOX Business Network.

You Didn’t Build That Obama Says – Psychotherapist Concerned. Dr. Ruskin’s blog article.

Birth Control And Sandra Fluke – Psychotherapist’s Perspective. Dr. Ruskin’s blog article.

Democrats Vs. Republicans – Mental Health And Wellness Philosophy. Dr. Ruskin’s Blog article and FOX 25 News Boston interview.

Educate Your Children About The Presidential Election. Dr. Ruskin’s Blog article.

Occupy Wall Street – Psychotherapist’s Analysis. Dr. Ruskin’s television interview on The O’Reilly Factor by Bill on FOX News Channel.

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