Good politicians and good online ASMR artists have a similar metric; their ability to connect with their audience is usually reflected in their number of followers.
Most ASMR artists understand that connecting with your audience is not just about having appealing and appropriate content for their target audience, but also about how the artist conveys that content through their behaviors which include eye contact, hand movements, vocal tone, facial expressions, and verbal pacing.
Politicians have a similar challenge of having appropriate content and behaviors, but it seems they are more likely to remember what to say and less likely to remember the importance of how they say it.
A recent publication in the journal Communication Monographs looked at the behaviors of politicians in U.S. presidential debates.
Participants in the study judged the verbal content of the politicians negatively or failed to remember the content when the politicians had negative behaviors such as; anxious or evasive expressions, a smirking or plastic smile, rapid blinking, rigid facial gesturing, downward gaze and eye contact avoidance, appearing as not listening to others, seeming passive, being disengaged, being dismissive or disrespectful, talking too quickly, and delivering content as rote rhetoric rather than as a meaningful belief.
It is interesting that all the behaviors deemed as negative by the participants are basically the opposite of the behaviors observed in ASMR artists who have, or are gaining, lots of followers.
Furthermore, ASMR artists have basically shown that the content matters very little. This was an important realization by the first ASMR artist, WhisperingLife. Rambling on about your cat in a relaxing tone or whisper can be as relaxing to a listener as talking through a guided meditation session in a relaxing tone or whisper.
The point here seems pretty simple. Whether you are a politician, an ASMR artist, or an average person, how you say something may be as important or more important than what you say.
This is not a new understanding. Yet, many politicians deliver their messages with negatively-perceived behaviors which detracts from their content and turns away followers.
Human brains are very selective about who to trust – our survival has depended on it. Our brains were judging the behaviors of others long before verbal communication and political messages were a part of our societies.
So it seems to make sense why actions can often speak louder than words.
Perhaps politicians need to be instructed by their campaign managers to watch more ASMR videos to better understand that how you say something can be much more important than what you say.
Click HERE to read the research article titled, “When style obscures substance: Visual attention to display appropriateness in the 2012 presidential debates.”
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