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Only The Power of Story Can Save Clinton's Campaign

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This morning, Terry McAuliffe sent out an email, linking to a video that he thought was Hillary's most persuasive moment in last night's debate.

The problem is, Hillary totally blew it in that moment. She didn't answer the question, and she should have. If her campaign team had prepared her properly, she would have, instead of dancing around it, embraced the question as a gift, offering her an opportunity to show who she really is, at her best. It's why her campaign is failing. Her handlers just don't understand the power of story.

When Hillary tells people she's more experienced, it doesn't do the job.

When Hillary documents her experience by saying she's been to eighty countries, she's just not closing the sale.

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So far, Hillary is failing to make her experience enough of an issue, failing to present her 15 years of diplomacy, leadership etcetera as a compelling reason to vote for her over Obama.

The only way she has any chance of turning things around is to create a narrative that actually reaches beyond people's heads and into their hearts. That narrative can only be built with stories.

This is not rocket science. People are not responding to her logical, rational arguments, valid as they may be. That's because they are not wrapped in stories.

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Stories take an idea and give it heart and spirit. Stories take an idea and make it something that people can empathize with, relate to and connect with, not just at the level of the head, but also at the emotional, heart and spirit level. Voting is not just a rational process, that's for sure.

Unfortunately for Hillary, her handlers and she just do not get it. As I was writing this, I checked my email. Terry McAuliffe, Chairman, Hillary Clinton for President, former head of the DNC, sent out an email, saying,

"There was a remarkable moment in tonight's debate that we had to share with you. Watch it here:
http://www.hillaryclinton.com/tonight
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Pass it on."


It's worth watching this video. Apparently, all the people running Hillary's campaign cherry-picked this part of last night's debate as the best she put out. The video shows her response to the question,

"Describe the moment in your life when you were tested the most."

Now, I coach candidates on how to give stump speeches-- how to weave the issues they are focusing upon with the stories in their lives. And the fact that the Clinton Campaign uses this response shows just how badly her advisors have failed in understanding what wins elections.

The question was perfect, a gift for a well prepared candidate. But Hillary didn't answer it. She ignored it clearly not having a clue that this was her shot at proving herself, at SHOWING her experience. Instead, she tried to TELL who she is. She told a story that demonstrated who she is and what she thought. The question gave her an opportunity to really showcase her experience, to SHOW her inner strength, her character under fire.

Frankly, it's not a question you just dredge up an answer to. You have to have thought it through, honed and fined tuned your understanding of the actual challenging experience-- how you were tested, the dynamics, the pressure put upon you, and then, how you stood up to and overcame those challenges.

Any candidate I'd have coached would have have been ready and eager to answer that question head on. An honest, truthful, head-on answer to that question could have been the home run that Hillary was looking for. Instead, she went for the walk, lecturing about her values rather than showing and illustrating them via a story-- a real story which showed her facing a real challenge, actually being tested.

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Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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