A segment of Chris Christie's recent town hall style meeting in Belmont, N. H. has gone viral. And even Democrats like it. Why? - one reason is the subject matter. Many people from all walks of life, socioeconomic status and political ideologies agree with what the Governor Christie is saying here - that in the U.S., we must do some major rethinking for those in need of treatment for drug addiction.
Another reason Christie's speech struck a nerve is the fact that he shared very personal stories. The Governor spoke at length regarding his mother's addiction to nicotine and her subsequent death from lung cancer. The addiction of his law school friend and classmate to Percocet (Oxycodone combined with Acetaminophen) was particularly painful to listen to. Christie did an excellent job painting a story of this man's storybook successful life and then his profoundly sad downfall. The fact that these were personal stories with real people whom Christie had deep affection was translated into sincerity. And sincerity has a funny way of crossing partisan boundaries.
Sincerity is very often falsely ascribed when the opinion being expressed is in agreement with what we want to hear or believe. This phenomenon, among other things, is an example of what is known as "confirmation bias". Many other parameters influence our subjective experience when assessing for sincerity - these include factors such as our affection for the other person, their physical attractiveness, any financial benefit we may reap, if our employment depends on the outcome, etc. - it's a long list.
However in moments when we're closer to being objective beings, the feeling of sincerity is accurately sensed by most people if three key behaviors are in alignment - these are the verbal message, the nonverbal behavior and the paralanguage (vocal qualities). When all three of these are congruent - whether we agree with the opinion being expressed or not - we "feel" the other person's sincerity. In distinction, the next time you're listening or interacting with someone and something doesn't "feel" right - virtually always there is a significant disparity with these crucial three pillars of communication.
Gov. Christie's words (verbal content), his paralanguage (his tone, cadence, rhythm, volume, crescendo, decrescendo, etc.) and his nonverbal behavior were all in alignment during this speech. You may be a democrat, a republican or even Vladimir Putin - and you may even disagree with his opinion here - yet you should get a very high feeling of sincerity from this speech by Chris Christie.
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