Communication prof judges VP debate, speaks at international conference

Posted October 12, 2012

As an ACU professor of communication, Dr. J.D. Wallace spends his time helping students improve their speaking and presentation skills. Last night, however, in the wake of the debate between vice presidential contenders Paul Ryan and Joe Biden, Wallace found himself weighing in on the exchange for the Speech Improvement Company. Its mission is to evaluate speeches and debates for its clients. Wallace was asked to provide his commentary in light of his nationally recognized knowledge of training and development.

“Both candidates were animated," says Wallace. "What was clearly evident is the importance of nonverbals, which ask ‘can we trust these candidates or not?’ If you see the VP as condescending or if you see Ryan as mechanical, that may influence your vote.”

According to news reports and post event polling, both men were seen as having been well prepared and informed. Wallace says the public discussion going forward will likely remain focused on whether Biden’s nonverbals were "over the top" or extremely connecting.

“The exchanges we saw in the Centre College debate certainly reinforces the value of speech instruction and coaching,” says Wallace.

On Oct. 15, Wallace will speak at the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) International Conference in San Francisco. The conference is regarded as the world’s largest annual gathering of public relations practitioners. PRSA represents over 32,000 members.

Wallace’s research will be presented during the “Measurement and Return on Investment” track during which attendees are expected to learn more about best practices on social media, mentoring and image repair.

“Our research provides a toolbox for PR professionals who are trying to balance effectiveness and ethics,” says Wallace. “The fact that I will be working with Pepperdine Universities’ Public Relations Scholar, Denise Ferguson and internationally recognized crisis communication expert Robert Chandler from the University of Central Florida should make the message all the more compelling.”

Learn more about PRSA.

Read about ACU’s Department of Communication.