Both President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney both delivered strong performances Tuesday during their presidential debate, according to two area communications experts.
"I have to say, I think it was a draw,'' Adam Earnheardt, chair of the communications department at Youngstown State University, said. ''I look at this debate and there is a lot you can see from nonverbals.''
Jeff Nelson, professor of human communications at Kent State University at Trumbull, said, ''It is pretty obvious that both Obama and Romney's handlers have told them it is important they project this aura of power.''
Earnheardt and Nelson studied the performances at the second presidential debate, a town-hall style forum at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y..
"They are both trying to invade each other's personal space," Earnheardt said.
"When Romney is speaking, he has direct eye contact with Obama. When he did this, you saw the president smile and shift his eye contact.
''When Obama was speaking, Romney stood almost statuesque. He never broke eye contact and he never looked concerned.
"That is a product of really strong debate training. There is as school of thought that you want to hold your ground when being addressed in a debate. To that extent, Romney has the advantage in these nonverbal debate cues."
Nelson said Obama's performance was far better than the first presidential debate.
"That was probably the biggest thing that stuck out to me. Obama made a pretty remarkable comeback just in terms of his strength on the stage," Nelson said.
''The things he did much better included being very assertive, standing firmly and rebutting very firmly with what Romney is saying.
"On the other hand, I think Romney is standing up firmly and being appropriately assertive too. He's backing up just as Obama has from his side."
Nelson said, "Both are being civil when looking at each other. It is important that they look alert when the other is talking, but they aren't showing facial expressions to display disgust.
"They both seem very sincere when they're promoting their ideas and that is maybe the biggest part of having good debating skills."
"One big thing I noticed is that both are getting out of chairs more than they need to and that is all about trying to seem in control," Nelson said.
Earnheardt, who teaches a Face of Public Speaking course, said the three main components in a good debate performance are matter, method and manner.
"Sometimes, it is as important how you say it as what you say. We saw some very uncivilized manner in the vice presidential debate. In this one, 50 to 60 percent of their effectiveness is nonverbal.
''Body posture and voice are very important. Not what they are saying, but how. It comes down to speed and pronunciation.
"Both did their best manner of delivery and connecting with the audience one-on-one."