MEDIASTRAIGHTalk-August 2017 Edition

August 30, 2017

TAKING A STAND OR TAKING A ‘PASS”—The present has never been better for corporate communications experts to step up and advise senior leadership about political positioning in the Trump era. Is it too risky for a CEO to take a position on a political issue? Does it make more sense not to take a stand? Are we talking about ethical issues? Do employees expect the ‘big shots’ to step up and do the right thing? And what about shareholders. Do they want an openness to diversity? What about the risk of poorly communicating a corporate issue which could adversely affect the stock? As marches, protests, demonstrations continue will it be as easy to recognize ‘good’ leftists and ‘good ‘rightists from bad ones? A communications plan, these days, should include regular conversations between communications, senior execs and key operations people to set and discuss internal and external strategies.

WHAT YOU SAY ISN’T AS IMPORTANT AS YOU THINK—Communicators who really don’t understand presentations believe a lot of facts plus acronyms plus slides = success. Actually it equals tune-out. Most of what is memorable in a presentation has nothing to do with 1+1=2. It has to do with the perception of likeability, the ability to use stories and examples to make points and a genuine effort to connect with the audience at the outset and reconnect at the close. Most audiences won’t remember 80-90% of what you said 15 minutes after you’ve finished. But they will remember stories and examples that appeal to them and whether they liked you or not.

FORMER TRUMP COMMO BOSS DIDN’T UNDERSTAND ‘OFF THE RECORD’—Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House Commo Director, did an on-the-job interview with a reporter from a New York magazine. The Mooch now candidly admits that he said some things that could have been misconstrued and eventually led to his being booted out of his job. But the AMAZING part is that The Mooch thought his Q+A with the reporter was off the record. Why did he think that? He admitted later that he didn’t ask the scribe for the interview ground rules. Unless you know how to ‘play the game’ you NEVER go off the record unless you want to see it, read it or hear it.

GOLF GURUS MISS A TAP-IN PUTT WHICH MAY BE PAR FOR THE COURSE—Before the 2017 US Women’s Open golf tournament was played at Trump National in New Jersey, four USGA big shots (2 women and 2 men) held a news conference to herald the event. Soft-ball questions until one reporter asked “Does the USGA (United States Golf Assn.) have a position on sexual assault?”
S I L E N C E then a response. “We’re here to talk about golf competition but would be happy to talk about it (sexual assault) afterward.” A truly ‘lame’ answer to a compelling question. When holding Q-and-A, prepare for the four or five questions you hope you won’t get asked. The USGA sent out an e-mail 2 ½ hours later which said there was a long-standing policy on harassment. Too little..too late!

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