The perfect gift for the busy media star in your life.

Know someone on your Christmas list who will benefit from on-the-go media training? Then gift them a Clip Critique!

A Clip Critique is a review of a recent radio or TV interview that covers all the important points in your verbal, vocal, and visual (if applicable) delivery.

We’ll also include tips and tricks to achieve more polished talking points, interview prep techniques, and body language advice.

The best part?

This can all be done via email. After we receive a link to the interview, we will write up a critique and send it back. This process is simple, comprehensive, and it requires no in-person time for you or the recipient.

The best way to improve is feedback and practice, and we know you want the best for your loved ones. So, give the busy media star in your life the gift of a Clip Critique this holiday season.

The one gift everyone should have on their list

Speaking well in public is a gift, and one that you should consider giving this holiday season.

We’ve all been tasked to do it – a presentation at work, speaker introduction at an event, announcements in church, etc. And if you haven’t found yourself behind a mic and in front of a crowd, chances are you will soon.

Yet, it’s true that the average person fears public speaking more than spiders, shark bites, and even death. Just ask Jerry Seinfeld…

This doesn’t have to be true of you or your loved ones, so let us help!

With our combined decades of experience, we’ve helped policy analysts, elected officials, CEO’s, and those brand new to the task polish their public speaking skills so they are confident behind the mic.

Give the gift of communicating well by purchasing a one-on-one public speaking training. (Or forward this email to someone in charge of shopping for you this holiday season!)

Our public speaking training is catered to your level of experience and desire for improvement. From critiquing clips to on-the-spot training and feedback, our team will work to identify strengths and weaknesses as well as strategies to further polish your public speaking style.

How to avoid speculation

Much has been made about the timing of a big legislative victory for Republicans before the 2018 midterms. Will tax reform be that victory?

President Trump certainly hopes so – remember that one time he asked for a bill by Thanksgiving?

Because no one knows for sure what will happen or when, you’re left to speculate if asked about a timeline. But don’t give in!

Here’s how we recommend you respond. Hint: remain hopeful.

Q: “Will the GOP get tax reform done by the end of the year?”

A: “I can’t speculate on a timeline, but I am hopeful that Americans will finally get a tax break. <Insert talking point.>”

Wherever you take the conversation next, emphasize all the reasons you think tax reform should pass, not whether it will pass. And remain hopeful in your response. Tax reform is a good and necessary move, and we want to emphasize that message whenever we’re asked about it.

 

Road Rage

We’ll all encounter road rage this holiday season – some of us will cause it by “driving defensively,” and some of us will experience it thanks to the too-slow driver in the passing lane.

Regardless, here are a few tips to communicate effectively from the driver’s seat and avoid the fender bender that keeps on giving in the form of a higher deductible.

Eye Contact
Just like eye contact is key in an on-camera interview, it’s also a great way to guilt someone into letting you merge. And if you smile while making eye contact? Game over.

Once you’ve successfully merged, make sure to wave “thank you” to the driver who let you in.

Use that horn for good
Not all honks are created equal. If possible, communicate with a friendly honk. A light “excuse me” or “you’re about to hit my bumper” tap go a long way to de-escalate the situation.

Be self-aware
If you follow no other rules of the road this holiday season, please follow these two:

  1. The left lane is for passing ONLY. You will anger other drivers and impede the flow of traffic if you stubbornly choose to drive in this lane regardless of speed. Please drive on the right.
  2. If you anticipate needing to merge because your lane is ending, don’t drive all the way to the end of the lane and cut in front of those waiting in line. Abide by the zipper effect. Be kind, and get in line.

We wish you happy and safe travels!

TUESDAY TIP: How to talk tax reform

The Republican’s tax reform bill entered the markup process in the House Ways and Means Committee yesterday. Given that passage of this bill would lead to the largest change in the tax code since 1986, this is a BFD.

With every tax reform discussion, the talking points write themselves. The Left cries about a tax cut for the rich, while conservatives support the idea that more money in the hands of job creators leads to…more jobs.

This attempt is no different. The current proposal to lower the corporate tax rate from 35% (The highest in the developed world! Higher than France!) to 20% is significant, and has ignited the aforementioned class warfare discussion.

(FUN FACT: Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer were all too happy to champion a cut in the corporate tax rate a few short years ago.) 

So, how can you fight false rhetoric when advocating for corporate tax reform?

Don’t let the other side define the premise. They will always use words and phrases like: “big business,” “corporation,” and “the rich,” even if the majority of people who stand to benefit from the tax cut don’t fall into these categories. For those of us who own small businesses and know how to operate a calculator (like DMG!), we know that the “corporate” and/or “big business” labels don’t define us.

Words matter, so make sure you talk about “small businesses,” “start-ups,” or “family-owned companies” to paint an accurate picture of who will benefit from this tax cut.

Smiling’s my favorite!

Stand tall: check!
Good cell reception: check!
No background noise: check!
Smile: check…?

While it might be weird to add “smile” to your radio interview check list, it’s important that you maintain the same facial expressions you would for a TV interview. Even though radio isn’t the visual medium that TV is, using facial expressions changes the way your voice sounds and forces you to be more animated. It’s true that people can hear you smile even though they can’t see you smile.

So, next time you have a radio interview, or perhaps next time you’re on the phone with a family member, practice sounding more engaged. Stand up, smile, and look at yourself in the mirror to watch yourself engage with your invisible audience.

Trust us, you’ll sound more conversational if the audience can hear your emotions.

TUESDAY TIP: Don’t be like Phil Davison.

It’s one of our favorite political campaign speeches EVER. Not because it’s great, but because it’s so incredibly awful.

So while we suffer through the last two weeks of a few ho-hum campaigns (ahem, VA), we thought we’d remember more exciting times. Like the times of Phil Davison…

Phil Davison, a Republican running for Stark County Treasurer in Ohio, delivered this impassioned speech before a vote for nomination to the office. What starts out as a run-of-the-mill candidacy speech, quickly escalates to full out screaming. Perhaps even more entertaining than the sudden escalation of emotion and volume are the times his outbursts seem uncontrollable.

“AND A MASTER’S DEGREE IN COMMUNICATION.”

“I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR MY TONE TONIGHT.”

“THIS IS THE OPPORTUNITY WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR.”

While Phil offers us endless entertainment, there’s a fairly obvious lesson to be learned about emotion and volume when speaking in public or in your media interviews. Emotion is great. It connects you to your audience, makes you seem more approachable, and keeps people tuned in. However, when you turn your performance switch “on,” make sure slow and steady wins the race. Avoid the zero to 60 approach, unless you want to end up on CNN or the Washington Post’s “best political rants of all time” list.

Trump, Twitter, and You

Twitter has been the hallmark of Donald Trump’s communication style from the beginning of his presidential campaign until now. The likelihood that he’ll suddenly log off is laughable, especially as we’ve watched him receive overwhelming coverage for recent statements.

But as the Trump administration moves forward, his tweets will only increase in importance. (READ: midterm elections, relationship with North Korea, tax reform success, etc.)

If you haven’t fielded a question yet about his social media presence, you probably will…and soon.

So, how do you keep the conversation focused on your message instead of the world’s most famous Twitter account?

Here’s our suggestion for how to navigate:

Q: “What do you think about <insert latest tweet>?”

A: “I’ll let the TV pundits and communications experts hash out the effectiveness of his Twitter strategy, but when it comes to <insert talking point>.”

By focusing on the substance of the policy behind the tweet, you can sidestep the semantics for the most important thing: the issue. Don’t fall prey to arm-chair quarterbacking the tweet itself, focus on substance and you’ll make better use of your 30 seconds to clearly deliver your message.

Can’t take my eyes off of you

In honor of October baseball, we thought we’d take this opportunity to highlight a lesson Chicago Cubs’ catcher Taylor Davis can teach us about eye contact for TV.

While Davis was playing for the Iowa Cubs, the Triple-A affiliate for his current team, he made quite an impression on the camera…

If you’re doing TV interviews, Skype interviews, or Facebook Lives, you can learn a lesson from Davis.

Prolonged eye contact with a TV host or camera lens can seem really uncomfortable at first, because that’s not how we communicate in real life. But TV interviews aren’t real life and therefore play by a different set of rules – you have to maintain eye contact at all times to avoid looking distracted or disengaged.

Don’t be tempted to look away as you gather your thoughts; keep your eyes fixed on the camera or host.

TUESDAY TIP: Pocket Man

Last Tuesday, President Trump made his General Assembly appearance before the United Nations.

What most will remember is Trump’s designation of KJU as “Rocket Man.” An apt nickname for the North Korean despot who can’t quit launching missiles at the good guys. (For more about why DMG loved this nickname, click here.)

But something else happened that caught DMG’s eye: he wore a pocket square. This was the first time (in recent memory) that President Trump wore a pocket square when speaking in public.

The addition of the pocket square highlighted how Trump dressed for the event and the audience—something we encourage our clients to do as well.

Day-to-day, when talking to hardworking Americans, Trump doesn’t wear a pocket square because he wants to seem relatable: Most average Americans don’t wear pocket squares!

We also discourage our clients from wearing pocket squares for this same reason, especially if talking about minimum wage increases or “income inequality.”

But Trump was addressing world leaders, and the pocket square added a level of seriousness to his presentation.

Remember to do the same in your TV interviews. Follow Trump’s lead and dress for the audience.