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.

Shout out to the Washington Examiner‘s Tim Carney for the quick turnaround:

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. 

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

(Bradley) Chelsea Manning & Emojis

Bradley Chelsea Manning is in the news again.

Not for leaking 750,000 classified military docs to WikiLeaks and being court-martialed, but for the awkward acceptance to and very quick dismissal from an esteemed Harvard fellowship.

Manning took to Twitter to voice disbelief and outrage with the help of 17,000 emojis.

Don’t get us wrong, DMG loves a well-timed emoji. As they become more mainstream, using emojis in your online message can be a great way to emphasize your statement.

But it’s a careful balance. The setting matters, and you’re doing it wrong if you use more emojis than words to communicate a serious message.

Manning’s over-use of emjois weakened the “I should be a Harvard fellow” message, and legitimized Harvard’s decision to revoke the fellowship.

A good rule of thumb for you and your online communication? When you use more emojis than words, you’re not communicating.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

TUESDAY TIP: How Not to Apologize

Hillary Clinton’s latest book drops today, but we’ve already been blessed with various audio samples and memes:

The content is no surprise – Hillary takes very little credit and passes most of the blame to Trump, Sanders, Comey, Putin, etc. IT’S NOT HER FAULT, ok?

Except most Americans believe she is to blame for certain things, like that pesky email server. So let’s take a minute to review Hillary’s un-apologies and suggest a better way forward. It’s a case study in what not to do.

Email Server

Hillary’s un-apology: “Mostly, I was furious at myself. It was a dumb mistake. But an even dumber ‘scandal.'”

So close, Hillary! So close. A better response would’ve been…

“Mostly, I was furious at myself. It was a dumb mistake, and I’m deeply sorry for my oversight. But I’m thankful for the lessons I’ve learned…”

Admit fault, total and complete fault, and focus on the future and what you’ve learned. You may think it’s a dumb scandal, but a lot of people disagree. Just apologize and move on.

“Deplorables”

Hillary’s un-apology: “I regret handing Trump a political gift with my ‘deplorables’ comment…[I’m sorry that people] misunderstood me to be criticizing all Trump voters.”

So, you’re not sorry for calling Trump supporters a nasty name. But rather, you’re sorry they misunderstood your intentions?

Help us, help you, Hillary. An actual apology sounds like:

“I regret calling Trump supporters deplorable. American voters are hard-working, well-intentioned people who contribute to this great nation. I’m thankful to live in a country where we can disagree on political issues, but still enjoy the freedom to do so.”

DO NOT alienate a segment of the voting population by calling them names. You may need their support in four years.

In case you ever have to make a public apology, here’s how we suggest you do it:

1. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. DO NOT follow Hillary Clinton’s lead.

2. Admit fault – total and complete – and promise to do better in the future.

People just want an apology. If you attempt to pass blame, it weakens your apology.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

TUESDAY TIP: Are you ready for some football??

As the NFL season kicks off on Thursday, we recommend you take a brief timeout from your fantasy draft to craft a few talking points. Why?

Thanks to ESPN’s commentator-gate, the increasing regularity of National Anthem protests, and Colin Kaepernick’s free agency, football is no longer a politics-free zone, which means you should anticipate a question or two in your media interviews. Are you ready?

Here’s this week’s likely question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

 

Q: “Do you think NFL athletes should be applauded for making a statement by kneeling for the National Anthem?”

B²: “I agree that these are important conversations to have. And while football players have the right to stand or kneel, I don’t think the football field is the most effective place to discuss these issues. <Insert talking point.>”

 

Wherever you take the conversation next, first acknowledge the importance of the conversation, but reiterate that kneeling in protest during the National Anthem might not be the most effective solution.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

TUESDAY TIP: Moderate like a pro

We outlined how to be a good panelist last week, so it only makes sense that we’d talk about how to be a good moderator this week. Because let’s be real – it takes both cooperative panelists AND an effective moderator to pull this off.

Moderators have a tough gig. It’s your responsibility to create smooth transitions between the audience welcome, panelist introductions, panelist presentations, and Q&A. You keep the trains running on time all while dodging the spotlight.

If you’re staring down the responsibility of “panel moderator” this conference season, keep in mind that not all heroes wear capes. Here’s our best advice on how to moderate like a pro:

 

1) Start with a hook. Think: Why is this topic relevant? And then open your monologue with a recent data point, example, or quote to illustrate why this topic is relevant.

2) Ask the panelists for a preferred bio. Website bios are often too long, so you need to figure out what highlights to read. As you choose the highlights, check with the panelists ahead of time to make sure they approve your edits. Also, if you have a personal connection to the person you’re introducing, or just read their book, or saw them speak, or watched them nail a media interview, mention it.

3) DO NOT let an audience member hijack the Q&A. Really, this is your one job. If you do nothing else, everyone in attendance will be grateful for your ability to prevent this from happening. Make it clear that you will only take questions (not comments!) and they better be brief. And if someone decides to break these very easy to follow rules, you have the power to interrupt them and restore order.

 

Keep these three points in mind and you’ll knock this opportunity out of the park. Here’s to a great conference season!

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

TUESDAY TIP: How to be a successful panelist

It’s (almost) the most wonderful time of the year: CONFERENCE SEASON!!

With only a few weeks to go until we travel to far-off places to network and learn things, let’s take a minute to address one of the trickier situations you may find yourself in.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been asked to speak on a panel.

Not as easy as it seems, right?

Panels involve a lot of moving pieces: you’re introduced, you present, you sit quietly while the other panelists present, and then you field questions from the audience.

Beyond your prepared remarks, there’s a lot to remember about who to look at and when, what to do with your hands when you’re not speaking, etc.

But we want you to survive (and thrive!), so we’ve laid a few ground rules:

 

1) Eyes. The rule is to look at whoever is speaking – fellow panelist, moderator, audience member. And if you are speaking, look at the audience.

2) Hands. Rest your hands on the table. Doing so will help you sit up tall and make it easier for you to take notes.

3) Voice. Even though you’ll have a microphone in front of you, it’s always a good idea to project your voice. The audience will be better able to hear you and you’ll seem very confident in your delivery.

 

A panel invite is an exciting opportunity. It means someone considers you an expert! So as you prepare to travel to a conference (or three) in the next few months, don’t forget about the visual aspect of your participation as well. How you look and move matters just as much as what you say.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

TUESDAY TIP: “Anything else you’d like to add?”

You prepped for your print or taped TV interview, nailed the sound bite in your first response, and handled the tough questions with ease.

 

 

Great job! But the interview isn’t over.

 

 

Just as the reporter/host is about to wrap up, they ask you one final question:

 

Q: “Anything else you’d like to add?”

 

Here’s what you DON’T do.

 

A: “No. I think that’s all.”

 

Most guests are just glad to field questions without making any mistakes, and are perfectly fine to let the interview end. But why play defense when you can play offense?

 

Here’s how you handle the, “Anything else you’d like to add?” question:

 

Q: “Anything else you’d like to add?”

 

A: “Yes. <Insert sound bite>.”

 

This is the media interview version of a mulligan.

Take this time to repeat your sound bite – the one thing you hope the producer chooses as your on-the-record-statement. By doing this, you increase the chances that the news package will include the most important information, and you want to take advantage of every opportunity to make sure that happens.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

3 things to consider (and avoid) before you go on live TV

Last week was a study in what happens when props fail, both in public presentations and media interviews.

Props can be a great addition to help make your point, but please proceed with caution. You risk more by using the prop than not, so here are three things to consider (and avoid) before you go on live TV:

1. Use spell check! This floor poster made us LOL.

Last week, Sen. Maria Cantwell (now referred to as “Sen. Cantspell”) was trying to make a point against the Republican health care bill, yet forgot to spell check her prop. #YouHadOneJob

2. Props should never make an appearance in media interviews, and Kellyanne Conway proved why. Though she was using her flash cards to clear up confusion about the Russia saga, it didn’t seem to have the intended effect.

(We’re confused. We don’t understand.)

But also, the signs were a distraction from her main message. Instead of listening to what she said, we tuned her out to watch as she awkwardly broke the frame to pull the signs into the shot. When you have to pull props into a live shot, you’re doing it wrong.

3. Don’t be the punchline. Beware of any potential for a screen shot to be made into a meme. We saw this happen to President Trump when he lifted up a copy of a just-signed executive order. The prop took on a life of its own, not only creating memes, but also a meme generator.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

TUESDAY TIP: Amazon Prime Day

In honor of Amazon Prime Day, a beloved national holiday, we thought we’d help fill your cart with everything you need for your next TV interview.

Our goal is to make sure you present your best self on camera, so we’ve compiled a list of the Top 6 products we recommend to make you shine (not literally) in your interviews.

You’ll thank us later…

1. Crest Whitestrips Supreme Professional Strength

2. Brush On Block Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Mineral Powder Sunscreen

3. Essie Nail Polish in Ballet Slippers

4. Batiste Dry Shampoo

5. Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor

6. MAC Studio Fix Pressed Powder

 

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

TUESDAY TIP: “Our pets’ heads are falling off!”

 

“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” – Chicken Little
“Our pets’ heads are falling off!” – Lloyd Christmas, Dumb and Dumber
“Hundreds of thousands of Americans will die in the streets!” – [Insert Name of Democratic Senator]

Maybe an understatement, but the Democrats don’t approve the Senate’s version of the health care bill and they’d like everyone to know it.

Fox & Friends highlighted a few of the best quotes this morning:

 

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I know this is a sensitive issue. I’m going to raise it. And that is that the horrible and unspeakable truth is that if this legislation were to pass, thousands of our fellow Americans every single year will die.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We do know that the — many more people, millions, hundreds of thousands of people will die if this bill passes.

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D-MN): One to 2,000 people will die if you cut 750,000 people from Medicaid. So that means you’re killing one to 2,000 — killing them.

 

Here’s the thing…they’re wrong…

Regardless if you think this policy is RINO (Repeal in Name Only) or the greatest health care bill EVER, the numbers just don’t add up. Hundreds of thousands of people won’t die if this bill passes, but we can’t expect reason to prevail just yet. So, how can you have a calm and thoughtful discussion in the meantime?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here’s this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

 

Q: “How can you support passage of a bill that guarantees millions will lose health coverage?”

B²: “Millions will lose heath coverage if we do nothing. That’s why we can’t just look at this bill as the only answer, but we also have to look to future reforms that can fix the system, lower cost, and improve quality of care for EVERYONE. We can get there by…”

 

 

Wherever you take the conversation next, use facts to your advantage. The Left will appeal to emotion, which means you have to respond with emotion as well. But then pivot to facts that highlight Obamacare’s failures and how this plan seeks to right those wrongs. You have facts on your side, use them.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.