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.

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.

TUESDAY TIP: “The ceiling is the roof.”

The NBA Finals are done and basketball is over for the season, but we’re not ready to say goodbye just yet.

On this Tip Tuesday, let’s look to the G.O.A.T., Michael Jordan, as we consider what not to do in our media interviews.

During halftime of a high-stakes basketball game against Duke (the chief rival of his alma mater), Jordan told us “the ceiling is the roof.” Excuse me, what?

Jordan was attempting to highlight how bright the future is for UNC and its athletic program by stating “the ceiling is the roof.” To which we say A for effort, but no dice.

In response, social media blew up, jokes were made at MJ’s expense all over the Internet, and t-shirts with the phrase quickly went on sale.

What Jordan meant to say, nobody knows. Maybe it was “reach for the stars” or “the sky’s the limit.” Regardless, we’re going to use this as a teachable moment.

 

You should include examples and metaphors in your talking points, but only if you use them correctly. Otherwise, you risk launching a swag sale and meme competition. If your goal is to get your message out (as it should be), make sure you know what you’re talking about.

 

Mixed metaphors happen to the best of us, so here’s an exhaustive list to confirm you’re not throwing the bath out with the baby water.

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

TUESDAY TIP: A blueprint for hostile questions

Last week marked a stunning moment in America as we watched Sen. Bernie Sanders and other Senators repeatedly attack Russ Vought, the administration’s nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), not on his qualifications for the job but on his personal faith.

Irate that Vought stood by his Christian beliefs, Sanders concluded his line of questioning by stating: “I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone who is what this country is supposed to be about.”

Though he didn’t come out and say it, Sanders seemed to suggest one’s faith makes him or her unfit to serve public office. (Have you even read the Constitution?! Please see the First Amendment.)

The exchange between several U.S. Senators and a professing Christian was shocking, but there is good news. Vought gave us a blueprint for how to respond to hostile questions – faith-based or otherwise.

On this Tip Tuesday, let’s analyze Vought’s stellar performance:

 

He did two very important things: 1) he stated what he is, not what he’s not and 2) he never repeated accusations.

 

By only stating what he is and not repeating accusations, Vought successfully stood his ground and won the exchange. He wasn’t defensive, he was confident. And he won the sympathy of the viewing audience.

Now, go and do likewise.

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

B²: House Health Care Bill

Some things just go together and should never be separated – birthdays and cake, October and baseball, Beyoncé and Jay Z.

But a new pair has been making headlines in recent days: the House health care bill and pre-existing conditions.

Every single interview/article/social media post that addresses the AHCA, also addresses pre-existing conditions. This means you have no excuse for stumbling through an answer to a question that addresses both. You will be asked about pre-existing conditions in relation to health care, it’s only a matter of time.

So, let’s practice.

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: “What about people with pre-existing conditions? Will they lose coverage?”

B²: “No. Coverage for those with pre-existing conditions will remain, even after the Senate makes changes. But as we try to move forward and implement good health care policy, we have to consider not only those with pre-existing conditions, but also those who lost their doctors and plans, and experienced exorbitant price increases, under ObamaCare. <Insert talking point>.”

 

Wherever you take the conversation next, don’t shy away from the pre-existing conditions debate. This is a complicated issue that will take time to get right. While we wait for Capitol Hill to work it out, now’s the time to have conversations about what ObamaCare got wrong and how we can fix it so good health care policy prevails.

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