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.

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

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.

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

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 these 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.

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

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.

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.