What We Can Learn From Hulk Hogan

After four days of RNC Convention speeches, one thing is true—professional wrestling has produced some of the most dynamic speakers in the country. Hulk Hogan gave one of the more memorable speeches of the evening, and not just because he ripped his clothes off to reveal a Trump/Vance ’24 t-shirt underneath. (DMG does not recommend the average person mimic The Hulk and tear their clothes off on stage, but we now can’t say it’s not ever a good move…)

With so much content from four RNC convention days and a news cycle that feels like whiplash, DMG is focused on the two main speakers—Trump and Vance—to help you in your upcoming communication scenarios.

Here are the takeaways from their headliner speeches that you can implement:

#1 — Know and Respect the Audience. Donald Trump’s speech clocked in at 93 minutes. If you scrolled X (formerly known as Twitter), the majority opinion was that he spoke for too long. While the former President is known to give lengthy speeches at rallies, he was speaking to a different audience. He was trying to connect not just with the people in the room, but his real audience at home — the American voter. Depending on your time zone, he made some choose between watching his speech or getting enough sleep. Pro Tip: Don’t mess with peoples’ sleep. No one can achieve the American Dream without it. The main takeaway is respect people, especially their time.

#2 — Craft a Speech With a Story Arc. The big announcement of the week was the VP selection of Senator J.D. Vance. For many Americans, his speech was the first time they had heard him speak. The stakes were high. And though he had good moments, including talking about his Mamaw, the copy of the speech and the way it was delivered was clunky. It went back-and-forth from family story to policy to family story to policy. This left Vance switching from a serious tone to a lighthearted tone, and he didn’t do it with ease. Do yourself a favor and realize that storytelling should have an arc. He should have started with some family stories, focused on policy for the body of his speech, and then come back to family at the end to neatly tie it up. This would have helped his delivery as well and made the best parts of his speech at the beginning and the end, which is when the audience is most likely to listen. Think about your speech as a whole…the best speech writers do.

#3 — Match the Tone to the Moment. If you looked at headlines today, you’d see a theme–“The Softer Side of Trump.” The speech he delivered last night had a different tone than the “FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT” we heard right after surviving an assassination attempt. His raised fist and rallying cry beautifully matched the horror of the moment and displayed unbelievable courage. His softer delivery last night, his inclusive wording that he wants to be the President for ALL Americans, was punctuated by a slower pace and a quieter voice. It was measured, and it was a delivery that people who are undecided about Trump could attach themselves to. His style has been a hurdle for some Americans, and last night he gave them a reason to say, “Okay, I can jive with that.” Remember, when trying to persuade an audience, you have to be someone they can align themselves with. Tone matters.

How to Succeed in Your Own Big Boy or Big Girl Press Conference

It’s clear President Biden intends to stay in the race, and last night’s press conference only cements the debacle Democrats find themselves in—he’s staying, but he’s still not great. They needed Biden to be as bad as the debate—a low bar—but even after misspeaking and referring to Trump as his VP and the many “anyways” when he lost his train of thought, Biden did just enough.

Here are the areas he improved in that made a difference:

#1 — He kept his mouth closed. He kept his mouth closed while listening to questions. A big problem for Biden in the debate was his gaping mouth while listening to Trump speak. When listening to a question, always keep your mouth closed and in a pleasant resting position. Eliminate the frown or the happy grin. Lips together and a subtle smile is the goal.

#2 — He projected his voice. While he coughed throughout and occasionally bounced between a whisper and a yell, he projected his voice. A louder delivery helped break through the weakness he demonstrated in the debate. Projecting your voice is the easiest way to sound confident. As a reminder, your vocals and visuals are tied together, and your facial expressions will mirror your vocal projection. So, if you can give a strong vocal delivery, you’ll have a more engaging visual delivery.

#3 — His visuals were great. His makeup was on point, and the lighting was great. No matter how superficial you think makeup and lighting are, they may determine whether you look rested and/or healthy versus tired and sick. His team took the extra time, and it helped. Powder is a must to eliminate shine. Even if you’re working from home, never underestimate the power of good lighting for your virtual meetings and media interviews. We recommend placing two of these behind your computer.

Dropping F-Bombs to Stop Bombs

Up until this past weekend, the biggest headline U.S. Congressman Jamaal Bowman could claim had to do with his fire alarm stunt. But on Saturday, at a rally with AOC in the Bronx, he gave us something new to talk about.

Bowman dropped multiple f-bombs, he yelled, he danced, he slammed a stool, and he capped it off with an unnecessary rain-drenched speech to the press. An interesting campaign strategy indeed.

While DMG is pro-rally, there is a right way and a wrong way to excite a crowd. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to consider the next time you find yourself standing in Jamaal Bowman’s shoes:

#1 — Be Professional. Whether it’s the clothing you wear, the tone you use, or the words you say, all of it must match the setting and the office you hold. It’s appropriate to wear casual clothes at an outdoor event in your district, but that doesn’t mean your language can be so casual to offend. Casual doesn’t mean inappropriate.

#2 — Control Your Body Language. Rep. Bowman now has a primary challenger largely because moderate Democrats disagree with his stance on the conflict in Gaza. It didn’t help his case to call for a ceasefire while yelling and pounding a stool on stage. Using aggressive body language to denounce military action is…confusing. You can be passionate about a position while keeping your body in control. Otherwise, you risk looking like you’re throwing a tantrum.

#3 — Don’t Fake “In the Trenches.” Rep. Bowman didn’t need to speak to the press in the pouring rain with a perfectly good canopy close by. It didn’t stir up any sympathy, and it only left everyone confused. It was forced and inauthentic. A good rule of thumb to follow is that you only stand in the rain if the press is standing in the rain with you.

Don’t try to be cool…unless you are.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer cooked up quite a media storm when he posted a photo on Father’s Day proudly displaying his culinary skills…or lack thereof.

Any person with some knowledge of cooking knows you prepare the meat before you add the cheese.

He’s not the only politician who has proven that “fake it till you make it” can be a trap. From Elizabeth Warren drinking a beer to Hillary Clinton trying on a Southern accent, even the well-seasoned can go viral for the wrong reasons.

As we know, election season brings out some of the worst fake/forced posts. Here’s how to prevent it from happening to you:

#1 — Don’t try to be cool…unless you are. People are smart enough to sniff out whether or not you’re as cool as you’re pretending to be. No one will ask you why you didn’t drink a beer, or grill, or talk in a new way. But they may ask, “What in the world?!?!” if you do.

#2 — Have a team that’s willing to say no. How Chuck Schumer’s team didn’t catch this I’ll never know. But if you’re running for office or you’re working for someone who is, have a policy that includes a gatekeeper. Another pair of eyes can help catch the ill-advised post and save you in the long run.

#3 — Be you. Authenticity matters. Sharing personal anecdotes alongside professional posts helps to build out your brand. But if you’re a geek, it’s okay. People probably know. So if, on Father’s Day, your post shows you playing chess with your kids, that’s great! It’s you. People will believe it. And it’s better you win or lose as your authentic self.

When a bird lands on your head…

Interviews feel like, and often are, high-stakes situations. You’re not certain what questions you’ll be asked; you worry you’ll stumble or not know how to respond (or worse, say something that ends your career); you hope your hair and wardrobe look polished; and, fingers crossed, your WIFI stays strong.

DMG can help you work through these reasonable concerns so that you nail the interview. But even with all the prep in the world, sometimes unforeseen things happen.

Take, for instance, NewsNation’s Kellie Meyer, who had a bird land on her head moments before a live shot.

Whether a bird lands on your head, your child walks into the background of your interview, technical difficulties arise, or the many other things outside of your control, here are a few tips to help you keep your cool and move forward:

#1 — Don’t stop.
Unless a producer is telling you to stop, move forward with the interview. It’s possible that what feels like a big deal to you may not have been seen or heard by the audience. Better not to bring attention to it if you’re not sure what aired.

#2 — Laugh about it.
If a bird lands on your head, or a family member doesn’t realize you’re live and walks through your shot, it’s fine to make light of the situation through casual chit-chat with the host. But get back on topic as quickly as possible. What you don’t want to do is move your child out of the background as if the audience can’t see you doing so. They can. So, deal with it quickly and move on.

#3 — Keep your composure.
Whether the audience can see the chaos or not, the unexpected can throw you off your game. This is when you have to keep your composure and remind yourself to do what you know works in a live interview—sit tall, look at the camera, project your voice, stay on message, etc. It takes mental discipline to keep going, but typically, people will applaud your ability to move forward, and then, like Kellie Meyer, you get some bonus social media attention.

How to not be Dick Morris

If you haven’t seen the news by now, Dick Morris’s recent Newsmax interview was interrupted by a man wearing only boxer shorts and an undershirt. It’s clear the man didn’t know Dick was doing a live interview at the time, and neither party acknowledged the surprise appearance when it happened.

So, how do you avoid the same fate? Here are a couple tips to ensure something like this never happens to you. These tips may seem basic, but they can save you from going viral for the wrong reasons.

#1 — Let everyone in your house know you’re recording.
Clearly communicating when and where in the house your live interview will be happening is paramount. You should ask everyone who will be in the house while you’re recording to remain quiet and still until you let them know it’s all clear. This means no vacuuming, house repairs, or talking on the phone.

#2 — Plug into your Wi-Fi.
You should also request that everyone not use the Wi-Fi until the interview is finished so that you have a strong signal. BUT, to ensure the best connection and no tech interruptions, a great option is to plug into your Wi-Fi. You can even purchase a 100-foot ethernet cable and attach it to your computer wherever you go live.

New Year, New Studio

Happy New Year! 2024 is the perfect time to finally set up that home studio you’ve had on your to-do list. To help you do so, here are the top three equipment recommendations we regularly send to clients. This small investment makes a big difference to how you look and sound.

#1 — Lights
Make sure you order two. Place both behind your computer screen — one on the right and one on the left — to illuminate your face.

#2 — Microphone (and Microphone Adapters)
We recommend this microphone. But depending on whether you have a Mac or PC, you’ll need an adapter for each. You can find the Mac adapter here, and you can find the PC adapter here.

#3 — IFB
This is the IFB you’ll want to purchase. You don’t technically need an IFB, but a producer will often ask you to wear headphones. We’ve found that an IFB provides better assurance as Airpods can lose power in the middle of an interview.

Dress for the Job You Have

Given the recent news about a relaxed dress code for Senators on the Senate floor, we at DMG thought it might be helpful to offer a counterpoint — why dressing for success matters.

#1 — It helps YOU, by boosting your confidence.

You can’t help but feel good about yourself and your abilities when you choose to wear nice clothes that fit you well. Whether speaking in front of an audience or in front of a camera, feeling confident in what you’re wearing produces better results. When you feel capable and confident, you succeed.

#2 — It helps your AUDIENCE, by building respect. 

People judge you instantly. It’s human nature, and we can’t help it. We can call it superficial, but when someone appears to put effort into their daily activities (including how they present themselves in certain situations), there is a level of respect they earn from those around them.

We’re not anti-casual clothes. With a full-time WFH staff, we value our hoodies too. Our advice is to keep things casual when appropriate but dress for success in a professional setting to build your confidence and earn respect.

“No comment.”

There are very few times when we recommend you respond to a reporter’s question with “no comment.” But it’s especially poor form when you’re the President of the United States and your citizens are experiencing a total loss of life and livelihood.

Instead of “no comment,” here are a few compassionate ways to respond to a tragedy without getting ahead of the story:  

#1 — Demonstrate empathy. When people are suffering, it’s important to show that you care. If you’re a person of faith who wants to pray for the injured or those who have lost loved ones, offer your prayers. If you’re not a person of faith, you can always say you’re “heartbroken over the news and tragic loss of life.” Whatever your background is, the key is to demonstrate empathy in an authentic way.

#2 — Timing matters. Every tragedy is different, but choosing the right time to talk about solutions and how you’ll work to prevent it from happening again is important. If it’s a natural disaster and there is an ongoing recovery effort, make it clear that you will discuss future preventative measures once everyone who needs help has been helped. In other situations—like 9/11—it’s necessary to communicate that those responsible will be held accountable immediately.

#3 — Show up. The best way to show you care is by showing up. For President Biden, that means traveling to Hawaii to meet with state and local officials as well as the residents who lost loved ones, their homes, and/or their livelihoods. Showing you care always trumps saying you care.

Should I start with a joke?

When we help clients prepare for a big speech, we often get asked whether it’s a good idea to start with a joke. The client wants to capture the audience’s attention, maybe put himself/herself at ease, appear likable from the start, etc. But we often encourage clients to let go of the joke. From our experience, it’s not the best way to start a speech.

Instead, here’s how we recommend you tee up your remarks:

#1 — You do want to capture the audience’s attention from the start.
Talk about them before you talk about you. You can create common ground by sharing a recent story, data point, quote, or viral tweet. If you can start your speech with something the audience cares about and knows about, they will actively listen to you for a longer period of time.

#2 — But be careful that you don’t share a moment that is *too* personal.
Last week, Congresswoman Nancy Mace demonstrated what not to do when she tried to talk about her sex life in the introduction to her prayer breakfast remarks. Be appropriate and avoid sharing too much information. Also, if you’re going to share a story, make sure it’s a real story that happened to you. The audience will be able to tell if you’re making it up and/or trying to apply someone else’s story to your life.

***We don’t always say “no” to jokes. Jokes can work under certain circumstances. If you start with a joke but fail to deliver the punchline, you risk losing the audience before you start your speech. For a joke to work, two important things have to be true: 1) that you are funny and 2) that the joke you’re going to tell is funny. If you’re set on telling a joke, make sure you run it by your own personal focus group first to make sure it lands.