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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

B²: Energy + the Environment

On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order to open up U.S. energy resources by removing a ban on off-shore drilling in several key locations. Then, on Saturday, Washington D.C. watched another environmental/climate protest take over the city.

With the environment in the news this week, to say it’s a “hot” button issue is an understatement.

But how do you come out on top in your interviews? Or have an intelligent conversation with someone who believes your science isn’t the same as their science?

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: “Do you think Trump’s Executive Order to allow for more drilling will hurt the environment?”

B²: “Not at all. In fact, it would be both environmentally and economically irresponsible to fail to steward all the resources we have here in the U.S. <Insert talking point>.”

The talking point you pivot to can highlight job creation, economic growth, national security—relying on hostile governments for energy, as well as the environment. Wherever you take the conversation next, emphasize that an all-of-the-above energy strategy will help us better steward our environment for this and future generations.

B²: Government Shutdown

Friday’s the day!

The day when, if no deal is struck to keep the government open, government employees will find out just how “non-essential” many of them are.

Because talk of the government shutdown will occupy nearly every media outlet until Friday, palace intrigue, negotiation updates, and whip counts will rule the news cycle.

How do you answer a question in your interviews about a government shutdown without getting into the weeds of on-again off-again deals that might never pan out?

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: “Do you think the government will shut down?”

B²: “We’ll know on Thursday whether or not Congress can find agreement, but regardless, we can’t keep putting a Band-Aid on the major problem of SPENDING TOO MUCH. We’ve been here before and we’ll be here again unless we <insert talking point on spending>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, keep the emphasis on spending and the need to curb it. The key is to get your main message out—hopefully one of limited government and less spending—while fighting back the false narrative that special interest programs must be added into the bill at the eleventh hour to make it “passable.”

B²: Tax Day

Tax Day is the worst.

It stands as a reminder of how much money we’ve given the government in the last 365 days (interest free!) thanks to a complicated code no one understands.

And yet, our debt is hovering dangerously close to $20 trillion. TWENTY TRILLION DOLLARS.

Everyone knows tax reform needs to happen, but the debate remains over when and how. As Capitol Hill prepares to have this tough conversation, the media is ready and waiting to ask you about it. Do you know how to talk taxes and tax reform?

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: “You keep talking about cutting taxes, but we’re $20 trillion in debt. Shouldn’t we raise taxes on the wealthy in order to pay off our debt?”

(Option #1) B²: “Rather than asking Americans to pay more, Congress should be asking themselves how they can spend less. <Insert talking point>.”

(Option #2) B²: “Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. <Insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, remember that it’s important to define the problem in order to fix it; let’s not get lost in the wonky weeds. Focus the conversation on spending and throw out a couple examples of absurd expenditures to prove your point. Most people will agree that simplification and transparency must be upheld as goals one and two in the tax reform process…

B²: “That’s a clown question, bro.”

America’s favorite pastime is back! (Non-sports fans, we mean baseball). And for DMG, it’s back with conflicting expectations – DMG is a house divided: we’ve got Giants, Indians, and Nats fans.

In honor of the Nats’ Opening Day (and first win!), we thought we would pay homage to one of our favorite post-game interviews.

Cue Bryce Harper and the “clown question.”

Unless you’re a sports phenom, hitting 42 home runs and driving in 99 RBIs a season, we recommend you take a different approach. Try this strategy instead:

Q: <Insert “clown question”>?

B²: *Smile, smirk, or little laugh* <Insert talking point>.

If the ridiculousness of the question warrants a smile, smirk, or little laugh, then by all means do so. But don’t take the bait and respond to their question or call them out for asking a silly question.

Finding a way to subtly (and quickly!) acknowledge the absurdity is important, but then pivot to your talking points. You control your answers and, therefore, the story. Don’t let a silly question derail the narrative.

If you remain in control of your emotions and your message, you’ll hit your interview out of the park. (See what we did there?)