B²: Is it too late now to say sorry?

Repeat after us: “I’m sorry.”

Because the first 30 minutes of Sunday night’s debate focused only on the scandalous, it’s obvious that Trump, Clinton, and surrogates should reevaluate their crisis management strategies.

What doesn’t work? Dismissing the accusations, pivoting to another’s bad behavior to take the spotlight off your own, and/or lying. These strategies get you nowhere with undecided voters. With so many words and actions to apologize for between the two candidates, it seems like a lesson in how to say “I’m sorry” is applicable.

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

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

Q: “What do you have to say about <insert scandal>?”

B² (if you’re the accused): “I made a mistake and sincerely apologize to the American people. But I assure you I’ve learned from the mistakes in my past and will do everything I can to prove that as president my words and actions will represent all people in this country.”

B² (if you’re speaking on behalf of the accused): “Donald Trump* made a mistake and sincerely apologized to the American people. When he says he’s learned from his mistakes and will do everything he can to prove that he’ll represent all people as president, I believe him.”

*Can be replaced with “Hillary Clinton”

Wherever you take the conversation next, make sure your statement includes an apology. If you made a mistake, admit it. Voters will forgive an indiscretion if you ask forgiveness rather than try to explain it away or cover it up. And if you’re speaking on behalf of someone who made a mistake, refer back to their apology. Just like the accused, you can’t dismiss (or make light of) the charges. It may not seem obvious in 2016, but honesty still counts for something.

B²: “Are you lying?”

When you hear “honesty,” “truth,” “transparency,” it’s doubtful you think of Hillary Clinton. Especially after that recent CBS interview.

Her less-than-great response to Scott Pelley’s truth-telling question played into the hands of the voters who desire honesty…and don’t believe Hillary is – 56% of respondents in a recent YouGov poll said they don’t believe Hillary is honest or trustworthy.

While DMG has strict standards of only working with people who do tell the truth, we understand that some issues are sensitive and can’t be fully discussed in the media. The need to remain confidential can lead to objectionable questions that are hard to navigate and easily put you in the position of making an uh-oh statement like, “I’m not lying.”

Do you know how to stick to your talking points, maintain confidentiality (if the situation demands it), and not be accused of lying?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

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

Q: “Are you lying?”

: “Not at all. I’m being straight with the American people because it’s of utmost importance that <insert talking point>…”

Wherever you take the conversation next, don’t start by saying what you aren’t. Start with declarative statements about your honesty/transparency and then B² to the talking point that you wish to deliver.

The lying “gotcha” question can trip up even the most seasoned candidate resulting in a social media frenzy. Don’t let it happen to you!