Archives for November 2014

Mexican Uprising

Not since British Petroleum’s CEO Tony Hayward muttered “I’d like my life back” after 11 workers lost their lives in a BP oil rig explosion has an aside caused such international outrage.

“Ya me canse” (I’ve had enough/I’m tired of this) complained Mexico’s attorney general as he abruptly ended a press conference in which he was repeatedly questioned about the alleged massacre of 43 freshmen from a local teacher’s college in the country.

Mexican flag with border

#yamecanse became the citizen’s rallying cry on social media as thousands of demonstrators took to the streets protesting Mexico’s drug culture of corruption and violence. Apprehended by local police, the students were apparently handed over to a drug gang to be executed and their bodies burned.

Further, Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto has also been criticized for how his administration handled the crisis. It took him 11 days to make a public comment after the students’ disappearance in late September and, by mid November, had yet to visit Guerrero state where the massacre took place.

The cooler, or perhaps more media trained voice of Mexico’s ambassador to the US, Eduardo Medina Mora told CNN that the alleged massacre will force the Mexican government to focus on developing strong policing institutions. “This was a wake-up call for all of us. This must not happen again.”

 

Hot Under the Collar

In this election year, should Governor Rick Scott have electrified his voter base with a seven-minute stand on a non-issue? And why?

Before an October debate in Fort Lauderdale, incumbent Florida Governor Scott created a media disaster by delaying his appearance for seven minutes due to a cooling fan placed beneath the podium of his opponent, former Republican turned-Democrat gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist.  According to CNN, Mr. Scott’s issue was that Mr. Crist’s cooling fan violated the debate rules against any electronics on stage. Within minutes of Governor Scott’s delayed appearance, Facebook and Twitter users were ridiculing Mr. Scott’s performance as a “#Fangate.”

Governor Rick Scott (courtesy of politico.com)

Governor Rick Scott (courtesy of politico.com)

As a public speaker, imagine yourself in the court of public opinion. Anything you say or do can be used against you.

In any war, it’s wise to pick your battles. Standing on principle for 7 minutes because of his opponent’s use of a fan at his feet, the governor seemed small-minded and petty.  Better for Mr. Scott to have used the situation to his advantage: “Unlike my opponent, I don’t need a fan to keep my cool in governing the great state of Florida.”

After finally renouncing his war on cooling devices, Governor Scott took the stage and was immediately asked, “Why the delay in coming out over a fan?”Apparently seven minutes wasn’t enough time to cool Governor Scott’s nerves. In what was described as nothing short of a nationally televised panic attack, his speech came out in fragmented sentences and jumbled words. The moral is: Stay focused on your message and deliver it with confidence. Those who have had proper media coaching know just how important it is to prevent small distractions from ruining the presentation, for both the audience and themselves .

"The Fearsome Fan" #Fangate (courtesy of CBS)

“The Fearsome Fan” #Fangate (courtesy of CBS)

At READY FOR MEDIA, we provide presentation skills training, backed by over 30 years of experience. As featured in CEO Anne Ready’s book Off the Cuff/What to Say at a Moment’s Notice, the C’s of Communication are a crucial part of successful presentation:

  1. Cogent: Defined by Webster as “forceful and to the point; compelling, and persuasive”—Instead of panicking, take a breath before you speak. Then, knowing what opinion you want changed or action you want taken, simply go for it!
  2. Convincing: Show respect for your audience with a logical presentation. Does it come to a reasonable conclusion? The most compelling speech is one that makes sense.
  3. Charistmatic: A special quality of leadership that captures the imagination and inspires trust.

Our Ready advice: In our modern age of multi-faceted media, nothing goes unnoticed. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and countless other social sites have become new mediums for communicating information faster than ever before. Those in the public eye are now being watched more closely, which gives Credibility to the need for the best media and presentation training possible.

Although losing this battle, Mr. Scott won the war on November 4 by the narrowest of margins, 48 to 47% to retain his governorship of Florida. Hopefully, he will stand and deliver more Confidently next time.