Archives for March 2016

Gracious diplomacy wins the day

There’s a lesson to be learned from Canada’s recent elections for a new prime minister.

Before his landslide win, Justin Trudeau graciously withstood the attack of the country’s conservative prime minister who portrayed him as “inexperienced. ” In his acceptance speech, Mr. Trudeau referred to his conservative colleagues across the aisle not as enemies but as neighbors and thanked the outgoing prime minister for a decade of service to the country,  offering praise for his devotion to Canada.

And the outgoing prime minister was also gracious in defeat.

“The people are never wrong. The disappointment is my responsibility and mine alone.”

Photo Courtesy

Photo Courtesy

Hopefully, America’s presidential candidates will take lessons from our neighbors to the North, who accepted both winning and losing with equally gracious diplomacy.

Author  Albert Payson Terhune put it this way:

“Win without boasting. Lose without excuse.”

Despite his legacy as the son of Canada’s beloved Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau from 1968 to 1979 and again from 1980 to 1984, Mr. Trudeau’s humble character and heartwarming humor have made him a crowd favorite—not only as a politician but as a human being.

He greeted Syrian refugees arriving in Canada with, “Welcome to your new home.”

When asked about his take on political division in the U.S. and the infamous border wall, Mr. Trudeau laughed,

“Every election…there are people who swear that if the candidate they don’t like gets elected, they’re moving to Canada! If that were the case, we’d have more people in Canada than the United States right now, instead of being one-tenth your size.”

“Fear is easy. Friendship? That takes work.” he continued. “But Canada and the United States have proven, time and time again, that finding common ground is worth the effort.

“I have tremendous confidence in the American people and look forward to working with whomever they choose to send to this White House later this year,” Mr. Trudeau concluded.

Diversity is not a dirty word

Repetition creates reputation. For Hilary Clinton, her repetition of awkward conversations about racial diversity has given her a less than positive reputation in the Black community. For a female presidential candidate, it is ironic how diversity is a troublesome topic for Mrs. Clinton.

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Photo Courtesy

In our Los Angeles media training, we teach clients to address a question as a topic (diversity) of conversation. And to have some planned-ahead messages for bridging.

During a 2016 campaign stop in Minnesota, a Black Lives Matter activist challenged Mrs. Clinton about the lack of racial diversity in the Democratic Party. In our mock media training, we might have crafted a response like:

“You’re right, help me bring more diversity to the White House with your vote for the first woman President in U.S. history.”

Instead, a not Ready for Prime Time Mrs. Clinton fired back by saying,

“You know what, Dear, we have different opinions … why don’t you go run for something, then?”


              “Respectfully, if that is your position, then I will talk only to white people about how we are going to deal with this very real problem.”

In the book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People (and isn’t that what someone who is running for office is trying to do?) Dale Carnegie writes,

“If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s good will.

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.

“I have come to the conclusion that there is only one way under high heaven to get the best of an argument— and that is to avoid it. Avoid it as you would avoid rattlesnakes and earthquakes.”

As a former First Lady, Secretary of State and current presidential candidate, Mrs. Clinton should be wise to the ways of the media by now. It’s often said that the camera doesn’t lie, nor does it blink. And its memory chip lasts forever.