Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
In Other Words…An Ounce of Prevention
After a short break, it’s time to get back to looking at the dos and don’ts of communication in today’s public figures. We’ll be looking at Governor Romney today, so you know what to do with your red, blue and tea party hats.
I did my morning “check-in” on Facebook to see what people were up to, and I came across an interesting post. A Republican friend of mine wrote, “Really, Mitt? Are you really THIS bad of a politician? Boy, do I miss Jack Kemp!” I didn’t know what he was talking about so I asked. He simply replied, “Google, “Mitt Clarifies.” So, of course, I did. Wow. No fewer than 20 instances of the presidential candidate clarifying something he said in a previous speech or interview.
We don’t need to get into the politics of what was said, or what was clarified for that matter. For the purposes of helping you in your next speech or interview, we’ll focus on the fact that there are so few “do-overs” for us regular people in business or sports. Most of us don’t get to call a news conference to clarify a misstep, or explain something we said off the cuff, so everyone can hear what we really meant, or what our campaign advisors say we should mean. What we regular people get, is a few nasty looks and possibly some retaliation, punishment, or worse, we get ignored.
So today let’s focus on preventing the need for clarification. Before you step in front of any audience, live or recorded, here are some tips to remember:
- Practice, practice, practice: You can hear a potential misstep if you practice your speech or answers aloud to yourself, or an assistant. You can correct it before it’s live and on the record.
- Keep notes handy and try not to memorize. This will allow you to check your facts without sounding flat and robotic.
- Be sincere. Speak your platform, position, or point of view. If you speak from the heart and stand by what you believe, the audience can like it or leave it, and you don’t find yourself cleaning things up later. This requires that you’re “standing on concrete” however, and not going where the popular opinion wind takes you.
- Take your time. People who rush out of nervousness or excitement, usually confuse words, intent and emotion. If you need to trim your message so you can slow down, do it. Better to get it right the first time. You don’t want people googling your mistakes.
As you are putting together your meeting updates, progress reports, analysis findings, or overall opinions for your next audience, focus on being one and done. Get it right the first time, so you don’t have to work twice as long doing clean up later. Let people focus on your real message so you achieve maximum impact.
Good luck and may all of your communications be good ones!
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