On July 11, 2012, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke before an NAACP convention in Houston, the results of which have caused a media stir ever since. As could be expected, the NAACP audience gave Romney a lukewarm reception, but loudly booed him when he vowed to repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. There was an awkward silence from Romney as he was being booed, as if he were trying to think of a response, but couldn’t. Romney later said he expected this kind of reaction, yet he appeared to be unprepared for it at the time. Which begs the question: Can an organizational leader or spokesperson who is faced with a difficult situation during a speech or interview—internally with employees or with the media—be taught effective, improvisational retorts?
First Tactic to Use With a Hostile Audience: Acknowledge the Boos
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