Since he took office, President Trump has managed to sidestep the expectations typically placed on leaders in how they present themselves to the media. Though he may receive criticism from those who disagree with his policies, he has retained ardent supporters, while many CEOs are stepping down for infractions like a flubbed statement or a poorly-handled crisis response. Trump might be an anomaly in that fashion, but he also provides some valuable insights—both positive and negative—into how communicators and their senior leaders can deal with the media.
The political talk shows take a lot of criticism. In fact, they can be a great way for new PR pros to supplement their knowledge base. The major takeaway, argues veteran PR pro Arthur Solomon, is to learn how not to speak and write like the pundits who populate these shows.
While presenting the award for Video of the Year, Madonna took the opportunity to deliver a lengthy speech about how her career was inadvertently started by the late singer and undisputed Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, who died the Thursday prior. Reactions to the speech were overwhelmingly negative, with amateur and professional critics alike voicing their belief that Madonna disrespected Aretha by making the speech largely about Madonna, relegating Aretha’s influence to nothing but a footnote in Madonna’s story of her own rise to stardom.
A tenet of internal communications is that whatever you say internally eventually will leak externally. That dictum probably applies to nearly everything that happens in corporate America. Anything an executive says, writes or does is liable to be discovered, savvy PR pros would argue. But what about media training sessions? The Papa John’s case opens a can of worms.
Pity the media relations pro. Not only are attention spans vastly reduced, many media outlets have responded to this with vastly shorter stories. Instead of giving up, PR pros must understand their efforts to gain earned media may result in a media hit lasting a mere few seconds. Here are a few tips to help pitchers shape messages so they will thrive in the new, short media landscape.
Some of us—make that most of us—who’ve spoken at conferences and in boardrooms consider ourselves to be passable speakers at best. You can’t change your basic character and erase years of habits and phobias overnight, but you can create a mental toolkit that can slowly transform you from a tic-plagued live speaker into a true performer who’s always in sync with an audience.
The key to Mark Zuckerberg’s fine April 10 performance before a Senate committee on Capitol Hill, which resulted in his becoming billions richer when Wall Street approved of what it heard, is something so basic it often is glossed over in PR training courses. While Zuckerberg’s vast resources no doubt helped his preparation, any PR pro can avail herself/himself of many of the same tips and tactics his handlers used.
Anything said during, before or after an interview can appear in a story. In fact, anything said anywhere can end up being reported. Hope Hicks found out that even what you tell the House Committee on Intelligence behind closed doors can end up being reported.
“Honestly, I’m here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip,” gold medal winner Shaun White said in response to a reporter’s inconvenient question about a sexual harassment accusation that eventually was settled out of court. But reporters aren’t paid to stick to a star’s script, usually—the Olympic champion knows that now.
Spacey was accused of a forceful sexual advance by actor Anthony Rapp, who was 14 at the time. Halperin was accused by 12 women of sexual assault and harassment during his tenure as political director at ABC News. Their statements differ in some very important ways.