Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Foot in Mouth Disease

Interesting post by The Wall Street Journal's Jeffrey Zaslow on slips of the tongue.

One of the most important media and communications tips I give to clients is to "know your story."  I picked this up from a former employer who understood the power of having key messages and sticking to them.  One of the most painful things to watch is an interview with someone who isn't clear on what he or she is saying.  "The worst thing you can do in an interview," my employer would say, "is to try out a new message in an interview setting."

So, what is one to do?  Practice!

Here's how I put it to clients:  Remember when you were dating someone you wanted to impress (perhaps your spouse) and you'd stand in front of the mirror and review what you were going to say?  This is the same thing, except I'm your mirror and I'll give you feedback.

So, today's take-aways?

1.  Think about your key messages.
2.  Practice saying your key messages.
3.  No matter what, don't ever "try out" new messaging in an interview situation.

As Zaslow points out: "If only more of us would follow the advice of 1950s-era humorist Sam Levenson. 'It's so simple to be wise,' he once said. 'Just think of something stupid to say and then don't say it.'"

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