As I blogged a few weeks ago, I love this quote by Mark Twain: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”
In our media training workshops we teach participants that an interesting, relevant quote can make one of their messages more attractive to a reporter and more likely they'll include it in their story.
We use Twain’s quote as an example and always challenge workshop participants to let us know if they find a way to use it in an interview.
No one ever has. Until now.
The Honest Company co-founder Christopher Gavigan suggests the answer is yes – in an interesting interview by Jeff Haden on Inc.com today.
For manufacturers like his company, Gavigan says embracing sustainability is rapidly becoming “the cost of entry.” Specifically, Gavigan:
If you missed the 23-year-old’s recent news conference, go take a look at it. It should be must-see for anyone who wants to get crisis communications right.
An interesting take from Peppercomm’s Steve Cody on Beyonce’s handling of the recent flap over lip-synching the national anthem at the president’s inauguration a couple weeks ago.
In case you missed it, at her news conference the Friday before her Super Bowl halftime performance Beyonce began by singing the Star Spangled Banner – which, according to Cody, “put to rest any lingering image and reputation damage suffered” when the world learned she had only pretended to sing live at the inauguration.
I love my cat, Miss Marple. But I also love this Mark Twain quote: “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”
It’s unclear what Twain believed someone might learn in this bizarre and presumably cruel manner, but this much is sure: using someone else’s colorful quote in a presentation is certainly one way to draw an audience’s attention to the point you’re trying to make.
During our presentation skills coaching workshops, I usually challenge participants to find a way to do that with Twain’s cat quote, but so far no one has risen to the challenge.
The next time the unexpected happens and news reporters come calling, let The Three Bears help you make sure you haven’t picked the wrong person to speak on behalf of your organization.
After all, you can have a great crisis plan, execute it flawlessly and still blow it because you put the wrong person in front of the cameras. (Remember BP CEO Tony Hayward’s remarks after the Gulf oil spill?)
Lately, I’ve become hooked on Grammar Girl, the moniker of Mignon Fogarty who blogs and podcasts about the rules of English usage. I find her tips helpful, interesting and often funny. And the podcasts are typically in the eight to twelve minute range, so I can usually catch up on four of five on my morning walks with Duffy, our Scottish Terror.
During a recent media training workshop, a participant asked a question that we hear often: “What do I do if a reporter is interviewing me and I can tell from their questions that they already have a preconceived notion of how the story is going to turn out?”
Implied in the question, of course, is the assumption that a reporter who points an interview in a particular direction has evil intentions, but that’s almost never the case.
One of the participant’s presentations was overloaded with facts supporting the messages he was trying to communicate – overloaded to the point that it was hard to follow.
Afterwards, I asked him why so much info? His explanation: “I felt like the speech should be about eight minutes long, so I padded it with extra information.”
Their ideas are top of mind when we conduct executive communications coaching sessions because that’s often what the business leaders, physicians, engineers and other intelligent leaders we work with are trying to do: Spark change.