Our guest blogger is Duncan Matheson, President and co-founder of BissettMatheson Communications in New Brunswick, Canada. Here’s what he has to share after reading our blog on media training and the vice presidential debate. This originally appeared at http://bissettmatheson.com/en/blog/
I mentioned in my last blog that I’m quite into the US election, and by extension, the debates. I must say that I was much more satisfied with the vice-presidential debate last night than I was with that awful performance by President Obama last week.
Joe Biden, I thought, did what Obama should have done – challenged his opponent at every opportunity, acted as on-the-spot fact checker when needed, reminded viewers of the 47% video, and generally came across as genuine and with solid messages, presented in a credible way.
But politics aside, there are lessons to be learned from both Biden’s and Ryan’s performances for anyone who ever needs to promote their business.
In his blog The Flip Side, Arizona communications consultant Keith Yaskin lists what he sees as these lessons. I think his assessment is bang on, so I’m pleased to share it here.
Those points complements of Scottsdale, Arizona communications consultant Keith Yaskin. It’s a good list.
But it wasn’t all good examples. When Biden pushed Ryan to identify specifically what loopholes his government would eliminate to afford the tax breaks he and Romney were promising, as has been the case throughout the whole campaign, Ryan dodged the question.
People see through that kind of thing. If you are a business owner, don’t do that. It will hurt your credibility.
Our guest blogger is Duncan Matheson, President and co-founder of BissettMatheson Communications in New Brunswick, Canada. Here’s what he has to share after reading our blog on media training and former President Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. This originally appeared at http://bissettmatheson.com/en/blog/
I like speeches. Before I started writing them, I spent 20 years covering them as a reporter, and while many were great, some were dogs but the majority was mediocre. And despite all those times I was bored out of my gourd wishing to god the speaker would shut up, and even mediocre ones can do that, somewhere along the line I developed a fascination with speeches and how they were constructed and delivered.
I read books on speeches, I deconstruct speeches, I listen to speeches in a pretty weird way – I watch for the cadence, the alliteration, the pacing, how the stories are woven together, the optimism, the hope, whether the speaker is grabbing and holding the audience, the emotional ups and downs, how the key messages are resonating, the tone, and I look for what the audience is probably walking away with. In short, I’m pretty geeky when it comes to speeches.
So last night, sitting back in the lazyboy watching Bill Clinton at the Democratic National Convention, I couldn’t help but marvel. I knew he was good, but I have never seen anybody deliver a speech with such mastery.
I am tempted to go on about why I found it so good but that would be redundant with so much that has already been written about it.
So instead, I want to offer a guest blog – not because I entirely agree with it because I don’t, but he does offer a good lesson that can be taken from Clinton’s speech. I will offer my take afterwards. Here then is Keith Yaskin, a media consultant in Scottsdale, Arizona:
Here’s my take. In this example, he’s absolutely right. Bill Clinton hit head-on the major criticisms of the Obama presidency, and he did it with a master’s stroke. In this case it was absolutely the right thing to do.
Such is not always the case. There is a downside to answering your critics. For one thing it can detract from your own agenda. For another it draws more attention to the criticism.
The better strategy is to objectively weigh the criticisms and decide whether there is more to be gained or lost by going there. If the criticism is the proverbial elephant in the room and it is the distraction, as was the case with Obama and how he handled the economy, then yes, you best deal with it.
But that’s not always the case.
Fox10 in Phoenix shoots a story with our client about his toothpaste collection from around the world.
To celebrate the holiday, Loren booked a room at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. She booked the room through the hotel and not Expedia because the hotel offered a $50 food and beverage credit. At least that was our understanding.
When Loren checked in, the front desk told her the $50 credit was only good for a two-night stay. We were staying one night. I checked our email confirmation and, in what I consider small print, I read the two-day requirement.
The woman who booked our room didn’t mention the two-day requirement.
I Tweeted: ”Woman who booked room at @fairmonthotels didn’t mention I needed to stay 2 nights for $50 F&B credit. I missed the fine print. Disappointed.”
Fairmont Hotels responded with its own Tweet. Impressive. They responded in two minutes. More impressive.
Fairmont Hotels responded: ”@keithyaskin Can you email us a bit more on the situation Keith? email@example.com Would like to help with this if possible.”
Then someone quoted my Tweet: “happened to me last yr! RT “@keithyaskin: @fairmonthotels didn’t mention needed to stay 2 nights for $50 F&B credit. Disappointed.””
While I composed an email to Fairmont Hotels, Loren called Fairmont Hotels from the room. The first person indicated to Loren she wasn’t the first guest affected by this situation. But a supervisor told Loren the hotel couldn’t remedy the situation because Loren booked the room through a AAA promotion. Loren was flabbergasted the supervisor couldn’t just offer her a $50 credit. The supervisor simply began to repeat how the AAA promotion prevented her from helping. The supervisor said she could fill out some paperwork, but the situation might not be resolved for a few days. Loren indicated she was ready to pack up her bags. After putting Loren on hold, the supervisor then offered to sign her up for the “Fairmont President’s Club” which would offer two $25 credits. The supervisor explained the “club” membership would take about 30 minutes to become active.
I Tweeted: ”Frustrating and confusing conversation with @fairmonthotels supervisor in trying to resolve dispute over $50 food and beverage credit.”
Someone later called back Loren, explained how someone entered the wrong “code” and that we would be receiving our original $50 credit.
I Tweeted: ”@fairmonthotels resolves dispute & gives us $50 food and beverage credit. Thank you.”
Fairmont Hotels later replied: ”@keithyaskin Email received, but it sounds like you’ve since resolved the situation on-site. ?”
Maybe my Tweets played no role in resolving this dispute. I’m happy Fairmont Hotels resolved it, although if I were the supervisor, I would have made the resolution less difficult to achieve. But even if we hadn’t solved this on-site, Twitter allowed me to check in publicly with someone at a much higher level.
That’s an option I didn’t have years ago. That’s an option businesses didn’t have to deal with years ago.
As we walked our dog Molly and darkness quickly settled in, a shadowy figure galloped toward us, its feet “clip clopping” against the cement. A dog, I figured, escaped from his leash. But as the shadow approached, the little light remaining revealed this was no happy-go-lucky pup on a joy run. This was a pig, none other than what we know as the modern javelina. It was too late to escape. We prepared for hand to hoof combat. But with seconds to spare, the javelina adjusted course, scurried across the street as if deciding he was in no mood to tangle. He or she disappeared into the desert and we returned home after yet another sidewalk adventure.
During our next walk, I armed myself with an aluminum cylinder, refusing to surrender Scottsdale’s sidewalks to disgruntled pigs. We also took a lesson from Will Smith’s character in the film “I Am Legend.” His character set an alarm on his wristwatch, notifying him night soon approached and reminding him to swiftly return home before zombies began to stroll the streets. I set a smart phone alarm, alerting us to start our walk earlier than before. This time, we encountered only a rabbit and large lizard. This time, the javelina did not disguise itself as a dog as part of a devious plan.
Shooting a speech more than an hour and 40 minutes long is a great leg exercise.