Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Phrase to Use When You Can't Talk

If you've attended one of my Crisis Communications seminars, you know that to say "No comment" annoys reporters and makes you look evasive. In that seminar and in my new book, Be A Newsmaker, I give you phrases that help you be non-commital without saying the words, "no comment."

Here's a new phrase from NBC's David Gregory: "I'd love to help you out. I'm not going there." This was in response to a question about the network's late-night host (Leno vs. Conan) situation. This phrase will work for you, too. Say it with a pleasant face and repeat as many times as necessary.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Handling Clueless Callers on a Live Show

Recently, on my talk show, a fun guest, Joel Zeff, was giving books away to listeners who would call in with a question about his topic. A first-time caller got through and asked about Randy Alcorn's Heaven book. I thought the caller was asking a question about it, so I said that it was considered the definitive book on Heaven, but did he have a question about the workplace for Joel? Then the caller had the audacity to ask about yet another unrelated book! I think he thought if he brought up every title on his wish list, we might mail him one!

Joel took it and ran with it. His experstise is improvisational humor, and boy, did he have fun with the caller not wanting his book.

In nearly four years of live radio and TV, I experienced more than a few callers that I couldn't connect with, but most were gracious, smart and generous.

If you, as a guest on a live show, encounter a caller whose comment doesn't seem appropriate or on topic, use humor if you can. If you're blank, give the host a "I need help" look, and let him or her take over. That's what they're paid for.

For instance, we had a weekly guest, a finanical coach named Parkey Thompson, and on one of his first appearances, a woman called and asked about laxatives. We all laughed uncomfortably, and then realized the caller had really meant her question for our previous guest, our health and wellness guru, King Hoover. So, it was easy to tell her to contact King by email or call back next week, but for now, we were taking money questions.

You know what? This miscommunication happens in real life, with everyday conversations. So if you want practice for live broadcasts, try talking to all ages of people with different backgrounds. As one broadcasting professor taught, "Talk and write for the five-year-old and 95-year-old. Make sure everyone understands you."

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Way to Get Ahead in the New Year

If you're in the Atlanta-North Georgia area, please keep reading...

Have you always wanted to speak better or represent your organization better? If so, I can help. For the first time, I’m teaching classes open to the public. Please take a look at the courses and see if any are a good fit for you or friends you know.

If you have questions about the class content, ask me. They will be held at The Etiquette School in Cumming. Space is limited, so please register soon. To see costs and enroll, click here.


Speak to Success—Basic Presentation Skills—This is hands-on, interactive and fun. I guarantee you will leave a better, more confident speaker. Each participant will leave with a DVD of his or her speeches and feedback. The class runs every Tuesday night from 6-8 pm.

Basic Video Production—My award-winning, film-making husband is going to help teach this one. Never again be disappointed in your home movies. You will learn behind-the-scenes secrets for making your videos and YouTube posts look more professional. Offered Saturday, January 9 from 1-4 pm.

Be a Spokesperson—Do you represent your business or non-profit organization to the media or in public presentations? Learn how to sound smart and look your best on TV. We will also talk about how to get media coverage. This class will run from 6-7 pm on Thursdays, January 21 and 28.

Conversation Etiquette—Are you gracious and encouraging? Does your speech reflect who you really are, or do you come off sounding like a jerk sometimes? Are you ever at a loss for words? Do you wish you had a phrase for the person who ticks you off? If you are nodding your head, this class is for you! It will be held from 7-8 pm Thursdays, January 21 and 28.

Marketing on a Shoestring—This one-evening session will be jam-packed with no-cost and low-cost ways to make big bucks without spending dramatic dollars. It’s ideal for small business owners, non-profit leaders and anyone who needs to get the word out about a good cause. Attend January 25 from 6-8 pm.

Thank you for considering enrolling and thanks for passing along to others who may benefit from these practial classes! You will leave with resource material and great ideas to improve your communication skills. If you're still reading and don't live in the Atlanta area, contact me to bring these courses to your neck of the woods!