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Thursday, December 31 2009

The year 2009 was a year of interesting political soundbites.  What make this year different is the speed and ease with which sound bites can be captured, edited and sent virally through social media.  No longer do we have to wait for the main media outlets to provide their out takes of the year in review.  We can now search, embed and tweet so the viral network can enjoy....over and over again.  While much of the mainstream media still controlls what falls on the edit floor when they replay Sunday talkshow interviews we are still able to keep context through the blog-a-sphere anaylsis of the soundbites.

This year coming is an election year and for those politicians hoping to escape the year in review video clips, such as the one above, they can follow two simple rules....

1.  Avoid Sarcasm at all costs.  Sarcasm is the lowest form of humor. It is a two edged sword and the speaker must assume that it will be taken the wrong way. 

2.  Do not do or say anything that you would be ashamed of if it were brought to light.  Remember that the light of day is located in almost anyone's cell phone or video cameras that stretch throughout any block of any major city. Being your best should mean representing the best human values at all times. If you are engaged in actions or word that violate those values you should assume that truth will be revealed in time.

Just doing these two things can make the prospective candidate or professional politician a stellar personal brand.

Posted By: Charles Fellingham

Posted by: Podium Coach AT 12:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 30 2009

We have heard from President Obama several times over the past few days as he attempts to quiet the firestorm this incident has ignited. The greatest challenge he is currently facing is the appearance that his administration was caught unprepared by this incident and that they still do not have a strong grasp on the severity of the matter. He certainly was not assisted by the initial misstatement of his Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet  Napolitano.

President Obama must regain the public trust in his ability to manage our security at home. In this effort, the Podium Coaches, acknowledge that his latest speech is more effective in covering the basics, but he is still missing an essential element.  Trust is derived from  a combination of Empathy and Personal Credibility.  In demonstrating Personal Credibility, which tells our audience simply, "you can believe in me", he has succeeded by outlining the following:

         He has engaged Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Counter Terrorism and Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan.

         He explained what we currently know to be the facts of the situation and asked all agencies to continue to gather information.

         He explained he will not rest until all involved in this plot are discovered.

         He outlined all actions taken since the incident to secure air travel.

         He has ordered reviews of our Watch List System, Screening Policies, Technologies and Procedures.   

         He has asked National Security Teams to keep pressure on our enemies.



His presentation effectively showed Personal Credibility but it lacked the other essential element of trust building, which is Empathy. Where was the feeling, the emotion, the passion? This is more than a passing concern to the American public - this is frightful.  During this speech he did not connect with the emotion in his audience and because of this failing, he will need to do more.  Do you agree?

Posted By: Andre O'Brien


Posted by: Podium Coach AT 01:41 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, December 29 2009
The firestorm over Secretary Janet Napolitano's comments that occurred directly after the failed terrorism attempt on the Delta flight in Detroit was an example of the media's fast paced methods to create news driven by statements and opinions rather than analysis of the process.

We, the public, will never know the process that unfolded within the Department of Homeland Security following the event. We can assume that a process was followed to ensure security 'lock down'. There is also no doubt that there existed a breakdown in process prior to this event which allowed this terrorist to board this Delta flight. In any case,  we were confident that the media would be looking for any news story that could grab the attention of viewers waiting to hyperventilate during the typical "witch hunt" that follows such events.

Meet this weeks "media witch", Janet Napolitano, who's comment has become as large a story as the terrorist's path to jihad.

The Podium Coaches have some advice for public officials who fall into the media's emergency room.   One of Dale Carnegie's human relations principles is "when you have made a mistake, admit it quickly and emphatically.  This principle in application is the hallmark of any successful leader who wants to preserve their personal brand. 

Secretary Napolitano's comment could have been....

"Please allow me to clarify any confusion over the events and the process that was followed.  The terrorist was able to board this flight because the system did not function as intended.  And believe me, this failure will be addressed quickly and completely. The processes the Department followed after this event were textbook and effectively demonstrated our ability to lock down any intrusion into our terror defense net..."

Instead, Sec. Napolitano was defensive in trying to explain the way in which she felt her weekend comments were "...taken out of context."  To avoid being defensive, provide your prepared, clarifying comment at the front of the interview rather than wait for the host to press for it.

You will be scrutinized by your opponents anyway,  so take some blame for the confusion and move on.  This will take energy away from the situation that much sooner and allow you to explain your corrective actions more completely.
Posted by: Podium Coaches AT 11:15 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, December 27 2009
Mistakes abounded in the last decade as the private banking industry, enabled by the government, did what it usually does,  lent money at a profit to citizens who were driven to ride the real estate value wave.  Private citizens were witnesses to the growing bubble as we all saw real estate values in California and elsewhere continue to rise about the level that most working American could afford.  Did you not say to yourself at any time in the last 5 years, " much higher can real estate prices go?"  Could we not all predict this outcome at some point? It is a given that many average Americans hold most of their net worth in their home and some used their mortgages as an ATM to fuel spending beyond their means. We were all witnesses or victims to excesses of the last decade.

So where does this go now?  Well, Government stimulus is channeled to the banks to underwrite the bad paper and free currency to promote business growth and create jobs to get capital flowing again. The capital flows to citizens who are now saving more.  Their savings go back to the banks that are reluctant to lend to risky ventures.  As well,  the federal government is promoting banks to loan to the government with low interest rates to cover the growing deficits. This is making less capital available for the private sector to grow.

Many economists are not optimistic about the 2nd half of 2010 where another downturn is expected.  As the stimulus money runs out so does the modest economic expansion that we are experiencing now. Congress will begin discussions about a second stimulus in 2010 but don't expect this to be called a "Stimulus". That would be unpopular in an election year. As government continues to grow unabated, watch the energy of a populous revolt take shape and carry into the congressional elections.
Posted by: Charles Fellingham AT 03:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
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