Corporate Communicators Answered: What Do You Do When Leadership Listens to Lawyers more than the PR Team?

By Gerard Braud

This week we asked you for your best public relations practices, like we do every week on the BraudCast. We wanted corporate communicators and PR professionals to weigh in on the question, “If Your Leadership Team Listens to Corporate Lawyers More Than They Listen to the Public Relations Team How Do You Rectify That?” This follow-up video features what your colleagues shared on social media. Please share your comments and subscribe to the weekly question on the BraudCast YouTube Channel to participate next week.

Lawyers vs PR teams gerard braud BraudCast

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This question is one of a series of discussion questions about media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite size bits of best practices each week. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the Follow-up Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

BraudCast Question: Who should be your spokesperson in a crisis?

In the public relations industry there is often a debate about who should be the spokesperson for a company in a crisis. Some may argue that it should be the CEO or a senior executive, while others argue it should be a public relations professional. Please share your opinion with us and it may be shared this Friday in a follow-up video.

Q1 Thumbnail Gerard Braud

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This question is one of a series of debates in the media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media industries where you and your colleagues can share observations with each other. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite size bits of best practices. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the Follow up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

Tutorial #14 How to Frame Your Crisis Communications Videos Properly

Tutorial #14 By Gerard Braud

Crisis communications videos are rarely created by corporate spokespeople, government officials, emergency managers, or public information officers (PIO). However, they are an extremely effective way to communicate with your audiences in a crisis. You can be the official spokesperson and speak directly to the media about your crisis, rather than an eyewitness on the street who could be speculating or blowing your issue out of proportion. To create a quality video there are many variables, including how you frame yourself on camera.

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

Think about your vacation photos and videos. When you are in the image, do you see just a little of you and a lot of other stuff around you? Is your head in the middle of the picture, with your body at the bottom, and a bunch of sky above your head?

If so, you are likely not framing your images properly.

Photographers and videographers generally practice what is known as the rule of thirds. Photographers, especially when framing an individual in a photo or video, leave no space for sky above your head. Your hair or forehead fills the top of the frame. Your nose generally fills the center third. Your chin and neck would then fill the bottom third.

While this addresses the horizontal elements of your image, you must also consider the vertical portions of what you have framed. Often, you fill the left or right third of the frame, leaving the other two-thirds as positive space to your left or right.

Much of the poor framing we see today is the result of an entire generation of people using digital cameras. Because the yellow focus square in the viewfinder is in the middle of the viewfinder, most people stand far away from the person in the photo, then frame their head in the focus square. This is horrible. Stop doing it.

Step forward and get closer to the person whose photo you wish to take, then frame it as I have described above.

This is best understood by watching today’s tutorial video.

As with all of these video skills, you must practice in order to get it right. So after viewing the tutorial, take out your smart phone or tablet and record a video. You can also go home to your computer and look at some of your old photos. You’ll likely see that you’ve been framing pictures incorrectly for a long time… but soon you’ll be doing it right every time.

This link will take you to my tutorials on the CNN iReporter website. I hope you take the time to view, study, and share all 23 videos and articles

This link will take you to the index for all of the articles and videos.

If you, like many others, think this information would be valuable as a workshop at a conference or corporate meeting, please call me at 985-624-9976. You can also download a PDF that outlines the program, Social Media iReports.pdf so you can share it with your meeting planner or training manager.




What Leaders & PR People Can Learn from Lance Armstrong: Denial & Crisis Communication

By Gerard Braud

Lance Armstrong’s denial of doping over the years provides a valuable crisis communications and public relations case study for analyzing denial by powerful people and how they communicate in a crisis.

This is important for two reasons:

1) Public relations people may give excellent advice and professional council, but be rebuffed by their corporate leaders.

2) Corporate leaders may be blinded by the view from their high perch and ignore the wise council of their public relations professionals.

Lance Armstrong appears to have shifted from a position of denial to a position of doing his duty and coming clean.

Denial is also a critical marker in crisis communications, especially in a smoldering crisis. Penn State is a perfect example of an entire institution where the leaders were in denial.

As a rule, the longer you remain in denial, the more you cause monetary and reputational harm to the institutions with which you are associated.

Lance Armstrong has harmed his Livestrong Charity, his sponsors and his businesses. (PR Daily, CNN)

This is true for denial at Penn State and many other organizations with allegations of child sexual abuse being swept under the rug.

PR people – When you see denial, urge the leader to come clean. If they don’t come clean and follow your advice, then it is time for you to polish your resume and find a job where you are respected for your advice and where the leaders have higher ethics

Leaders – When your public relations team tells you that the best thing to do is to come clean, please humble yourself to take their advice.

Here are a few important leadership lessons.

In every crisis I have witnessed and in every case study I have analyzed, individuals in leadership positions follow distinctive, easy to identify patterns that foreshadow their future success or failure.

• Some leaders do their duty, while others are in denial.

• Some take action, while others are arrogant.

If a leader does their duty and takes action, then their constituents (employees, stakeholders, etc.) will be responsible and remain loyal. However, when the person in the leadership position is in denial and is arrogant, their constituents blame everyone for the failings that occur, and the individual in denial and showing arrogance also blames everyone for his or her failings. (In the case of Lance Armstrong, he has spent years blaming his accusers.)

Remember this:

Duty vs. Denial

Action vs. Arrogance

Being Responsible vs. Blame


The best way to exhibit leadership in a crisis is to plan ahead on a clear sunny day, starting with a three-plan approach including a crisis communications plan, an incident command plan and business continuity plan.  Armstrong makes a perfect example for this three-plan approach because he is a leader and CEO who is continuously in the media, he is a brand, and he runs a business.  Most organizations and leaders are up to date on their incident command and business continuity plans, but most fail to plan for speaking to the media, employees, and other key audiences.

My crisis communications plans usually have 100 or more pre-written and pre-approved templates, each containing the words a leader would

use to communicate when “it” hits the fan, especially during the early hours of a crisis when emotions and anxiety are high.

As new issues arise, a document must be created for these new issues. This is especially true of smoldering issues, such as allegations harmful to the brand. Having the proper statement depends upon the leader telling the truth and not being in denial.

The best time to write such templates is on a clear sunny day and the worst time to write and formulate your words is in the throes of a crisis.

Managing a business and making money are too often the characteristics executives consider the mark of a good leader.

In my world, a leader is someone who uses effective communications in critical times to get their audience and themselves through what may be our darkest hours, so we can emerge into a bright new day.

Feel free to download this PDF and share it with your fellow leaders and PR teams.

New Buzzword: Pogo Stick December 1, 2013

Be it known to the world that on this day, I, along with my colleagues in the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), begin a test. Because we are all fed up with silly buzzwords, we have decided to introduce our own meaningless phrase into the corporate buzzword conversation. The new buzzword is “Pogo Stick.”

Used in a sentence: “We need to Pogo Stick this idea. We need to bounce it around all of the departments and see what people think.”

If you are of the twisted mindset to join us, please follow these instructions:

1) Use Pogo Stick at your next meeting.

2) Use Pogo Stick at as many meetings as possible.

3) Include Pogo Stick in e-mail conversations.

4) Report back to us when you hear someone else using this foolish phrase.

Follow our conversation on Linked In.

To see all of the buzzwords used at once, watch The World’s Worst Speech on YouTube.

Write and Complete a World-Class Crisis Communications Plan in the Two Most Intense and Productive Two Days of Your Career

Join Global Crisis Communications Expert Gerard Braud in Denver, CO

October 29 & 30, 2012

Save Time – Save Money – Save Lives

Watch this video on YouTube via this link

Watch the video in your browser below by clicking on the image

You need a Crisis Communications Plan, but you don’t have time to write one on your own or you know you don’t have the expertise to do it correctly. You need a Crisis Communication Plan, but every price you’ve gotten from an agency is expensive and outside of your budget.

You need help. We have the solution.

Only Gerard Braud offers this intense 2-day program that generates his exclusive, world renowned Crisis Communications Plan, used around the world by corporations, non-profits and government agencies.

You bring your team of writers and Gerard Braud will provide you with the most amazingly designed communication documents. You and your team of writers will customize your plan under his personal supervision.

You’ll leave the workshop not with theory, but with a finished document.

You could struggle on your own and after a year of work never create a Crisis Communications Plan that is this well thought out and perfect for every crisis.

You could hire an agency and spend more than $100,000 and not achieve the same level of success.

Your cost to attend this amazing workshop is just $7,995 per company/organization.

For one corporate price, you are invited to bring up to 6 writers to participate in the 2-day process of customizing your company’s new plan.

This isn’t touchy-feely collaboration. This is you and your team locked in a room for 2 days getting real work done without distractions.

This is going from your “to-do list” to your “done list.”

This is going from “I wish we had” to “we did it.”

Size & Price Matter

Many organizations spend 6 months and $25,000 to $100,000 to create a six page plan that will fail them every time, which is the document on the left side of this photo. In just 2 days we create the document you see on the right. It is 3 inches thick and full of everything you need to do and say in a crisis.

Register before Monday, October 15, 2012 and receive an immediate $500 discount.

Earn an additional $500 discount for each additional company that you recruit to join us for the 2-day workshop.

For registration details, call Gerard Braud at 985-624-9976.

Can’t Make These Dates?

Call us to discuss your options.

About Your Instructor

Known as the guy to call when “it” hits the fan, Gerard Braud (Jared Bro) is an expert in crisis communications and media issues. He is an international trainer, author and speaker, who has revolutionized crisis communications for organizations on five continents.

Versed in the daily struggles of corporations, non-profits and government agencies, Gerard developed this exclusive 2-day workshop as a remedy to cries of “we don’t have time to do it on our own” and “we can’t afford to hire an agency.”

Only Gerard Braud bridges the gap by offering an affordable alternative in a time frame that fits everyone’s schedule and budget.

What’s his secret? As a senior communicator with more than 30 years experience as a journalist and a corporate communicator, Gerard has been on the front line of crises his entire career. He has invested more than 1,500 hours of time into capturing the most perfect behaviors any communicator could dream of… and he’s put it into a sequential plan. It is a plan so thorough that nothing is left out, yet a plan so perfectly organized that it can be successfully executed by anyone who can read, regardless of their job title or communication experience.

What You Need to Bring

  • A laptop for each writer
  • 6 of your best writers
  • Specific documents you will be asked to prepare in advance.

For full details and answers to all of your questions, call 985-624-9976 or email

The Fine Print: Each Crisis Communications Plan is the intellectual property of Diversified Media, LLC, dba Gerard Braud Communications. As such, your organization is technically purchasing a license to use the plan. Your organization is granted rights to use the plan, but it remains the copyright product of Gerard Braud Communications. As such, you are prohibited from ever sharing your plan with anyone who is not an employee of your organization.

Penn State – Sandusky Report – Crisis Communication Expert Observations

By Gerard Braud

Penn State and Jerry Sandusky are making crisis communications headlines today because of a new report prepared for Penn State.

What every university, corporation and institution should take away from this is a global lesson about crisis management, crisis communications and how to handle a smoldering crisis the way an expert would and should.

In 1998 a smoldering crisis was exposed. At that time, the university should have 1) fully investigated, 2) reported any potential crimes to police and 3) called their own news conference to announce their findings against their own coach.

Most institutions around the world fail to do this. Why? They fear the negative publicity. Why? They think they can handle it quietly on their own “within the family.” Wrong.

Especially when crimes are being committed,  someone will eventually bring it forth to the public. The negative impact is lessened when you tell the world rather than having someone else tell the world what happened.

The longer you wait, the worse the impact will be for the reputation and financial stability of the institution. This is true for universities, churches, governments and corporations.

In this case, the horrific nature of the crimes against children is reason enough to take the story public, but even after this report, many institutions around the world will still do what Penn State did: they will try to wish the crisis way.

The sooner you take the crisis public, the less the impact because you now control the flow of information as the official source. You have the ability to create a long term strategy for asking for forgiveness, saying you are sorry, and providing restitution to those who were affected.

This approach is the right thing to do from a moral and ethical perspective.

The Worst Speech in the World

The Worst Speech in the World

By Gerard Braud

©2012 Diversified Media, LLC dba Gerard Braud Communications

Preamble: CEOs and executives use far too many buzzwords and clichés. Soon the bad language infects the entire company. So when the International Association of Business Communicators asked me to present a session called, “Don’t Say That! Say This!,” I went to LinkedIn and asked you to list the buzzwords and clichés you hate the most. The discussion has gone on for more than 4 months. I’ve collected comments from more than 270 people and combined them here to create what I call, “The Worst Speech in the World.”

Now put yourself in the zone. Imagine you are in the audience as your boss takes the stage and says the following:

As you are aware, I’m delighted that we’re here to announce some things you are unaware of.

We’re excited and pleased about this innovative, world class, value added opportunity to leverage customer-centric opportunities that, at the end of the day, create a value proposition and ROI second to none.

Not withstanding, I think you would all agree that we have to think outside the box if we want to drill down and chase after the low hanging fruit.

This is why our people are our greatest asset; our vital human capitol, especially those recently laid off during the downsizing, right sizing, outsourcing and strategic realignment phase, creating an opportunity for us to fulfill our leadership imperative do more with less as we execute against our objectives.

Now don’t get me wrong; we’re going to need to utilize long skis and transparency. Our valued shareholders expect us to offer them an open kimono.

Basically, this will be an iconic, strategic initiative that allows us to productionize and incentivize value added commodities.

Let me be clear… Clearly, we need to expand band width so we can deep dive and ramp up, and adjust to the moving targets associated with each strategic objective.

There are no dumb ideas; there are no dumb questions. It may be a dicey situation, but we need to think laterally and pick each other’s brains.

If you get a brain fart, run it up the flag pole and circle back to make sure it is implemented in a cost effective manner consistent with our mandate to implement our objectives.

In today’s climate, you can’t have a mega-brand or big box bricks and mortar location without tactical execution going forward.

Quick wins are quick wins, but long-term gains are long-term gains, irregardless of the potential for sustainability.

One doesn’t pursue a blue ocean strategy with only the goal to get a leg up on the competition. That would be like drinking our own Kool-Aid from a fire hose.

Our next breakout requires each of you to facilitate, coordinate and expedite each aspect of our projected paradigm shift.

We must be willing to lean forward and buy into the mission critical, turn-key aspects of our shovel ready agenda.

In life there are teachable moments that require us to circle the wagons.

That doesn’t mean we need to go back to square one and start at ground zero. We can harness the potential of our momentum to catapult us forward.

Sure, if we say jump out the window we want you to jump out the window. But at the same time we want you to think for yourself.

Some of you will have questions about the synergistic aspects, but there will be time to talk offline and touch base as we dialogue about our mission with our core internal audiences. That is why we have employee engagement strategies that harness the powers of social media, which replace our previous trend to blog, which replaced our wikis, which replaced water cooler talk.

We know the general public wants to peel back the onion to find out if we’ve hit our sweet spot. We’ll provide air cover for you so you have time to massage it and see what comes out of the other side.

Cross-functional socialization is one approach, provided we can monetize our deliverables. Some of you may want to let it marinate as you chew on it or mull it over.  This shouldn’t be something you stew over. We may want to circle back and dialogue about whether this keeps you up at night. That would be my ask. And we need to complete this task before any of you holiday.

We think our new initiatives may optimize our execution, resulting in a game changer. We will want to engage all employees and blue sky this so everyone has visibility.

We need to land this one well for maximum impact as we onboard the customer-engagement engine, including face-time for everyone, especially those of you who are lowest on the food chain.

With that said, in the past we’ve spent too much time herding cats and trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, which does nothing to help us break the silos.

In the C-Suite, we don’t offer seats at the table or a place under the tent to those who are not ready to support our blueprint for change, by erecting strategic pillars that allow us to run the plays and roll down efforts to eradicate flight risks.

If we noodle over our touch points from 40,000 feet, it will incentivize us to get our arms around the scaling that will put us all on the same page so we are fully bright.

If we’re going to be on the same team we need to harness the power of our associates and level the playing field by walking the walk and talking the talk.

Our go-to must be more than a single belly button, tin cupping our units. Tension in the system is only achieved when we go beyond sucking the marrow out our robust assets.

Going forward we’re tasked to find space to hold calibration meetings to discuss right shoring opportunities that allow us to task and architect a solution as we champion the benefits of going the extra mile.

Normally, at this point, I would take questions, but for the first time ever, I don’t think that will be necessary. I think I can simply conclude, because each of you has clear marching orders.

National Speakers Association (NSA) New Orleans: Home of New Orleans Keynote Speakers

The National Speakers Associations of New Orleans (NSA New Orleans) has been the foundation of my professional speaking career, positioning me as a keynote speaker in New Orleans, as well as a conference presenter and keynote speaker on 5 continents. NSA New Orleans has allowed me to focus on being an expert in media training and crisis communications.

This Saturday, March 3, 2012, I will have the opportunity to give back to my NSA chapter, with a special program that focuses on writing for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The amazing thing about writing for SEO is how much I’ve learned by accident. This blog post will serve as one of the examples.

Social Media Revolutions & How to Write a Social Media Policy

How to Write Your Social Media Policy
March 1st Webinar

Plus the Social Media Revolution – What You Can Learn from Global Events

The time is NOW. Social Media is changing nations. But are you watching from the sidelines or digging in and learning how this affects your communications where you work and with your audience. For all the benefits of Social Media, there is an ugly flip side most people won’t talk about, or fail to recognize, or turn a blind eye to. I’m ready to talk about it.

Join me March 1st for a powerful teleseminar that will cover 2 aspects of the dangers of Social Media. First, learn how to write a Social Media policy that is perfect for your company.  Then we discuss the impact of Social Media during a Crisis, what your leaders don’t understand about Social Media, and what you need to be aware of from this day forward.

Join us for this thought provoking webinar.

Just $79 for your entire team to listen and learn.

Register with this link