Virtual Presentation: “Don’t Talk to the Media & Words Matter”

If you could attach a dollar value to every word you say, would you make money or would you lose money?

Do your words in media interviews or even in conversation with clients, stakeholders, and colleagues enhance your profits, or destroy your revenue, reputation, and brand? The story I’m sharing here appears in my media training classes, as well as in my keynote presentations, “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…” and “Words Matter.”

How much do words matter? In this story, a company spokesperson destroys a $700-million dollar project in a 12-second soundbite. Watch this video to learn to mess up in private, not in public:

“A license to pollute.” Yikes. 4,000 construction jobs never created. 400 permanent jobs never created. Taxes were never paid. Safer roads were never built. The audience heard him say “We have a license to kill.” What should have been said? This spokesperson should have had proper media training to understand and communicate the three things he promises to protect. Preparation needs to be done before the real interview.

Ultimately, you should talk to the media to tell the story of your brand. The keyword is “until.” The key is to do it properly and understand the rules of engagement. The first lesson is don’t talk to the media, but talk to the media’s audience. The media are not your audience. The people at home are your audience. Talk to them. Manage their expectations.

To talk further about how to prepare to talk to the media or how this virtual presentation could benefit your boss or your colleagues, schedule a complimentary, confidential call with me

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

15 Questions to Ask Before You Use Facebook for Crisis Communications

Can You Handle a Crisis When it Hits by Winging It?

Crisis Management Lessons from Hurricane Katrina vs. COVID19

Thank You Gifts from Gerard Braud

Delivering the closing keynote for IABC Calgary. Taking off my pants to prove a point  about the LuLu Lemon crisis of yoga pants wearing thin on the inner thighs.

I took my pants off while delivering the closing keynote for IABC Canada in Calgary. You guessed it — a case study about the LuLu Lemon crisis of yoga pants wearing thin on the inner thighs. Does this make my butt look big?

As we approach Thanksgiving in the U.S. I’d like to express my gratitude to all of you with whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with in recent weeks and months. At each conference where I’ve been a speaker since September, I’ve promised various free resources to help you become an expert in crisis communications plans, crisis drills, or media interviews.

So here are some free resources for all of you who attended those programs, as well as for all of you who follow along here on this blog:

1) If you’d like a copy of the First Critical Statement I use in my crisis communication plan, use this link. It takes you to the Learning Store where you can select the correct item.

Enter the  coupon code CRISISCOMM

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Crisis Scenario "When It Hits the Fan"

Nasdaq sponsored me for a crisis communications program at the PRSA International Conference in Atlanta. We blew up PRSA’s social media  with this interactive crisis scenario that the audience blasted out to the world.

2) If you’d like my 29-day Media Training course, use this link. It takes you to the Learning Store where you can select the correct item.

Enter the  coupon code BRAUD

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3) If you’d like my 23 part i-Report tutorial, use this link for an index of the course on this blog. If you would like to subscribe to this blog, enter your e-mail address in the upper right-hand corner.

4) If you’d like my assistance to write your crisis communications plan, to train your spokespeople, or to speak at an upcoming conference, please call me at 985-624-9976 or send an e-mail to

5) Finally, if you are a public relations expert with ideas to share, please subscribe to The BraudCast YouTube Channel.  Each week we pose a new question as we seek your bite-size bits of best practices, which we share with the world later that week. This is your chance to share with each other.

Gerard Braud speaking

If I’m a good fit to speak at one of your favorite conferences, I always welcome an introduction to the meeting planner. Thank you.

Once again, thank you to all of you who have invited me to speak at your corporate meetings and association conferences. Thank you to all of you who attended. I hope our paths cross again soon.

Gerard Braud

Rural Electric Cooperative Communications: The Times Are Changing

electric co-op movie gerard braud

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Consider this: Just a few years ago rural electric cooperatives were not under pressure to communicate rapidly with the media, members or employees. Today, you have less than one hour to control the flow of accurate information.

There are three major reasons why this is changing and four things you can do to adjust to these changes. If you are not adjusting to these changes, you will be in big trouble.

To learn about the three major changes and four ways to adjust, read on…

To communicate effectively at a 2014 level, you need these four things:

1) Your co-op must have the most extensive crisis communications plan ever written.

2) Your crisis communications plan must have a library of at least 100 pre-written news releases.

3) Your CEO/manager, operations director, customer service director, and public relations director must agree to all train at least once a year for media interviews.

4) Your co-op must conduct a crisis communications drill at least once a year to test your crisis communications plan, your pre-written news releases, and the media interview skills of your spokespeople.

Why is this suddenly so critical in 2014? Here are the three reasons:

#1 Urban Sprawl

Time was, when city media seldom reported on rural electric co-op issues. Today, as cities like Houston, Atlanta, and others have turned pastures and forests into neighborhoods, the media aggressively covers stories in these areas. New residents in new houses represent a young, emerging audience with disposable income that appeals to advertisers, especially for television news. Those same new residents are likely to be the quickest to call a television news investigative reporter and they will be the first to comment online about a negative news report.

#2 The Rural Weekly Paper is Online

Time was, when rural news was only reported by the local weekly newspaper. Today, the internet has allowed the weekly paper to publish online 24/7. No longer can you take days to respond to a co-op controversy. The weekly paper may still print just one day a week, but they need an interview, facts and quotes from you just as fast as the big city media.

#3 Social Media

An angry member can quickly escalate any issue to the crisis level. They can escalate an issue into an online controversy and a mainstream media controversy. While many co-op managers and board members continue to wrangle with, question, and oppose a social media presence, members are creating their own anti-cooperative Facebook pages. Your extensive crisis communications plan must have a social media strategy.


Co-op communications is changing rapidly. If you, like so many cooperative communicators, find yourself with too many other tasks and too few people or hours in the day, please call me. I have fast, easy and affordable solutions to your communication challenges, including a world class crisis communications plan that can be customized in just two days.

Click here to LISTEN to what other cooperative communicators have to say about this fast, cost effective way to implement a crisis communications plan customized for your cooperative. You can also call me at 985-624-9976 to learn more.