7 Frightening Media Realities for Public Relations

By Gerard Braud –-

As the media changes, your media relations strategy must change with it. We covered these changes and strategies in detail at the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) conference in San Francisco during my Monday morning workshop, #IABC15 The Changing Media Landscape.

For those of you who attended the workshop, this blog will be part of the continuing education program you were promised. For those who missed the workshop, this will help you learn what the group learned. For those of you who would like a similar workshop for your chapter or professional association, please contact me at

Before the teach-back segment, here are links to the two additional free training modules I offered to everyone:

Resource #1: 29-Day Media Training Online Program

  • Follow this link
  • Enter coupon code BRAUD
  • Click APPLY
  • When you see this $199 program ring up as $00.00, enter your e-mail address
  • Hit submit order.

Resource #2: 23-Day Video Tutorial for Smartphone News Videos

The changes in the media landscape include:

1) Reduced staffs, i.e. fewer reporters, photographers and journalists to tell your story.


Not too long ago a typical network news crew had five people. A typical local television or print crew had a reporter and photographer. Today, newspapers and television stations alike expect a single person to be both the reporter and photographer.


2) The “Caught on Video” craze.

PastedGraphic-2With fewer employees to gather the news, the media depend upon videos submitted by eyewitnesses. The media save a lot of money by not having to chase the news and by letting the news come to them. However, verifying authenticity and facts is a problem. The old rule of, “consider the source,” seems to have gone out the window.


caughtonvideoStatistics provided by IQ Media show that in the past three years, there has been a monumental jump in the number of times the phrase “caught on video” is said on television broadcasts.



3) Substituting Trending for NewsPastedGraphic-3

Virtually every television news cast and every media website feature a segment about what is trending. This means that television airtime and web space are being filled with fluff provided by social media, rather than news gathered by professionals.

Statistics provided by IQ Media show that in the past three years, there has been a monumental jump in the number of times the phrase “trending” is said on television broadcasts.



4) Judgment Day is Everyday

The media have also substituted real news with social media comments from people who judge other people. A perfect example is the condemnation after the U.S. Navy rescued a family from their sinking sailboat on April 6, 2014. The parents had a small child on board and social media lit up with mean comments, which made up a huge part of the news coverage.



5) Pretend In-Depth Coverage

CNN looked foolish with their all-in attempt to cover the Malaysia 370 plane disappearance. Non-stop coverage of a single issue means fewer employees are needed than if your network covered a variety of issues affecting the lives of viewers.


6) Fake Breaking News

Combined with the pretend in-depth coverage is fake breaking news. The television media have a need to put up a banner across the screen each time they learn one new detail, regardless of how silly it is.

PastedGraphic-4 PastedGraphic-5


Among the many crazy things that CNN called “breaking news” in the Malaysia 370 story, is first breaking the news that the final words from the crew were, “Alright, good night.” The next day it was “breaking news” that the final words were, “Good night Malaysia three seven zero.”

Really CNN? In my time as a journalist we would have called that an error and a correction.

Statistics provided by IQ Media show that in the past three years, there has been a monumental jump in the number of times the phrase “breaking news” is said on television broadcasts.



Solutions to Media Changes

Among the many solutions we discussed, is the need to recognize that in the future, the media will expect you to provide video from any crisis experienced by your company, as well as a narrative. They will expect you to do a selfie style video directly from the scene.

Such videos are hard to do and require training and practice. While the interactive portion of our workshop taught some of the basic skills, the online 23-part tutorial will teach you even more.

4 Media Training & Interview Tips Courtesy of Jeb Bush & Megyn Kelly


By Gerard Braud

Media training is not just about being an expert when it comes to answering a question. Media interview skills also require you to know how to ask questions of the reporter. The fuss about presidential candidate Jeb Bush is a case in point, based on an answer he gave to Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly when asked about the Iraq War. What happened to Bush, can just as easily happen to you or an executive who serves as your spokesperson.

Here are some tips that will help you in your next interview:

Lesson 1: Listen to the question.

Lesson 2: Discern whether there is a question behind the question.

Lesson 3: Anticipate how your answer might trigger a dangerous follow up question.

Lesson 4: If you don’t truly understand the question or where the question might take you, ask the reporter to clarify. It is okay to say, “I’m sorry, I don’t fully understand your questions. Can you restate it?”

Bush’s failure to do this is costly. It can cost him in the polls as well as in financial contributions. In business, it can cause you to lose customers and sales because it damages both your reputation and your revenue.

Book quote(For those of you who rely on my book Don’t Talk to the Media Until as your executive media training guide book, this lesson relates directly to Lesson 2: The Big If on page 3, in which I ask the question, “If you could attach a dollar to every word that comes out of your mouth, would you make money or lose money?”)

Here is how the interview went down:

Kelly: “On the subject of Iraq, knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?”

Bush: “I would have, and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind every body and so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got.”

But Kelly’s question is not about going to war based on the intelligence provided at the time, yet Bush’s answer is. Essentially Kelly’s question is, “If you were president and you were told there are no large supplies of chemical weapons in Iraq, would you still invade?”

That isn’t the question Bush was answering. Bush thought he was being asked, “If you had been presented with the same intelligence your brother was presented with as President, would you have made the same decision to go to war that he did?”

The presidential campaign season is just getting started and the media are looking for every little flaw in every sentence that is spoken by a candidate. They do the same in interviews with you or your executives who serve as a spokesperson.

Bush’s faux pas is proof that even media interview veterans have to keep their skills sharp by listening to each question carefully, clarifying the intent of the question, and parsing every word of your answer.

It is amazing how many people create negative headlines for themselves because of something they said in a media interview that wasn’t perfect.

My advice is that regardless of how powerful you are and how busy you might be, to do a solid interview you should:

1) Have a media training coach that you love to work with

2) Set time aside at least once a year to allow that trainer to grill you on camera with an honest evaluation

3) Roll play with a coach or colleague before every interview with every reporter, so that you get your head in the game moments before the real questions begin.

Never allow yourself to get complacent. Don’t think because you’ve done so many interviews that you can eliminate the training that keeps your skills sharp. One misplaced word can cause serious harm to your reputation and your revenue. Can you afford that?

5 Media Training Lessons About Parsing Your Words So You Are Never Taken Out of Context

Mitt RomneyBy Gerard Braud

CEOs and other executives – in fact an enormous number of spokespeople I meet in media training classes — all complain that in their past, “The media took me out of context.”

As we look at public relations lessons from political campaigns this week, we can examine the failed presidential campaign of Mitt Romney and a troubling day when he was, in my observations, taken out of context.

The headlines quoted Romney as saying, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.”

Lesson #1: Someone is going to edit what you say. Let it be you. (See Don’t Talk to the Media Until…)

Lesson #2: Great quotes are seldom spontaneous. They are best written by a professional writer and then practiced relentlessly by the spokesperson until they appear to be spontaneous.

Lesson #3: It is important to parse every word of a great quote. Parsing words is the difference between a bad quote, a good quote, and a great quote.

On the day in question, Mitt Romney was trying to make the point that the middle class needed help. Many articles provided his entire quote, but the headlines took the entire quote out of context.

The full quote said, “I’m in this race because I care about Americans. I’m not concerned about the very poor — we have a safety net there,” he said. “If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich — they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”

A well written, well practiced, and well delivered quote with parsed words might have said, “The poor of our country have social programs to help them. The rich have their wealth to support them. But the middle class may be the group most in need of help from Washington and if I’m elected, I’ll work to help the 90-95 percent of Americans who are considered middle class.”

According to my parsing, each part of the quote can stand alone as a fair statement with no negative impact:

“The poor of our country have social programs to help them.”

“The rich have their wealth to support them.”

“The middle class may be the group most in need of help from Washington and if I’m elected, I’ll work to help the 90-95 percent of Americans who are considered middle class.”

5 lessons for all spokespeople:

1) It is important to parse words.

2) It is important to write quotes before you plan to deliver them.

3) It is important to break down the sentences of your quote to make sure each thought can stand on it’s own without being taken out of context.

4) It is important to undergo frequent media training.

5) It is also important to remember that, “Someone is going to edit what you say. It might as well be you.”




Media Training Tip: Ebola Crisis Communications Interviews

EBOLA webinar Gerard BraudThe Ebola crisis has spawn a rash of spokespeople saying things to the media that should have never been said. If you are the public relations person responsible for writing statements and news releases for your hospital, company or spokesperson, this blog is for you. If you are the media trainer preparing the spokespeople, this blog is for you. If you are the spokesperson… yep, this blog is for you.

Behold exhibit # 1: A news release statement from October 15, 2015, as a second nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital becomes ill from Ebola.

The hospital released a statement saying, “Patient and employee safety is our greatest priority and we take compliance very serious.”

YOU CAN’T SAY THAT! Really, you cannot defend that statement PR team from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

Here’s why: If it were true, two nurses would not have Ebola. Do you follow my thinking? Two nurses have Ebola because safety was obviously not the greatest priority and obviously compliance was not taken seriously.

Every time I teach media training or do a conference presentation, my advice to PR people and CEOs is to run every statement through the cynic filter. I just demonstrated my cynicism… and trust me, I’m a huge cynic. If you filter your statement past me, will you get a positive reaction or a negative reaction? That my friends, is the cynic filter.

My apologies to the PR team if this was not your words, but the words of your lawyers or PR firm or agency. But as a public relations professional, your job is to shout “No” when a B.S. statement like that is written or proposed.

Back in August, when the Ebola story broke regarding Emory University Hospital, CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden made bold statements about Ebola not spreading in the U.S. He was wrong.

Dr-Anthony-FauciDr. Anthony Fauci, with the National Institute of Health, in an interview on the Today Show this week, on October 11, 2014, said, “We’re not going to see an outbreak” of Ebola in the U.S. He even references Dallas as an example of proper containment of the virus, which as we all now know, is wrong.

Once again, if you are a spokesman, you can’t say that. You can’t defend that statement. You cannot guarantee it so you should not say it in an interview.

If you are the person providing media training for the spokesperson, you cannot allow the spokesperson to say something like that. You have to be so intense in the media training class that you push the student to the point of failure in the training class, pick them up, fix them, and don’t release them from role playing until they are perfect. Media training should be designed to let a spokesperson fail in private so they don’t fail on national TV, or any interview.

Close isn’t good enough. A crisis this serious demands the best communications possible. There is no margin for error in interviews just like there is no margin for error in containing a serious disease.

Would you like to know the magic words that will set you free? Insert the word, “goal” and throw away the words, “committed” and “top priority.” My top priority is to get people to stop saying top priority and committed.”

Instead of saying, “Patient and employee safety is our greatest priority and we take compliance very serious,” a better option is to say, “Our goal is to protect the safety and health of every patient and every employee.” (Yes, I intentionally used “every” twice.)

My statement is one that can be defended because it is stated as “a goal.” It is forward looking and aspirational, while not definitive, such as, ““Patient and employee safety is our greatest priority and we take compliance very serious.”

If you are responsible for writing statements that get re-written with tired clichés by your lawyers or CEO, your job, as a public relations professional, is to push back. If you write these type of clichés because you were taught to do this or have heard these clichés so many times that you think this is the way it should be done, please stop.

If you are responsible for media training your spokesman, you must not be afraid to push back when the student doesn’t perform well. As the trainer, you must not be intimidated, especially if you are training your boss, or in the case of a hospital, a powerful doctor.

We have an Ebola crisis on our hands. Are you making it better or worse with your statCrisis communication workshop gerard braudements?

We’ll talk about these issues and more this Friday in a special webinar about Ebola. Register here.

If you need help with your Ebola key messages, contact me for assistance writing bullet proof key messages. And if you need help media training your spokespeople, I’m happy to help. Call me at 985-624-9976.

— By Gerard Braud











Secrets to Effective Key Messages for Media Training

KeyMsg1 By Gerard Braud

Do your key messages suck? Most people think not. I think they usually do.

Expert Media Training requires solid key messages. But public relations people have been taught that a key message is little more than giving your spokesperson or CEO a handful of bullet points, then turning them loose to do a media interview.

This spells disaster and here is why.

[ Learn more with PRSA – Effective Messaging: Writing & Speaking With Words That Resonate  ]

In a media interview the goal of the spokesperson should be to deliver a great quote because great quotes manipulate how the reporter writes his or her story. Great quotes seldom come from a spontaneous ad-lib. The greatest quotes are planned, written, and practiced to perfection.

Here is an example of what the average PR person at a hospital might give to his or her CEO in a media training class as they prepare the executive for a media interview.

They may tell the boss, Our three key messages are:

1) patient care

2) our new equipment

3) giving back to the community

The average CEO would then ad-lib: “We have the best doctors and medical staff in tKeyMsg2he state and we’ve won numerous awards. We have the best equipment in our region, including the new super knife computer system that we paid $20-million dollars for. Our surgeons are all well-trained. And I can assure you the care of our patients is our top priority. Plus, we give back to the community”

That’s horrible.

What if your CEO said this: “At Denver Hospital our goal is to be there when you need us the most. We do that by treating those simple illnesses that make you feel crummy; by treating you or your family members when they are challenged by major hospitalization; and by offering wellness care to keep you healthy.”

Which sounds polished? Which sounds professional, yet approachable? Which uses the language of the patient without being sucked into jargon? Which sounds internally focused and self-centered and which sounds as though you truly are putting the customer first?

If you’d like to learn how to effectively write and deliver key messages, join me in Chicago on September 17, 2015 when the Public Relations Association of America (PRSA) presents, Effective Messaging: Writing & Speaking With Words That Resonate

You will spend time evaluating your current messaging. You will learn to write new messaging using a conversational tone. Then, you’ll have a chance to verbally test-drive your messages to determine if they resonate with your audiences.

Great communications is no accident. Great communications requires great writing, practice and implementation.

Three Media Training and Crisis Communications Tips for Doctors and Employers

By Gerard Braud


Click image to watch video

The current Ebola crisis has the media calling upon their medical experts to communicate about infected patients being flown to the United States for treatment.

Media training for this type of crisis requires you to have a plan for how your doctors and physicians will respond if they are called upon to talk with reporters. Every employer needs to be prepared to follow these same rules. When talking about the health of an employee or a patient, HIPPA rules – the Federal rules that govern patient privacy — essentially prohibit a doctor or employer from talking about the patient.

Yet the media want details; details a treating physician cannot give; details the employer cannot give.

The three secrets to an intelligent interview answer that satisfies the media are to:

1) Set the context of the situation

2) Politely admonish the reporter

3) Speak in generalities

An artful answer may look like this:

“First, we need to recognize that because of Federal laws governing a patient’s privacy, I’m not allowed to give any specifics about this patient and neither should the media. In general I can say that a patient with Ebola can be safely quarantined because the virus is not transmitted by breathing in the infection, but only by contact with blood or body fluids.”

The medical experts and reporters on the network news programs have done a brilliant job of walking this fine line when being interviewed by their networks and reporters. An increasing number of reporters are more aware of HIPPA rules, but many are not, while others try to trick the spokesperson into saying something.

Here is the key: The media need a good sound bite or quote. Write a good sound bite then train the spokesperson to deliver it in a masterful way to the media.

On the NBC Today Show Monday morning, the doctor spokesperson from Emory University Hospital, where the patient is being treated, does a good job of not violating the patient’s privacy. It is an interview worth watching.

If we dissect the interview a bit further, here are a few things to note:

NBC News anchor Savannah Guthrie states in her question, “I know that you can’t say much, if anything about the patient, under your care, but let me just try. Can you confirm that he is improving this morning?”

The doctor responds by saying, “I really can’t comment on the clinical condition of the patient. That comes specifically from the request of the patient and his family.”

The answer is an okay answer that doesn’t violate HIPPA. However, to a reporter and the audience, it may seem like something important is not being said or that the spokesperson or doctor is hiding something, when in fact they are just protecting the patient. Granted, doctors are not professional spokespeople, which is why they require extra media training when talking about a crisis like this. Granted, the doctor needs to be focused on the patient and not the media, which is why regular media training with doctors, when there is no crisis, is the best way to have them ready for a future crisis.

An abrupt answer like that is known as a “block.” A “block” is more acceptable when it is combined with a “bridge” and a “hook.” The bridge allows you to bridge to an acceptable answer and then hook the reporter and viewer with new information and a quote.

A better answer would follow my guidelines above and sounds like this:

“First, we need to recognize that because of Federal laws governing a patient’s privacy, I’m not allowed to give any specifics about this patient and neither should the media. In general I can say that a patient with Ebola can be safely quarantined because the virus is not transmitted by breathing in the infection, but only by contact with blood or body fluids. While I cannot comment on the prognosis or any progress about this patient, I can say that our institution is optimistic that we have the right facilities and right physicians to treat someone with Ebola, which is why the patient has been flown here from Africa.”

Using this technique, the doctor doesn’t just block the reporter’s question, but also bridges to useable information.

In the PR department at Emory, the media trainer and the PR team are likely calling this interview a success… and they should… and it is, because the doctor walked the fine line of HIPPA. But with a slight bit more training and practice, the doctor can be taught to use the full block-bridge-hook technique, for a more polished answer.

For all of you who must media train a spokesperson, realize that you can go from good to great with just a few minor adjustments in an answer. Regular media training goes a long way to make your spokespeople great.

Expert Advice for Media Training Key Messages

By Gerard Braud

crisisdrillgerardbraud2Can we have an intimate, professional conversation? The presumption is you are an expert in public relations and that the executives and leaders where you work need expert key messages for media training, to be an expert spokesperson. Here we go:

  • Good looking
  • Intelligent
  • Public relations professional
  • Mistakes of the past
  • Bullet points bad

Did we just have a conversation? I don’t think so.


Because I used bullet points and bullet points are not a conversation. Bullet points are phrases. Bullet points are not sentences.

So, should it then also be true that bullet points are not key messages?

Consider this: If you are training someone for a media interview, and you’ve given them nothing but bullet points, you have only given them an outline from which you now want them to ad lib.

Have you ever noticed that the most embarrassing interviews with reporters are the ones with bad ad-libs?

Have you ever noticed that the media crave a well-worded quote?

This is your call to action to stop believing that key messages should be bullet points. Key messages for media training should consist of well-worded, quotable sentences. Expert spokespeople speak in great, well-worded quotes and not in bullet points.

You are a good looking, intelligent, public relations professional who should stop repeating the mistakes of your public relations forefathers or foremothers, who believe bullet points are sufficient as key messages.



Crisis Management & Crisis Communication: The Justin Bieber Case

By Gerard Braud

JustinBieberIn crisis management and crisis communication you must manage the rule of thirds, as it relates to your brand and the management of your reputation.

Define the rule of thirds this way:

One third of the audience loves you – and nothing can change that.

One third of the audience hates you – and nothing can change you.

One third of the audience swings like a pendulum and they love or hate you based on what is trending at that moment.

Please see exhibit A: Justin Bieber.

His self-made series of recent crises have eroded his credibility with the middle third.

Do you know parents who have supported their daughters, who love Bieber? Did those parents in some way also think Bieber was a nice guy?

If you had asked them a year ago, they would have said, “He’s a nice kid, he has great God given talent, and his mom seems to be trying to keep him grounded.”

Ask them today, they might say, “Justin Bieber is a spoiled little a**hole.”

Want more proof of how this works?

1) Bieber is officially the butt of an increasing number of jokes. During the Olympics, the trending joke was that the loser of the U.S. versus Canada hockey game had to keep Bieber. Hashtag – that’s funny for us. Hashtag – that’s sad for Bieber.

2) Radio station Rock 100.5 staged an impressive enough anti-Bieber hoax that CNN and other media reported it without doubting it could be true. Hashtag – lack of journalism. Hashtag – that’s funny for us. Hashtag – that’s sad for Bieber.

In a world where media quotes media rather than investigating the story themselves, it is estimated the fake story appeared 4,500 times around the world.

Define a crisis as anything that affects your reputation AND revenue. Bieber falls in both departments.

The rule of thirds always rings true.

How would the rule of thirds go down for your company in a crisis? Would you keep the middle third or lose the middle third?





Media Training Advice: 3 Lost Public Relations Opportunities in the Duck Dynasty Reaction

By Gerard Braud Our focus on media training, crisis communications and public relations extends into the Duck Dynasty controversy and three lost opportunities. Put your politics, religion and personaBy Gerard Braud

GQ ClipOur focus on media training, crisis communications and public relations extends into the Duck Dynasty controversy and three lost opportunities.

Put your politics, religion and personal views about gender, sexuality and race aside for a moment in order to put these observations into the context for which they are intended.

Today’s primary question: Did those reacting to Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson each miss a golden opportunity in their reactions to advance their respective causes?

A secondary question: Is the media, in many cases, misreporting this story because most who are reporting on it are not reacting to the original GQ story? Instead, are they reacting to headlines they have heard from from others in the media, and from others who are reacting, who have labeled Robertson as homophobic, anti-gay and a racist?

Remember… put your politics, religion and personal views aside to look at the questions from a public relations point of view…

Also, read the GQ article first.

Also, read the Bible passage that Phil makes reference to.

Once you’ve done your background research, you can read on…

Here are the missed media opportunities by A&E, gay activist groups, and groups representing blacks.

Lost Opportunity #1 – Gay Organizations are failing to advance their cause because they opted to be reactive rather than pro-active in their statements. This is especially true for what I’ve read from GLADD. From a media training, crisis communications and public relations perspective, their statements vented anger back at Robertson. This approach divides all audiences into pro-gay and anti-gay factions.  If GLADD took a calmer approach and removed anger, hurt and outrage from their statement, they could – from a media and public relations standpoint – leverage the situation to their advantage.

If I were writing their statement for them, it would have said, “We recognize that many people in America share a similar Biblical belief as expressed by Phil Robertson, including the belief that it is sinful for a man to sleep with a woman he is not married to and for a woman to sleep with a man she is not married to. What we share with Robertson is the belief that monogamous relationships have value, and therefore underscores our support that marriage equality be extended to partners of the same gender. We also recognize that many people believe homosexuality is a choice and we continue to strive to educate people that a person’s gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity are defined in the womb. This is a belief shared my many Christians, who are both heterosexual and homosexual.”

Lost Opportunity #2 – The NAACP and the Human Rights Campaign issued a join statement that also chose to be reactive rather than proactive.

Phi on BlacksThe statement calls Robertson “racist” and “homophobic.” (A side note – this joint statement surprises me since many Christian blacks very much share Robertson’s Biblical views and believe in the same Bible passage which he referenced in GQ.)

In GQ Robertson talked about his own perception of blacks he knew and worked with growing up. The statements referenced his perception from where he lived, and from my read of the article, spoke of no hate toward blacks, yet the joint letter and the media have labeled Robertson as racist.

Again, the NAACP and HRC are using angry and accusatory language that reflects the hurt they feel. They are effectively driving the story and the headlines in the first phase of the story. However, for the sake of gaining a headline, did they fail to seize on a greater public relations opportunity to advance their cause?

My advice would have been to issue a statement that would have said, “Some in the black community will interpret the remarks made by Phil Robertson as racist. We, however, see it as a personification of what blacks endured during the civil rights period. In many parts of America, our white brothers and sisters did not see the discrimination that many of our black brothers and sisters were experiencing. It is for that reason that we have spent the last 50 years fighting for equality and justice for all and the reason we will continue to our efforts to bring awareness to the need for equality.”

Lost Opportunity #3 – A&E could have addressed this matter without Phil’s suspension. A&E quickly bowed to pressure from the above mentioned groups, who are well organized, well funded, and have a public relations machine already in place. Television networks usually make their decisions based on their own revenue and the reaction of advertisers, who get pressured by activist organizations.

A simple statement without the suspension could have been the wisest way the network could have responded to the unfolding media crisis. They could have simply issued a statement that said, “We realize that many people will be offended by Phil’s remarks, while many people share his belief. However, even if we, as a network do not agree with all that Phil has said, we respect his First Amendment rights and his freedom of speech. We ask for understanding by all of our employees, viewers, and sponsors. We also apologize to anyone who may have been offended by Phil’s remarks.”

While Duck Dynasty viewers are not currently as well organized as the above mentioned groups, I think A&E will see that they too vote with their dollars and have the ability to organize and mobilize through social media to put pressure on the network and the sponsors of Duck Dynasty. This program draws one of the largest audiences on cable television and A&E.

Crisis Management for Duck Dynasty

Now consider this media relations, crisis communication and public relations truth – We’ve seen many people who are in the media spotlight for a controversy, make it worse when they either respond or attempt to issue an apology. Paula Deen was horrible in her live Today Show interview with Matt Lauer. Chip Wilson, founder of Lululemon was forced out of his job because his apology was poorly worded and poorly executed.

The next move for Phil Robertson and the Duck Dynasty family is the most critical. A poorly executed post-crisis interview, like the one by Paula Deen, could spell disaster. While saying nothing in the short term is an option, every time any of the Duck Dynasty stars are in public, you can bet someone from the media will be there shouting a question or asking for a comment about the controversy.

Every member of the Robertson family – if they want to manage this properly – must sit down with the best media expert and best media trainer they can find – and spend some serious time preparing for their verbal and non-verbal reactions. The clever one-liners used on the television show will not play well in media interviews. The media trainer must work with the family members to keep them authentic and to recognize that they can still speak their mind, but that each word they say is important and each word they do not say is important.

Careless phraseology by an authentic person is what started this controversy. Careless phraseology will make the controversy worse.

There are many moving parts to this media crisis and there are many opportunities that have been missed and are yet to be taken.

Media Training for CEOs and Executives Worldwide May Save Their Jobs & Protect Their Profits – Ask Lululemon Founder Chip Wilson

By Gerard Braud

Gerard Braud Media Training ManualEvery media training class I teach worldwide begins with this phrase:

“If you could attach a dollar to every word that comes out of your mouth, would you make money or lose money?”

Here is an image straight from my media training manual if you need proof.

Here is a video lesson for you to share with your CEO and spokespeople.

Recently we have published two articles here about Lululemon founder Chip Wilson. The first focused on his foolish ad-libs in a TV interview for which he was clearly not prepared. In the article we said his failure to prepare for the media interview would affect his profits. The second article focused on his poor attempt to apologize for his first blunder, creating a social media fire storm. Now comes the news that he is out as Chairman of the company he helped found, because of… wait for it… wait for it… because of things he said.

Media Training Manual Gerard Braud

Click image to watch video

Chip Wilson’s ad-libs and bad media interview caused him, in large part, to be ousted from the company that he helped start.

It all began in a Bloomberg interview and now CNBC is covering the final chapter on their network. 

Verbal blunders have cost an executive his position in his company.

This should be a wake-up call to all public relations people, executives and CEOs. It should be, but it won’t. Most CEOs and executives will remain too stubborn and arrogant to schedule time for training.  Most public relations people will be too timid and afraid of losing their jobs to get in the CEO or executive’s face and demand that they dedicate ample time to prepare for EVERY media interview.

Many CEOs and executives treat media training as though it is a bucket list item – something they do once in life. This is as dumb as me taking one class at putt-putt and thinking I can play golf against Tiger Woods in the PGA.

EVERY interview requires practice.

Media interviews are not something you should ever take lightly.

Media interviews affect your bottom line.

Media interviews are connected to money.

Media interviews affect profits.

Chip Wilson Bloomberg

Click to watch interview

I’m befuddled to see how corporations spend millions on branding, millions on product development, and millions on all the contracts lawyers write, all to protect profits. Why would any corporation or executive spend so much on all of that stuff… why would they place such a high financial value on all of that stuff… yet completely under estimate the financial value of a media interview?

Wake-up executives.

Wake-up public relations people.

Wake-up corporations.

Wake-up CEOs.

Wake-up Chairmen and boards.


If you invest time and effort in media training it will pay huge dividends.

I’ve witnessed corporations lose millions in moments in a bad interview.

I’ve witnessed corporations make millions in a moment in a well planned and practiced interview.


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