So you’re a business owner or executive and you want to handle a crisis with ineptitude and enrage your important business partners, all your employees, and your target audience, right? Then study today’s press conference by NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell.
I’ve been a huge football fan and followed the sport since 1974 when I was 9 years old. Over the decades, we’ve all witnessed crises occur for what has become the premier sport in the United States. Never have we witnessed the erosion of trust that has happened only in the past few months, with a climax of a fiasco such as today. I have no doubts Roger Goodell is a smart guy. He just didn’t show it today.
Here’s how to mishandle a crisis when you’re the head of an organization and your world (whatever that might look like) is watching…
- Start 15 minutes late. Really? You set the press conference. Show up on time. Not a good way to start.
- The opening statement was as obvious as a ham sandwich. We could have all probably written it ourselves. Instead, make a brief (3 minutes) statement apologizing for past errors of judgement and open it up for questions.
- Avoid answering Yes/No questions. When Goodell was asked if he had spoken to NFL sponsors, specifically Anheuser Busch. He never uttered the words yes or no, and proceeded to spin the case around to a point where everyone was confused and a follow up question about his communications had to be asked. His response? “You will have to ask them.”
- Keep referring to your past statements. The commissioner answered almost every questions with, “As I just stated,” or “As I’ve said before…” Here’s the deal, Roger. You lost your right to fall back on past comments. You need to just keep answering what you have in front of you.
- Be the ultimate spin doctor. One journalist asked about the comparison to his ruling on New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton after the infamous “Bounty Gate” scandal. Goodell blasted Payton for lack of control and suspended him for a year. When his lack of control was called into question, he began spinning like a Wolfman Jack in his prime, by not only avoiding any comments about the Saints and Payton (which was the question), and again explaining that he was going to fix everything.
- Keep referring to your nameless “experts.” Goodell kept referring to the league’s “experts.” These are the experts that didn’t see a problem with him interviewing Ray Rice with Janay Rice (the victim) in the same room. These are the “experts” that are advising the NFL on how to move forward with a domestic violence policy. We should all feel better…
- Deny, deny, deny. When asked about the report that the Atlantic City hotel confirmed that they were never asked for the video in the elevator by the NFL, Goodell said they had tried several times. So let me get this straight, the NFL says it asked on multiple occasions and was shot down. The hotel says they were never asked. The TMZ reporter in the crowd said they got it with one request. Someone’s lying. It’s clear, yet Goodell simply skirted the issue.
- Avoid clearing up conflict of interest questions. Rachel Nichols of CNN is really good at her job. She asked about the independent investigation that appears to have more bedfellows than Wilt Chamberlain on a good night back in the day. She drew a correlation about conflict of interest with owners and law firms. Instead of hitting that straight on, Goodell seemed outraged that Nichols would call into question the integrity of a former FBI chief.
- Show them you’re sweating. Speaking of Nichols, she really got under the Commish’s skin (which seems to be getting thinner by the day). You could tell his anger simply by his facial expression. You could also hear it in his voice when he tersely repeated her name, Rachel, when addressing her. I’m thinking there’s not going to be a Christmas basket sent from him to her this year.
- Pick a time when you might be least hurt. How about holding a press conference on a Friday afternoon? That way, sports radio can’t blast it the next day. College football and NFL games take place over on the weekend. By Monday, it’s horror will have dissipated. This one may not…
Heck, throw in a clown from the Howard Stern show that makes a scene right in the middle of the press conference and is dragged away screaming “Not the elevator…don’t take me to the elevator!” (Mocking the ray Rice elevator incident) and you have the makings of a huge calamity. That was a nice scene…NFL bouncers dragging someone away in front of the nation.
Crisis communications is critical after a catastrophe. Ask former BP CEO Tony Hayward who publicly exclaimed that he only wanted to “get my life back” after the Gulf oil spill. He is toiling somewhere in Siberia now and it took BP years to regain its reputation. This press conference (Goodell was silent for the past 2 weeks, other than a CBS News interview) was a great opportunity to fix some real problems. Unfortunately, Mr. Goodell’s performance only exacerbated them. Football pundits and NFL players on Twitter widely panned it. The results are exploding in real time across social media platforms and television.
Crisis communications mean everything when it comes to protecting your reputation and brand. Your employees, your supply chain, your business partners, investors, and community count on you to respond quickly, be candid, admit mistakes, and express a plan. Although Commissioner Goodell did do some of those things, his ability to respond to questions with empathy and believability have deeply damaged his credibility. It will be interesting to see if he can survive this. In your business, you may not have the same chance.
Here’s one hint. Practice. If Goodell got advice, it was either not good or he didn’t execute well. You need to be prepared to face the music when it’s your crisis. Make sure you don’t get flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct detrimental to your business. Goodell just got 15 yards and maybe more for his…
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
I will be holding the inaugural Weedin Unleashed Summit event at the gorgeous Clearwater Casino & Resort in Suquamish, WA on Tuesday, September 23rd from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm. You will be joined by dozens of business leaders, professionals, and peers from the area to take part in this event. The fee is only $99. Space is limited to 75 people, so registering early is essential to assuring your seat.
You will hear me discuss concepts, strategies, and best practices from the information I’ve been sharing with you and from my new book, Unleashed: A Guide to Maximizing Your Career & Enriching Your Life:
- Identifying the “open gates” in your professional and personal life so you can take full advantage of all your opportunities.
- Creating branding and marketing prosperity through intellectual property creation.
- Improving your ability to be an influential leader and a more dynamic communicator.
- Best practices on how to better prioritize, delegate and manage your time.
- Best Practices on improving your work-life balance.
- A chance to network with your peers and enjoy a beautiful location.
Everyone in attendance will receive a free, signed copy of my book. The first 9 people to sign up will be my guest for lunch after the event to continue our discussions and enjoy a meal together! (Note – there are only a few of these left…registrations have been coming in!)
My opening at the LIMRA Conference in Bogotá earlier this month. For you speakers…open with a brief, humorous story to garner engagement from the audience.
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Last week, I spent time with my professional mentor Alan Weiss and my mastermind group in Miami. One of the topics we discussed was working on keeping your mind in the moment. If you’re like me, that’s easier said than done. Keeping focused on the thing you are doing without getting distracted is critical to crucial conversations, presentations, and relationships.
As I was flying back on Sunday, I tried something to practice. Allow me to share with you…
I was listening to my music and I decided to “be in the moment” while listening. Instead of allowing my mind to wander and daydream, I decided to focus on the music (by the way I was listening to Bruce Springsteen’s Glory Days, for what it’s worth). I focused on the back beat. It’s easy to just listen to the lyrics, but there’s a back beat to all music. I simply kept my mind on the back beat and tried to really feel it. It was excellent practice.
When you’re in a business or personal conversation; when you’re speaking publicly to a group; or when you are simply trying to get work done, you need to listen to the back beat. You need to be so focused on what is happening in the moment, that other things don’t distract you. Turn off distraction (e.g. emails); tune out extraneous items (e.g. stuff on your desk); and feel the experience you are in at that moment (e.g. speaking).
This is a skill. For some people, it might be easier than for others. For me, it’s a skill I need to develop (although my wife says I’m excellent at it when watching football on TV). I am using my new practice tool of music. Find something to train your brain. Being in the moment will improve every moment you have.
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Friday, January 17th at the Lake Washington BizEnrich meeting – Bellevue, WA
Title – 7 Strategies to Crush 2014
I will be giving a one hour presentation on how you can “crush” all your goals and objectives for 2014. In case you don’t know the vernacular, that’s a GOOD thing. Join me and many other business professionals and learn how to get this year off to a rocking start and how to keep it there! I will also bring copies of my new book, Unleashed!
The event runs from 10:00am – Noon at:
DeVry University – Bellevue Campus
600 108th Ave NE
Bellevue WA 98004
DeVry Bellevue is adjacent to the Bellevue Transit Center so we encourage you to ride Metro or Sound Transit if you’re a bus rider.
Please allow some extra time to find parking that meets your needs.
Paid parking is available in the lot directly behind the building. Park on the 3rd level and expect to pay $7 for 2 hours or $8 for 3 hours.
Limited free Street parking is available north of NE 8th St and south of the Transit Center.
Validated free parking is available in the Bravern parking lot in the block east of the DeVry Campus, as well as at the Galleria on 106th Ave NE. Patronize a business before or after Forum and receive 2-3 hours of free parking.
FREE Parking is available at Bellevue Square on either side of Macy’s. Walk 2 super blocks up the path next to Bellevue Art Museum, California Pizza Kitchen and the Bellevue Galleria to the DeVry Campus.
Contact me directly if you can attend so I can let the facilitator know.
Hola. Me llamo Dan Weedin. Como esta usted?
Okay, that’s NOT the bilingual I meant, but I wanted to take this brief opportunity to show off and grab your attention.
Being bilingual is critical to your success as an executive, business leader, entrepreneur, and sales professional. Unfortunately, most of you only speak one “language,” and in so doing leave others confused and money on the table. Allow me to explain…
Coming out of the insurance and risk mitigation world, we have our own special jargon. We like to talk about exposures, hazards, perils, exclusions, redundancy, and coinsurance. We reference ITV, ACV, BI, RC, BOR, and DIC. It’s clear to us, but gibberish to normal people. Unfortunately, I’ve watched professionals in my industry use terms and acronyms like this when speaking with current and prospective clients. To say this is painful for their listeners is an understatement. What’s worse is that important information is being misinterpreted and rejected because the message is flawed. They are speaking the wrong language.
I am on the school board in my community. In the beginning, I was inundated with academic-speak. I thought that insurance jargon was confusing. Hang around a school district for a while and you’ll feel like you’re in a different country! The perceived lack of “transparency” and communication to the public is really a misnomer. They are speaking the wrong language.
This affliction is rampant in all industries, yet gets pervasive when the content gets more complex. CFOs, financial executives, financial planners, insurance agents, and attorneys may lead the pack. In an effort to be influential, they lead with methodology instead of results; and speak in their language rather than the intended audience’s. The results are misunderstandings, frustration, extra work, lost time, lost opportunity, and stress. If you want to be influential, you need to become bilingual. You must speak in a manner that is easy to comprehend and clearly states your call to action.
So let’s get started on getting you a quick and simple Business Language 101 lesson! Here are my seven techniques to becoming bilingual and influential:
Translate your language into their language. Stop using jargon that only you know. Find other words to be descriptive. If you must use industry jargon, take the time to explain it. Drop all acronyms, even if you think they know it. If it’s highly technical, make it simple. You already have credibility; your goal is now results.
Strategic or tactical? If you’re speaking to the CEO or business owner, you need to be strategic. Strategic is the WHY. This means big picture; visionary; results; and ramifications. If you’re speaking to vendors, direct reports, or employees, you need to be tactical. This is the HOW. This means techniques, specificity, and instructional. Know your audience and what motivates them to act.
Be results-oriented. Too many of my colleagues get caught up in their methodology. Most people don’t care about the intricacies of how the car starts. They only care about the results of the car starting. Change your language to results — increased sales; reduced risk; improved morale; decreased drama; enhanced product. If you stay focused on results over methodology, people will be more engaged.
Become a storyteller. Since we were children, we humans have always cherished being told a story. This is even truer in a business environment. Become adept at taking personal stories and using them as a metaphor for a business outcome. I promise that people will remember your message more clearly if you have a witty story attached to it. The best speakers in the world always use stories. You should, too.
Add humor. No cheesy jokes; I’m talking about light and appropriate humor to add sizzle to your steak. Stories are the best way to uncover your humor. People learn when they laugh. That’s why advertisers use it. Have some fun and practice this. You will become an object of interest if you do, and that is part of being influential.
Limit technology. Only use a slide presentation if it adds value to your presentation through images. Images. Don’t fill space with bullet points and text. Don’t read to people. I guarantee they already know how! The focus should be on your words, not words on a screen. Simple graphs, charts and images can enhance your message. Use technology for good, not evil.
Call to action. Always leave with a call to action. Even in a one-on-one conversation, you need to be direct and specific about what you want to happen next. Never assume that your verbiage implied next steps. Be clear, concise and direct.
My professional mentor Alan Weiss espouses that language controls conversations; conversations control relationships; and relationships control business. If you’re going to maximize your influence in business, you must maximize your relationships. The best way to do that is to be influential. You can’t be influential if you’re not understood. Become bilingual by turning the complex into simple, and your results will be increased influence, enhanced credibility, and improved outcomes.
Hasta la vista, baby!
© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Follow on Twitter – @danweedin
This is a 5 and a half minute speech I gave as part of a Toastmasters demonstration at my Rotary Club last week. Here is what you can take away from it…
1. Public speaking can not only be effective for your business, but fun for you. You just need to practice, learn techniques and strategies, and gain “Stage Time” (courtesy of my pal, Darren LaCroix).
2. Humor is powerful if used correctly. Humor makes people laugh and listen. It evokes emotion and caring. And, it reduces anxiety and tension. You can effectively use humor in any business presentation, especially if it’s self-deprecating.
3. Record when you speak and put it on your You Tube channel. Get your message out to a broad audience so you can improve the condition of more people.
I hope you enjoy More…
© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved