A cautionary tale from the political landscape.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Anthony Scaramucci? On July 21, 2017 he was named White House Director of Communications. A mere 10 days later, on July 31, 2017 he was fired.
During his brief 10-day tenure he taught us valuable PR lessons in what NOT to do.
- The mic is always hot. Anytime you give a media interview assume all mics around you are hot and all conversations are being recorded. Better safe than sorry.
- There is no such thing as “off the record”. When speaking with members of the press assume all conversations are “on the record”.
- Reporters are people too. A reporter comes to the table just like you-they too have a job to do. Treating them with respect will make for a more pleasant interview and may lead to future interviews. Antagonistic tactics won’t get you anywhere except on the list of guests not to ask to return.
- Don’t make disparaging comments about others. During a media interview it’s best to stick to what you know—your funds, your firm, your stock picks, etc. Try to avoid speaking about others but, if you must talk about another individual or company refrain from making negative comments about them. Remember, you are being recorded and “slamming” someone else will only make you look petty.
- Stick to what you know. If you’re asked a question about a topic you’re unfamiliar with or know nothing about, do your best to bridge back to a topic with which you are Remember, you’re being recorded. If you make something up it is out there for all to hear so it’s best to know what you’re talking about.
- Be truthful and honest. This goes hand-in-hand with sticking with what you know. Once spoken, your words are on record and easy to disprove. You will not be asked for future interviews if reporters don’t believe they can trust what you say.
- Actions speak louder than words. Body language and non-verbal communications are speaking to your audience even when you are not. Remember to make eye contact, keep your tone and gestures friendly and non-confrontational.
Mr. Scaramucci’s time on the white house staff may have been brief but it wasn’t a waste. We can all learn valuable lessons from his mistakes.