Michael Dodd Communications http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com Become An Inspirational Communicator Wed, 11 Apr 2018 07:37:36 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 DEALING WITH FASTER TOUGH QUESTIONS http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/3482-2/ http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/3482-2/#respond Wed, 11 Apr 2018 07:36:53 +0000 http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/?p=3482 The world of business is changing faster than ever before, which means…
…tough new questions can be thrown at you and your team – and members of business leaders’ groups that you run or belong to – more quickly and more often than ever before.
The answers given by you and your team – from impressive ones through to pathetic ones – can be conveyed around the office, around the business community and around the planet more speedily than ever before.



This happens with answers conveyed through mobile phones, email, social media and – with answers to big scary monster questions from journalists – on 24-hour news as well.
Business leaders from Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and others find that when something goes terribly wrong, their answers to tough questions make it big on 24-hour news.


Chairs of business leaders’ groups – and those near or at the top of companies who belong to these groups – are in an excellent position of observe how the toughest questions for any organisation typically rise to the top.
These questions can be painful enough to explain why – in the robust world of Australian journalism where I hail from – they’re known as “blowtorch-on-the-belly” questions.




My ongoing surveys among members of business leaders’ groups show that the toughest of “blowtorch-on-the-belly” questions tend to come in this order: from prospects, from clients/customers and from those within the business leader’s own team.
In line with this, the toughest questions for the chairs of business leaders’ groups often come from hesitant prospective new members.


A typical question for a chair of a business leaders’ group is: “How can I possibly afford to give up a day a month of my time running my company to spend it with you and your members?”
(I regularly help the chairs come up with their own individual dazzling answers to this question.)
But in the immediate world of business leaders’ groups in the United Kingdom, the toughest questions for group chairs are likely to come from their existing members.
This follows the acquisition of one highly successful business leaders’ group organisations in the United Kingdom by another – larger – highly successful business leaders’ group organisation which is more globally spread.
So this is, and will continue to, prompt questions from existing members of both groups and those in other business leaders’ groups as they digest news about the acquisition.
These questions to the chairs of business leaders’ groups include:

  • Why should I carry on my membership of a group which has suddenly changed hands and changed name?


  • Why do we need to be joined by all these other new members and groups?


  • How different will our group be in the future as a result of this acquisition?


  • What’s the significance of the fact that the two different organisations involved in the takeover charge members different amounts to belong?


  • Does this reduction in competition mean that membership fees will be higher and less affordable in the future for all business leaders groups?



At the heart of giving great answers to these blowtorch-on-the-belly questions is an honest, positive approach.
To help you maintain your positivity, here are five pieces of good news:

  • 1) Giving great answers to tough questions in the working world is a learnable skill


  • 2) There’s a methodology that can be applied to giving great answers to tough questions


  • 3) When you know the methodology and become skilled at putting it into action, you can apply it to ALL your tough questions


  • 4) The learning-by-doing approach which takes place within business leaders’ groups – where members and chairs are used to helpfully but robustly challenging each other – are amongst the best places to carry out such experiential learning


  • 5) Learning the art of giving great answers is also ideally suited to company off-site days



When it comes to giving great answers to tough questions your mindset is hugely important.
If you’d like some guidance on getting your mindset right, the additional good news is that the first chapter of the audiobook version of “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” can now be read to you free.
And it can be read to you in a charming Australian accent by a top international professional speaker!
The free chapter is called “Winning Answers Every Time”.
The company that produced the audiobook – Amazon’s Audible – has just put the chapter on “Soundcloud” which means you can listen free instantly without having to download anything.

You can listen here at:

If you prefer read the words yourself – in whatever accent you wish – from the written version of “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” you can look at the same chapter here:

If you’d like to have a chat about how sessions of “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” can run within your business leaders’ group or organisation call: 44.7944.952835.
There’s more about all the communications-boosting sessions for business leaders’ groups and companies to help participants become inspirational business communicators at:


In this column, I traditionally draw attention to examples TV interviews where someone does very badly in the face of blowtorch-on-the-belly questions.
But today I’ll point you to a challenging interview that involved some surprisingly impressive answers.
They were answers by the rising political star, British MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is frequently asked about business matters to do with Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Jacob Rees-Mogg is normally a pretty serious chap, as you might expect from a potential future Conservative Prime Minister.
But his challenge in this particular interview was to demonstrate that he has a sense of humour.
In a publicity stunt by the magazine “Beano” –  which you may be young enough to remember from its heyday – Mr Rees-Mogg was accused of masquerading as the comic character “Walter The Softy” who has similar glasses and hair parting.

Around April Fools’ Day, but not quite on it, the magazine accused Mr Rees-Mogg of a “clear infringement” of copyright and claimed he was being issued with a “cease and desist” letter.
You can check out the resulting BBC interview here:

I should stress that I did not media train Mr Rees-Mogg to give his uncharacteristically colourful answers.
But I can run master classes to show members of your business leaders’ group – or company team – how they can give better answers they do now.
And they can certainly be shown how to give answers that don’t sound as though they’ve come from someone called “Walter The Softy”.

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Overcoming Fear Of Speaking To Audiences – And The Media http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/overcoming-fear-of-speaking-to-audiences-and-the-media/ http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/overcoming-fear-of-speaking-to-audiences-and-the-media/#respond Tue, 03 Apr 2018 11:22:26 +0000 http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/?p=3475 This issue contains the amazing daredevil story – with video back-up – of a swashbuckling bearded Australian self-deluded superhero in action.

But first…

There’s one thing many people fear more than public speaking.

And there’s one thing many people fear more than doing a media interview.

It’s FEAR OF PREPARATION for public speaking.

And it’s FEAR OF PREPARATION for doing a media interview.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld makes fun of people who are fearful of performing in public!



But there’s good news on this.

If you know HOW to prepare – and you put that learning into action – performing in public can be much better than those nightmares and butterflies are telling you.





I find it’s often this fear of preparation – accompanied by not knowing HOW to prepare – that’s the real problem underlying those nightmares and butterflies.

In the one-to-one and company group training sessions that I run to show people how to tackle their public speaking and media interview challenges, participants are typically quick to voice their concerns about:

* Fear of losing it, freezing or of failing to connect when speaking to large audiences – or even small audiences

* Fear of being unable to stand up to tough questions – and even easy questions – in a media interview.

A few participants also express their fears about participating in the actual training session itself – before or soon after the session gets underway.

(If you’ve been on one of my training sessions, you’ll know they always turn out to be fear-diminishing and fun!)

But once participants know HOW to prepare they tend to be much calmer, more confident and – as a result – actually perform at a far higher level.

They need to know what’s the best content to put in their presentation or media interview answers.

They need to know what’s the best way to structure a presentation and their answers to media questions.

And they need to know how to deliver their words with the best use of their body and their voice.





One useful tip I can give you here is to put something really powerful and memorable at the start of your presentation – or in your first media interview answer.

This ensures you feel good – and entices your audience to want to hear more – right at the beginning.

When you put the right stuff at the start, this feel-good factor can remain with you throughout your performance.

And it effectively improves your performance along the way.





When participants in presentation and media interview master classes come to grips with the key elements – content, structure and delivery style – and they’ve applied them in their preparations and rehearsals – they magically feel far more confident.

In the process, they prove how right Franklin Roosevelt was when he declared, at the time of The Great Depression, that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”



You can re-live President Roosevelt’s historic performance – with somewhat blurry vision and scratchy sound quality – speaking confidently about facing the “fear of fear itself” during his first inauguration speech in 1933.







Anticipation of something scary is often more scary than the thing itself.

A swashbuckling bearded Australian self-deluded “superhero” rediscovered this truth when he took on the challenge of jumping off the tower at the end of the pier at England’s Bournemouth Beach.

But please don’t overdo your sympathy for the swashbuckling bearded Australian self-deluded superhero at this point.

He was jumping off the tower while strapped onto a zipwire! 



Nonetheless the self-deluded superhero did start to feel a little nervous just before the big leap.

He noticed this as he climbed the stairs of the tower on the way to the jumping off point.

It started to seem extremely high….much higher than it had looked from the safety of the beach.

And the platform of the pier and the water below, looked menacingly further and further down. 

The suddenly not-so-quite-so-swashbuckling deluded superhero had a flashback to something his psychology lecturer explained in a university lecture room in Sydney some years earlier.

This was something called “Approach-Avoidance Conflict”.

It’s where the closer you get to something scary the more you want to avoid it.

So the higher up the spiral steps the ever-less-swashbuckling self-deluded superhero climbed, the more he felt like running away from the challenge.



But the superhero knew that running away would have left him looking a bit silly in front of his teenage daughter who was poised on the pier ready to record the death-defying exploit on a mobile phone.

So he continued to the top.

He took some deep slow breaths.

He thought about backing down at this last moment.

But he jumped!

Of course, once he’d made the leap and was flying along the zipwire towards the beach, he felt so much better.

The deluded superhero was even relaxed enough to wave to the teenage video artiste while in flight.

He was just like those people who feel so much better when they’ve been shown how to prepare for a presentation or how to prepare for a media interview and – when it comes to crunch time – actually enjoy doing it.

The historic footage of the once-again-swashbuckling bearded deluded Australian superhero in action on the Bournemouth zipwire can be witnessed here:






If there’s one thing worse than watching a deluded Australian superhero in action, it’s witnessing the performance of fallen Australian cricketing superheroes struggling to answer questions after they’ve done something really thoughtless, really stupid and really bad.

In fact, the appalling recent unsporting on-field performances of those Australian cricketers breaking the laws and spirit of cricket by tampering with the ball have only been matched their appalling off-field performances at press conferences attempting to explain their behaviour.



To their minor credit, amidst their embarrassing pauses, stumbles and tears, the cricketers have at least apologised for their terrible unsporting misdeeds – though this was far from eloquent and not-at-all pretty to watch.

Of course, media training alone – however brilliantly delivered – may not have solved their self-inflicted problems. 

But it’s clear that the cricketers could have done with – and should have previously had – far more effective media training before being thrust in front of the mics and cameras.

And they should have had it long before this latest crisis erupted.

(Media training can have the virtue of helping sportspeople and businesspeople better realise what they should and shouldn’t do on the sportsfield and in the field of business, because it focuses their minds on how things will look to the wider audience if they get it wrong.)





The challenge humans have with success in any field of endeavour is that, while they develop and demonstrate their skills within their area of expertise, it doesn’t mean they automatically become good at communicating about their subject – especially under the pressures of talking to the media or a big audience.

It would seem the miscreant cricketers had little or no training in answering tough media questions – for if they had, the lightbulbs should have come on far more brightly about the importance of doing the right thing when being watched by dozens of cameras on and off the field.

When I media train members of professional sports teams, I seek to train ALL the team members as well as key officials.

And I show them how to deal with both easy questions (which they can, before the training, potentially still make a mess of!) and tough ones. 

Naturally the training should not be on how to put the best face on breaking the rules – and it isn’t.

But sportspeople and businesspeople should know general things about how to make the best of tricky situations and the importance of coming clean at the outset if they’ve done something wrong. 

It doesn’t look as though the Australian cricket team – even the now ex-captain, who should have had particularly intense media training – received much in the way of media guidance either before or during their self-inflicted ordeal. 

So the problems with Cricket Australia need addressing from multiple angles.



Along the way there’s much that others – in all sports and in all businesses –  can learn from Cricket Australia’s fall from grace.



For those potentially interested in learning how to give great answers  to tough questions by having guidance piped through the headphones of your mobile or computer, London’s City A.M. newspaper is recommending the experience.



The paper has put the talking book version of “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” on its list of the “BEST OF THE LATEST BOOKS AND AUDIO BOOKS.” 

You can read the City A.M. recommendation of the talking book at:


The good news about the talking book version of “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” is that if you’re not already signed up to Audible, you can listen from the comfort of your sofa FREE with Audible’s 30-day trial.

And if the City A.M. review convinces you to check it out, the details are on the Audible website at:






If you’re thinking of booking one-to-one or group training sessions to boost your presentation or media interview skills – or a keynote address for your conference or away day – you can discuss how they work on 44 (0) 7944 952835.

The author will be running sessions in “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” and “Presenting With Confidence, Impact And Pizzazz” in a range of places in the near future.

These are all closed sessions commissioned directly by specific companies, but you can take the opportunity of discussing such sessions in a face-to-face caffeine-fueled chat if you’re at any of the following places at the right time: 

Sheffield, South Yorkshire: Mid-April 



Torquay, South Devon: Late-April



Singapore, South Asia: Early June 



If you’ll be in any of these locations at these times and would to have a face-to-face chat, email  michael@michaeldoddcommunications.com to line up a meeting.

There’s more information on media training here: http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/media-master-classes/

And more details on “Presenting With Confidence, Impact And Pizzazz” here: 

Alas there are no future swashbuckling bearded Australian self-deluded superhero zipwire performances currently scheduled.

But as they are fun – like training sessions and conference keynotes –  they could happen without notice at any time on a zipwire near you!

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Apologise (If You Should) And Then Move On http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/apologise-if-you-should-and-then-move-on/ http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/apologise-if-you-should-and-then-move-on/#respond Thu, 15 Mar 2018 11:52:09 +0000 http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/?p=3463 Humans sometimes get things wrong, but…
… when we do, the really important thing is what we do about it afterwards.
If what you’ve done wrong warrants an apology, how it’s phrased and what you do immediately afterwards is vital to your reputation.
One of the worst examples of a painfully badly-handled apology has just appeared live on TV and is plastered across the internet for all to cringe at.
It’s agonising to watch.
But there’s much we can learn from it.


I’m referring to thirteen-and-a-half minutes of car crash television on Sky News where a now-suspended British football commentator apologises over and over and over for what he says was his “moment of madness”.
He was certainly right to have apologised.
And, as the one-time star defender for Liverpool Football Club and for England readily admits, he was certainly wrong to have carried out the action in the first place.
The action was spitting at the car of a football fan and the fan’s 14-year-old daughter while being goaded about his former team having just lost a match.
The “goader” was the driver of the other car who captured the incident on his mobile phone and put it in the hands of the media.
This was highly embarrassing for the “goadee”.
Whether goaded or not, when you’ve done something wrong, apologising is morally and practically the right thing to do.
But never let the apology and comments about how badly you’ve behaved go on for too long.


For everyone’s benefit you have to move on – verbally and then physically.
The big mistake after the football commentator’s initial blunder was allowing himself to be in a position where he had nothing useful to say after repeatedly apologising and continuously saying how bad, mad and stupid he’d been.
And he had nowhere physically to go while letting himself be subjected to seemingly endless questioning live in the TV studio about the incident.
It would have been so much better for him to have stage-managed his apology in a way that he could both verbally and physically have moved on.
For example, he could have given his total but succinct apology outdoors, having organised for a car with a driver to be waiting for him next to the interview spot.
This would have enabled him to conclude on something positive about how he would seek to make amends and behave better in future – and then carry out a dignified exit.
The commentator was Jamie Carragher.
He’s now been suspended without pay by his employer, Sky, until at least the end of the football season.
The interview was conducted on Sky TV. You may get the impression that Sky’s interviewer, Sarah Hewson, was instructed to – or decided herself to – ruthlessly squeeze every possible drop of emotional juice from the situation.
I’ll make some comments about her interviewing performance at the end.
If you’re hardy enough, you can witness how NOT to either give or extract an apology here:



Further guidance is at hand if you ever need more detail on how to apologise on behalf of yourself or your organisation.
This is set out in “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work”.
Focus on Chapter 6: “The Second Golden Formula – What To Say When Something Goes Seriously Wrong”.

The paperback version of the book is available on Amazon
Please click on the image for the link

You can get the new audio book version online through the Amazon company, Audible, and – if you do – I will read every word to you in the comfort of your lounge chair.
Hopefully I’ll be reading it to you BEFORE you do anything you need to apologise for – so you don’t have to absorb the advice in a hurry and apply it on the run.


If you’re not already signed up with Audibleyou can get the audio version of “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” FREE with Audible’s 30-day trial at: https://www.audible.co.uk/…/Great-Answers-to-To…/B078HHFJZ9…
And for those already on Audible, I have a limited number of secret codes to enable you to win A FREE AUDIO DOWNLOAD OF THE BOOK.
These secret codes are for early volunteers who, if they find it useful, are happy to write an online review of the audio book – or a part of it.
Your review can be brief.
To apply to win your free copy, please send an email requesting a secret code and write one tough – and preferably fascinating! – work-based question.
It can be a question you fear could be asked one day if something goes terribly wrong. (Hopefully it won’t go wrong, but it’s better to be prepared!!!)
Whatever it is, the Golden Formulae and other guidance in the audio book version will help you to determine what’s your best possible answer.
I will send the winners – the quickest to provide the toughest and most fascinating questions – your secret code to enable you to get your free audio book delivered straight to your headphones.
So if you’d like to be in the running for a free audio book then email your tough question to: michael@michaeldoddcommunications.com


Meanwhile, there’s new guidance on video on giving great answers to tough questions – thanks to the lively, friendly group known as the Xtend Network Executive (formerly the TEN network).
The group meets in the National Liberal Club in London.
When I spoke to a gathering there – in the David Lloyd George Room, named in honour of the former British Prime Minister – two courageous and good-humoured Xtend volunteers stepped forward to illustrate how answers to tough workplace questions can be dramatically improved in a short space of time.
The video are highlights here:



Finally, let’s get back to the approach of the interviewer who was grilling the miscreant football commentator.
It can be a challenge when you’re interviewing someone from your own organisation.
You don’t want to be accused of being too soft on someone because you’re working for the same company.
But beware: you can over-compensate. You might agree that on the occasion discussed above Sarah Hewson, alas, did.
It’s one thing to ask blowtorch-on-the-belly questions as they’re called in Australia – and when you’re interviewing someone in your own organisation you sometimes need to.
But it’s another thing to insert your own views unnecessarily in the conversation. This is never a good idea when you are the interviewer.
If you’re interviewing someone who admits they’ve done wrong, the audience don’t want your views about what they did. They want the explanation of the sinner.
So whenever asking questions for broadcast – and this happens more frequently with so many in-house online programmes these days – keep your on-air judgements to yourself!


When I was a journalist for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Sydney and Canberra, I sometimes had to interview other ABC people when our organisation became the subject of the news.
Amongst the most challenging interviewees was the dynamic then Chief Executive, David Hill.

It was even trickier when interviewing the first woman to chair the ABC, the late Professor Dame Leone Kramer, who possessed a daunting intellect.

Both were formidable figures. But I knew if I wasn’t tough enough in my questions, my ABC colleagues outside the studio would justifiably berate me for it.
So the trick is to be tough and professional – but not to overdo the toughness just because the interviewee is from your own organisation.
I hope I managed to get this right, and don’t remember any complaints.
But if it’s ever found that the interviews were less than well-balanced, I will apologise and undertake to do better next time – and then move swiftly on… by the way did I ever tell you about my book which deals with matters like this?

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Facing That Dreaded Resignation Question http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/facing-that-dreaded-resignation-question/ http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/facing-that-dreaded-resignation-question/#respond Wed, 14 Feb 2018 19:51:56 +0000 http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/?p=3458 Hopefully you won’t be asked to resign today.
But what if you are?
What would you say if asked the dreaded resignation question now?
You don’t have to be an embattled leader of the crisis-hit charity Oxfam to be on the end of it. (More on this later.)


You don’t have to be the embattled outgoing President of South Africa to find the question fired at you.



And you don’t have to be an embattled director of the failing construction company Carillion to have the resignation question thrown at you.



The media, your board or a disgruntled client could ask you the resignation question when you least expect it – and sometimes when you least deserve it.
How you answer makes a big difference to your organisation and your own personal future.
So it’s worth contemplating the resignation question as an exercise – however strong and admirable your performance.
As someone who specialises in preparing individuals and audiences to deal with “blowtorch-on-the-belly” questions, the “Why don’t you just resign now?” question is often the best hypothetical test-out issue.
Consequently, I ask people to resign with great frequency.


When I raise the resignation issue as a shock training question I often get surprisingly bad initial answers.
Sometimes people’s starting point is simply: “Er, yes, I will”.
Even if there’s strong moral grounds for you to resign, this is never a good way of answering.
Another atrocious answer is: “No, I won’t resign.”
While commendably direct and honest, it’s dangerous because by repeating back the negative term “resign” it immediately elevates the issue of your resignation in a way that you typically won’t do your glorious future any good.
Fundamental to great responses to the “R” question – or any other tough question – is to answer directly AND convey an accompanying positive message.
So a much more admirable approach is often something like: “No, it’s my duty to stay in post and make sure we fix the problem, take whatever steps are necessary to seek to ensure it can’t happen again and to make a success of Project X”.
But however you answer, it’s so much more effective, powerful and career-enhancing to plan, prepare and practise for it.
If you’re ready for the resignation question, then you are psychologically so much better placed to give great answers to whatever else they throw at you.


Whether it’s in a training exercise in a master class, at a conference, or during a one-to-one coaching session, being prepared for the resign question is a great way to get you ready for anything!
There’s more about the options for enhancing your approach to this and other communication challenges at: http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/michael-dodd-services/
So apart from booking your own coaching sessions or conference keynotes, there’s a new way of preparing yourself for tough questions.
Just lay back on your sofa, your bed or your office chair and think of… Australia.
Thanks to the Amazon company, Audible, every golden word of “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” can be poured gently into your ears in a soothing Australian accent from a top Australian international speaker and author!
The official launch of the audio book is on 20 February 2018.
You can pre-order it now at: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Business/Great-Answers-to-Tough-Questions-at-Work-Audiobook/B078HHFJZ9?qid=1513935634&sr=1-1
In this way I’ll be there to guide you through the whole book on your phone or tablet as soon as 20 February arrives.
But it gets better still. A FREE sample Is available immediately.
This provides an early indication of how you can come up with EVEN more powerful, more helpful and more impressive answers in the workplace than the ones you’re possibly giving at the moment.
Click here to listen now to the introduction: “Helping You Thrive On Blowtorch-On-The-Belly Questioning”:
And there’s more good news!
If you’re not already signed up to Audible, you can get the whole audio book on “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” FREE with Audible’s 30-day trial.
And if you’re someone who prefers important things conveyed to you visually on video then here’s a guy to show you more…



Now let’s get back to your resignation – or not!!!
There’s a joke answer to the “R” question.
It’s for bosses under pressure over whether they should resign over the latest fiasco to hit them.
The pretend answer is: “This situation is so serious that my deputy will have to resign.”
Don’t try it in your workplace!!!
But the joke reply has just been played out for real in the most un-funny circumstances amidst the scandal swirling around the besieged charity, Oxfam.
The DEPUTY chief executive (my emphasis) of Oxfam, Penny Lawrence, has resigned saying she takes “full responsibility” for the appalling behaviour of staff in crisis-hit Chad and Haiti “that we failed to adequately act upon”.



While Penny Lawrence deserves credit for some heroic honesty, I will leave it for you to decide whether it’s right for her to have taken the blame and how good you find her statement.
But do be aware that pressure is, nonetheless, mounting on the man who was her boss, Oxfam’s chief executive Mark Goldring.


So those who are at the top, or who are keen to get there, need the skills to give great answers to tough questions.

Losing deputies doesn’t make the tough questions or the problems go away.
But giving great answers at every stage of a problem helps a lot!

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Plan and Prepare For Your 2018 Communications Success http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/plan-and-prepare-for-your-2018-communications-success/ http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/plan-and-prepare-for-your-2018-communications-success/#respond Wed, 03 Jan 2018 10:38:54 +0000 http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/?p=3450 Planning and preparation can play a vital part in ensuring your communications success – and the news around the British New Year’s Honours Awards has helped underline this point.
There’s been general delight over popular decisions such as the knighthood for the one-time Beatle who is now Sir Ringo Starr.



Whoever drafted Sir Ringo’s nomination clearly did a great job – as did whoever put forward the idea of a high honour for the first British astronaut, the now Dame Helen Sharman.


Amidst the celebrations, the media spotlight has settled on a company that professes to increase their chances of successfully making nominations for British honours by helping people draft their applications.
The idea of paying a company to help write the nomination for the person you would like to put forward is controversial – and isn’t something I would recommend or endorse.
But it does underline the importance of planning and preparing properly in any case where communcations outcomes really matter to you.


In a BBC interview, the head of the Awards Intelligence company, Mark Llewellyn-Slade, declined to identify any those who have benefited from his team’s help with getting the words right on the nomination forms.
Though when asked, he specifically ruled out having given any recent assistance for the nomination of a drummer.
Mr Llewellyn-Slade claims that those who hire his services to help with their nomination applications have a success rate of 50% which is, he says, four times higher than the normal success rate.
It’s hard to verify these figures, but if we assume that they’re close to the mark, it does illustrate the point that when meticulous communications planning and preparation takes place, success is more assured.
Knowing how to plan and prepare for important situations plays a vital part in determining your success – whether it’s for media interviews, important business conversations or presentations to potential clients.
The gateway to communications-boosting sessions – in conference keynotes, smaller master classes or in one-to-one sessions – is here:

Let The Book Do The Talking

One of the joys of the modern age is that you can absorb a book without having to hold it while you make your way through it.
The world of audio books means you can sit back or lie back and have the book read to you through your phone or iPad – by the author, some other celebrity or even a movie star.
And now that 2018 is here, it can be breathlessly revealed that the talking book version of “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” won’t be read to you by Hugh Jackman.



Alas Nicole Kidman also wasn’t selected.



Even the three people in this picture below missed out.



They are Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, English Cricket Captain Joe Root and Australian Cricket Captain Steve Smith – spotted ahead of the final Ashes test match for the current series… presumably discussing great answers to tough on-field sledging at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Following agreement reached by my publishers, Wiley, and the Amazon company, Audible, the talking book version of “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” will be read to you by Michael Dodd (yes really!!!).
If you’re not already with Audible, you can get the audio book version free with Audible’s 30-day trial. 
You can download that and pre-order the “Great Answers To Tough Questions  At Work” audio book by clicking on this image:


The audio book becomes available from 22nd January 2018.

The English-Speaking Version


And I can report that the British sense of humour is alive and well in relation to the audio book.
When I told a British colleague that I had been selected to do the readings in recording studios in Central London, he kindly asked: “Will there also be an English-speaking version?”
Anyone who would like to suggest great answers to this tough question, please let me know.
Even politely worded potential replies will be considered!

Meanwhile have a ripsnorting 2018 wherever you’re spending it.


Keep smiling,


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Festive Message: “Christmas Means Christmas” http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/festive-message-christmas-means-christmas/ http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/festive-message-christmas-means-christmas/#respond Fri, 22 Dec 2017 08:46:44 +0000 http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/?p=3444 The magic of Christmas has struck.
It’s given us one of the greatest ever festive images!
And it’s arrived just in time for the Michael Dodd Communications annual Christmas goodwill message to you.
The image comes courtesy of three of the highest profile performers of 2017 when it comes to inspiring us – through their appalling efforts – that we can all do better with our communications and, in particular, that we can all give greater answers to tough questions.
The three who have enthralled us with some of their spectacularly misguided bad answers this year are:

  1. Boris Johnson, the comic British Foreign Secretary


  1. Theresa May, the embattled British Prime Minister who has given us that memorable statement-of-the-obvious: “Brexit Means Brexit”


  1. Donald Trump, the world’s number one critic of so-called fake news – and, who simultaneously, with his loose adherence to factual detail, has become one of the greatest contributors to fake news himself.

So here are the magic three represented in this single festive image!!!


The Festive Image Of Boris, Theresa and Donald

“Wait a minute!”, I hear you say.
“I can see Boris Johnson on the left of the double-headed jumper.
“And I can see Theresa May on the right.
“But where is Donald Trump represented?”
Aha. That’s where the Christmas magic comes in!
Donald Trump is metaphorically represented because the picture embodies his favourite topic: fake news.
Boris and Theresa – who’ve been at odds over many things during 2017 – never did pose together on the steps of 10 Downing Street sharing a giant “Christmas Means Christmas” jumper.
It’s fake news.
But it is very clever fake news.
The images of Boris and Theresa are actually waxworks.
They were part of a festive publicity stunt with waxwork models provided by Madame Tussauds.
(The giveaway is that they haven’t got Boris Johnson’s hair quite as artfully dishevelled as it normally is!).
But don’t begrudge them for that – as the photo opportunity was cooked up in the name of raising funds for the charity Save The Children.
If you need to be reminded of one of Boris Johnson’s most appalling bad answers this year, have a look at the Doddblog here:


If you need to be reminded of one of Theresa May’s infamous run of “strong and stable” robotic message sequences, check out the Doddblog here:


And if you need to know anything about Donald Trump’s erratic communication approach, tune into the news every night – or glance at his Twitter feed.



But, as you may know, what underpins most great answers to tough questions is positivity.
And in the spirit of positivity, let’s say a big thanks to all those who took part in Michael Dodd Communications master classes and conference keynote audiences during 2017.
Another big thanks to those who worked so hard at improving your great answers and other communication performances in one-to-one coaching sessions.
And still on the positivity, let’s also say thanks to all those who’ve to posted more than 50 reviews of “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” on the Amazon UK website at:
And more thanks to all those who posted reviews of the book on the international Amazon site at:

Talking Book Version Of Great Answers, Narrated By…

There’s much to look forward to on the Great Answers front in the year to come.
Early 2018 will see the launch of the “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” talking book.
Will it be narrated by Tom Cruise?


Will it be narrated by Daniel Craig?


Will it be narrated by Kylie Minogue?



Or will it be narrated by Michael Dodd?



All will be revealed early in the new year!
Have a great festive break and a ripsnorting 2018.

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How To Be Smarter Than These Stumblebum Politicians http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/how-to-be-smarter-than-these-stumblebum-politicians/ http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/how-to-be-smarter-than-these-stumblebum-politicians/#respond Thu, 14 Dec 2017 08:01:40 +0000 http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/?p=3437 Wherever your toughest questions come from, it’s always desirable to be well-trained, well-planned and well-practised for them in advance.
This applies to tough questions from clients, would-be customers, inspectors, lawyers, the media, job selection panels and beyond.
The alternative to being well-prepared is to say whatever pops into your head at the time.
Being guided by whatever happens to pop in is not a great option – however pretty your head.
Now, it’s statistically unlikely you will end up getting tough questions from a parliamentary committee – known for asking those who appear before them some of the toughest of tough questions.



But there’s much we can learn from those who do get called before parliamentary committees.
Sometimes it’s because those who get placed in front of these committees do sooooo badly!
In this issue we’re looking at two examples of British government ministers who’ve given especially appalling in answers in parliamentary committee interrogations in recent times.
One example comes from a guy called Boris Johnson.



He’s something of an expert in saying the wrong thing in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Boris Johnson does have the advantage of sometimes being incredibly funny.
The problem is that he’s employed, not as a comedian, but as The British Foreign Secretary.
This means that lives are sometimes at stake based on what he says.
Alas this is not so encouraging when you’re locked up in a prison abroad – in a country, like Iran, which is not know for sparklingly fair justice – and you’re dependent on the British Foreign Secretary to get you out.
More about bumblng Boris later.

Give Better Answers Than Downbeat David

Let’s first look at another government minister with great international responsibilities.
He’s David Davis, the Secretary of State responsible for taking Britain out of the European Union.
He has the disadvantage of sometimes sounding incredibly grumpy and fed-up when asked tough questions.
Mr Davis demonstrated this when he gave a series of stumblebum answers to the Parliamentary Select Committee looking at Brexit.



Given that it is precisely Mr Davis’s job to sort out Brexit you might think he’d relish answering the committee’s questions.
But when it came to answering questions about whether any economic impact assessments had been done into the effect of Brexit on various sectors of the economy, Mr Davis sounded as though he would rather be somewhere else…even, perhaps, in an Iranian prison.
His series of responses saying there were no such assessments demonstrated exactly how not to give great answers.
Mr Davis’s early answers consisted of saying “no” and very little else – which may be commendable for their brevity but not for their enthusiasm or inspiration.
If he were to be really helpful to the committee members – and all those watching his performance on television – he needed to jump in much earlier than he did to explain WHY there were no such assessments.
And given that so many were gobsmacked by the early answers – including the committee chairman, Hilary Benn (watch his facial reactions in the video!!!) – it would have helped if the more detailed response, when it eventually came, was fantastically convincing.
However, it wasn’t.
You can judge for yourself here: 


Give Better Answers Than Bumbling Boris

Meanwhile if you want an example of the dangers of not being prepared and saying something that seems to just pop into your head, Boris Johnson is the man to watch.
He’s just back from a trip to Iran where he sought to undo the damage caused through an earlier answer he gave to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs.
For some reason, which still remains a mystery, Mr Johnson surprised the committee by saying that a dual nationality British-Iranian citizen being held in prison in Iran had been there teaching journalism.
That may seem a pretty innocent activity in most places.
I have taught journalism in neighbouring Iraq on behalf of a United Nations organisation and that’s exactly what I was doing. No one seemed to mind.
But in Iran the authorities seem to equate teaching journalism with inciting propaganda against their regime.
The problem with Boris Johnson’s answer was that it didn’t take this into account.
Also it was very different from the government’s previously stated official position which was that the prisoner, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, was in Iran on a holiday.



The Johnson answer was also completely at odds with the position of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe herself, and her family who is campaigning for her release without having to go on trial by Iran’s revolutionary courts.
You can check out the bad Boris Johnson answer and more on Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s plight here:


The family and the British Government are now expressing hope that Iran will overlook the bad answer and allow Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe home in time for Christmas.
Here’s hoping this hope turns into reality.

Amazing Offer For Boris and David

This might give Boris Johnson, David Davis and other members of the government a more restful Christmas – and time to read “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” over their holidays so they can find out how to keep themselves out of unnecessary hot water in 2018.
If they make contact and ask for it, I will send them their own author-signed copy.
They can read the first chapter free on-line at:

Or they can get it straight from Amazon at:
You might think that making contact with big names like Boris Johnson are unlikely to happen.
But sometimes the universe works in strange ways – creating photo opportunities like this in the centre of London:


It would also be nice to be photographed with a free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe on the streets of London over Christmas.
Here’s hoping no further bad answers get in the way of her swift return!!!

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Avoid The Crocodile Jaws In Your Answers http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/avoid-the-crocodile-jaws-in-your-answers/ http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/avoid-the-crocodile-jaws-in-your-answers/#respond Thu, 30 Nov 2017 09:46:39 +0000 http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/?p=3424 One of the secrets to giving great answers to tough questions is to make sure you convey an important powerful message along the way.
But it’s vital that your important powerful message is on the same topic as the question you’ve been asked.
If it’s not, you can rightly be held up to ridicule.
This is fine if you’re a comedian.
It’s not so great if you want your answer to be taken seriously.
You wouldn’t want your reply to end up in the jaws of a crocodile – as you will shortly see can really happen!



To give the point more teeth, this e-zine contains two examples of how to get it completely, magnificently and spectacularly wrong – in the hope that you will be inspired to get it right.
Being perfectly balanced, one example comes from the Northern Hemisphere and one from the Southern Hemisphere.
Both, coincidentally, are courtesy of conservative politicians talking about issues relating to homosexuality (it might take a Freudian psychologist to work out why).
The Southern Hemisphere example comes from Australia – of all places – and goes to show that EVEN in the enlightened country of my birth, not everyone is a perfect communicator.
It arrives courtesy of an infamous member of the Australian Parliament, who represents super-hot far northern Queensland where they often see the world differently from the rest of us.
It’s known in Australian political terms as the “Deep North” – mirroring in some ways America’s “Deep South”.
The politician’s name is Bob Katter – or, technically, Bob Katter Junior.



When I was a political correspondent in Canberra it was always a joy to interview Bob’s father, Bob Katter Senior, who was cut from the same North Queensland cloth…. or pineapple, perhaps.
Bob Katter Junior was an outspoken opponent of the proposal to allow same sex marriages in Australia – which has since been approved by the majority of voters in a referendum.
So the tough question for Bob Katter Junior relates to whether he’ll become more supportive of the gay community in the wake of the referendum result?
His answer involved a technique known as “bridging” where you verbally cross a metaphorical bridge between your initial response and your powerful message.

Get Your “Bridging” Right


I teach the delicate art of bridging – in individual sessions, in master classes and in conference keynotes – but I stress that I have never knowingly taught it to Bob Katter.
So don’t blame me for what you’re about to witness… I was 12,000 miles away when he said it!!!
In Bob Katter’s case his “bridging” goes from expressing an unprecedented new openness towards the activities of the gay community: “Let there be a thousand blossoms bloom,” he declares.
This is a statement which seems to surprise himself – but then he “bridges” incredibly badly.
His message abruptly diverts onto the important but completely irrelevant subject of Queensland crocodiles killing people.
This is one of Bob Katter’s personal concerns and campaigning issues.
He even has this cartoon of himself reflecting it on his website:


But in the context of the question on gay marriage, the answer is a bridge too far!
You can check it out here – as an Australian TV programme makes fun of the Bob Katter Junior reply:



Was This Bob Katter’s Mentor?

Perhaps Bob Katter Junior was inspired by British politician Lord Norman Tebbit.


Some years back, during the time of a British Labour Government, Lord Tebbit was asked a question concerning government social policy.
He then performed what the BBC Programme “Broadcasting House” called “The Tebbit Leap”.
This was because he “bridged” so far in his answer that he concluded on the irrelevant topic of homosexual British teachers (allegedly) teaching what he called “buggery” in the classrooms.
For weeks afterwards Broadcasting House then played further examples of “Tebbit Leaps” from other politicians who strayed way beyond the questions they were asked.
Alas this was so long ago that I can’t find any reference to it on the Internet.
But I am happy to declare that for me Bob Katter Junior has implemented the most impressively appalling “Tebbit Leap” I have ever seen.
If Tebbit Leaping were an Olympic sport, Australia would have won another gold medal.

If Bob Katter Junior gets in touch I am happy to send him a free copy of “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” which shows how to bridge properly and responsibly in great answers.
Everyone can read the first chapter free on-line here at: https://issuu.com/wiley_publishing/docs/great_answers_esampler

Adjust Your Answers To Different Personality Styles

I’m not exactly sure how to classify the personality style of Bob Katter Junior – as, along with his father, the two of them deserve a category of their own.
But you can learn the importance of adjusting your answers, on occasions, to suit the personal preferences of different personality types of your questioners in this interview produced by Grant Leboff from Sticky Marketing:


Other videos in the Leboff-Dodd series on giving great answers are here: http://www.stickymarketing.com/category/authors/michael-dodd/
You can learn the details of how to do impressively legitimate and effective “bridging” in Chapter 5 of Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work.
Details of where to get the book online are at: http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/great-answers-tough-questions-work/
Meanwhile please do not yourself commit any “Tebbit Leaps” – or as we should now call them “Katter Leaps”…
… because you don’t want to end up in the jaws of a crocodile.
And let’s look forward to the day when the Australian media asks Bob “Blooming Blossoms” Katter about what should be done regarding gay crocodiles.
Keep smiling – but never smile at a crocodile!

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AVOID LOOKING DODGY DURING A SEX SCANDAL http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/avoid-looking-dodgy-during-a-sex-scandal/ http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/avoid-looking-dodgy-during-a-sex-scandal/#respond Tue, 07 Nov 2017 09:52:48 +0000 http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/?p=3419 The exploding series of sexual harassment scandals in British politics is raising endless tough questions for elected representatives:
“Did you touch the knee of X?”
“Did you grope Y?”
“Did you hug Z a bit too vigorously?”
These are becoming routine questions at Westminster and beyond – alas more so than “What’s your policy on…?”
The answers have frequently been less than impressive – giving observers of politics much from which to learn.
Take for instance the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, who – as a politician generally seen as having higher principles than most – has not been accused of any personal misbehavior (at least not so far).

Neither has the Prime Minister, Theresa May.
But I highlighted flaws in some of Mrs May’s robotic and avoidance-style answering tendencies earlier this year, so in the spirit of even-handedness I thought it fair to focus on Mr Corbyn’s latest responses.
Jeremy Corbyn had the spotlight put on him when a Sky News reporter sought to engage him in a surprise so-called “doorstep” interview in the street outside his home in London.
Alas Mr Corbyn didn’t cover himself or his Labour Party in glory.
The reporter persistently asked Mr Corbyn to explain why he had promoted 76-year-old Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins despite him having been reprimanded by the Opposition whips over sexual harassment claims.


This followed complaints by a young party activist, Ava Etemadzadeh.


You can see in this video clip that Mr Corbyn chose to ignore the reporter’s barrage of questions – and in doing so looked like a man with something serious to hide. 

Avoid Looking Dodgy During A Tax Scandal

There was a similar story with the latest revelations about alleged tax avoidance of the rich and famous revealed in the so-called “Paradise Papers” aired on the BBC’s Panorama programme.  
This programme featured a more bizarre doorstep “non-interview” in relation to allegations that the Conservative Party donor and peer, Lord Ashcroft, is avoiding tax by keeping tens of millions of pounds in the offshore trust known as Punta Gorda.


In an unusual variation of the media ambush, the BBC’s Richard Bilton and his camera team showed footage of how they traipsed around after Lord Ashcroft at the Conservative Party conference.
Lord Ashcroft eventually ended the encounter by disappearing into the gentlemen’s toilets.
But by refusing to engage at all with the reporter, he too conveyed an impression he had something to hide.
You can watch it here. 


Simple Guidelines For Dealing With Doorsteppers

Dealing with a media ambush like this isn’t easy, and it’s unlikely to happen to most readers of this e-zine.
But if you are ever the subject of a doorstep interview my advice is to engage with the media representatives, not ignore them.


This does not mean doing an unprepared on-the-spot interview – something I strongly urge you to avoid when guiding clients in media training sessions.
But you will come across far better to the media – and to the wider public – if you pull out a pen and paper and politely ask the reporters what it is they’d like to know and write down their questions.
My suggestion is that you also ask for the business cards or mobile phone numbers of all the journalists who are interested – and promise to get back to them as soon as you are in a position to respond (and of course make sure that you keep this promise).
It also helps to tell them why you can’t give an interview there and then – whether it be because of an important appointment you are late for, the need to do more research in the areas they have identified or whatever.
Giving the reason you can’t do an interview immediately helps take the pressure off, and allows you to be – and be seen as – more reasonable and responsible than those who run and hide.
Following these procedures enables you to come across as being interested and helpful – and allows you time to liaise with anyone you need to, seek advice if required and time decide whether you wish to do an interview or choose not to.
This will enable you to look far more gracious and comfortable on camera than Mr Corbyn or Lord Ashcroft did.
And in fact the more politely you come across the less likely the media will be inclined to run the footage of the encounter.

Tackling That “What Do You Do?” Question

While tough questions to you about sex and taxes will hopefully be pretty rare, there is one question which many people find surprisingly tough.
It’s the “What do you do?” question you can get while at networking meetings, conferences or in a lift.
Here’s some tips to enhance your “elevator pitch” reply in the latest video series from Sticky Marketing’s Grant Leboff.

Sessions on telling people what you do in a succinct, captivating and memorable manner can be run in a master class at your company away day or as an interactive conference keynote.
There’s more at:

Great Answers To Hot Scary Questions
With Help 
From A Movie Star

It’s hot, it’s scary and it’s about to hit the screen.
It’s the feature film “The Redeeming”.
There’s two reasons I’m writing about this extraordinary new movie…
The first reason is that the star of “The Redeeming” – Tracey Ann Wood – appears in a new Michael Dodd Communications video to demonstrate how to give great answers to tough questions at work.
The second reason is that to celebrate Tracey Ann Wood’s appearance in the video, there’s a sneak preview of the newly-released trailer for “The Redeeming” at the end of it.
If you’re brave enough, you can pre-order the opportunity to watch on-line version of “The Redeeming” from late December and view the movie where “bad memories will always haunt you”.
And bad memories will certainly haunt you if you ever give bad answers to tough questions in the workplace!
You will be able to see The Redeeming on the big screen in London and beyond early next year.
To see Tracey Ann Wood in action on screen in the trailer for “The Redeeming” click on the link below.

Before you get to the trailer, you will have the opportunity to see Tracey Ann Wood demonstrating how to give bad answers to tough questions – and how to give great answers to tough questions as well.
In this endeavour, Tracey Ann Wood is questioned by and advised by the author of “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work”, Michael Dodd – known for asking “blowtorch-on-the-belly” questions as only a recovering Australian political journalist and foreign correspondent can ask them.
Now that’s even hotter and scarier than “The Redeeming” itself!
And the video to help you give great answers – and show you the trailer of the movie – will hit your small screen now if you click on: 


How To Mentor Yourself With The Help Of Fritz

Meanwhile, for those seeking to become a better version of yourself, there’s a remarkable new free App that can help you.
It’s called the Reflection Questions App and it’s provided by my speaking colleague Mark Fritz who is a whizz at mentoring in the business world to help people and teams grow faster.


The App enables you to give yourself advice, though it’s based on the wisdom that Mark has built up while advising leaders in 50 countries.
You can find out more about it – with the help of a snappy little animated character called “Fritz” –  and how to get it at:  http://www.reflectionquestions.com/
It’s been splendid to work with Mark Fritz and his team in Spain to help one of his corporate clients implement a Transformational Leadership Programme – and to guide them in giving great answers to tough questions about it along the way.
And it was great to stay at Madrid’s Hotel Abba – yes, the Hotel Abba!



However I couldn’t find anyone in Spain who was able to give a great answer to the really tough question: Was the hotel named after a one-time massive Swedish pop group?


Like the members of Abba, keep smiling.

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WORDS ARE BULLETS; SELECT WITH CARE http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/words-are-bullets-select-with-care/ http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/words-are-bullets-select-with-care/#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:46:10 +0000 http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/?p=3341 Whenever you’re seeking to make an important point, the words you choose play a crucial part in determining your success or failure.


A one-time Australian politician once memorably underlined this point.


I don’t often quote the wisdom of elected representatives from Down Under. Some might say there’s not a lot to choose from.


But while I worked as a political correspondent in Canberra, the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bill Hayden, astutely observed that in the world of diplomacy, words are like bullets.



If we accept the truth of this, then it’s important never to leave the choosing of your words in a big moment to chance – even if you don’t happen to be a foreign minister.


Saying whatever happens to pop into your pretty little head at a time when you’re under pressure is not a great policy.


Rather you should plan for it, prepare for it and practice for it.


This is what I work on with clients when they’re preparing to make their point on an important occasion – whether it’s in a media interview, a cross examination in a courtroom or industrial tribunal, a pitch for a contract or a presentation.




One person who could learn from the wise words of Bill Hayden is the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond.


In a loose-tongued moment while on a visit to Washington last week, Mr Hammond uttered something he quickly came to regret.


In an interview with Sky News about the prolonged negotiations over Britain’s exit from the European Union, Mr Hammond described the EU negotiators as “the enemy”.


When you’re trying to strike a deal with your past, present and (hopefully) future trade and political “partners”, then describing them as “the enemy” is a bad idea.



To his credit, Mr Hammond was quick to express his regret and admit that he had made a poor choice of words.


And one has to realise that Mr Hammond had been under a lot of political pressure.


His gloomy predictions for how Brexit could work out have seen him likened by people on his own side in politics to the pessimistic character, Eyeore the Donkey, from the Winnie-the-Pooh books.



And one of Mr Hammond’s Conservative predecessors as Chancellor of the Exchequer had called for him to be sacked for being what he claimed was close to sabotage of the Brexit project.


The opposition described Mr Hammond as being like the disaster-prone Basil Fawlty on a holiday.



But it’s when you’re under pressure that you need to be particularly careful about your choice of words.


This is why I spend time with clients to help them select the right words and delivery style for the big occasion.


When we work on the words they need – and polish them to make sure they exactly reflect what they’re seeking to convey – then they have every chance of avoiding the kind of slip-up which Philip Hammond made.


There are always banana skins out there – and journalists will sometimes see it as part of their job to throw some in front of you.



But if you plan, prepare and practice for the moments in the spotlight then it’s so much easier to avoid slipping on them.


WHAT is said is ultimately determined by HOW it is said – and if you plan, prepare and practice what you’re saying in advance, and take the opportunity to have yourself critiqued on video and see and hear yourself back – then you can avoid surprising both yourself and others by what comes out of your mouth!


You can check out Philip Hammond’s ability to put his own banana skin under his own feet here:




Meanwhile, whatever the political sins of Philip Hammond, they pale into insignificance compared with Hollywood movie director Harvey Weinstein who is being accused of an ever-growing number of allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault.


There hardly seems to be a leading lady on either side of the Atlantic who isn’t claiming to be his victim – and various men have complained about worrying aspects of his behavior as well.



So once he’s drastically reformed at his rehabilitation clinic then he can start working on his communication etiquette.

If you’re accused of anything (which hopefully you won’t be), then replying with your fingers as Harvey Weinstein did outside his lawyer’s office – as captured by Evening Standard – is hardly showing the greatest of respect to your accusers.


Words have power, and so too does body language – for better and for worse.


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