We’re Ripping the Tape from Our Mouths

We’re Ripping the Tape from Our Mouths

When I was a child, my family lived in Geneva, Switzerland for a few years for my father’s job at DuPont. When I got older, my father told me that there were times that he was in meetings with people he had reason to believe were Nazis, which incensed him. He’d served in the U.S. Navy in WWII, so this must have added another layer of outrage for him.

I’m writing this today because I believe many people in business have shied away from expressing our views on politics and social issues publicly to avoid alienating people with whom we do business that might hold beliefs that differ from our own.

I feel as if recent events are compelling us to rip the tape from our mouths as we can no longer hold back. If I speak out on behalf of racial justice or any other cause that supports greater equality and respect for ALL people and it offends someone, I am not the trainer for them.

We each have to find our tribe. My tribe consists of people who love people and are anti-racist. Period. 

Lisa Elia, Founder & Lead Media Trainer & Presentation Trainer at Expert Media Training®This post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach, communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, internal and external presentations, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

Transparency, Clarity, and Compassion Are Needed Now More Than Ever

Transparency, Clarity, and Compassion Are Needed Now More Than Ever

We are living in a time of the greatest uncertainty that many of us have ever experienced. For most people, much of life beyond the present day is a question mark. Opacity and a lack of communication lead to mistrust and frustration.

The people who deliver clear information with genuine caring stand out and attract our attention. They represent the beacons of light, warm hearths, and steady presence that we crave at times like this. One doesn’t even need to have all the answers if a bit of direction, comfort, and confidence is conveyed. Some understanding of what lies ahead, even if it’s challenging, helps us to prepare.

Now more than ever people are seeking transparency, clarity, and compassion from politicians, business leaders, and others. What is needed is order in a time of chaos, calm in a time of crisis. We can also give this to the people in our lives.

Lisa Elia, Founder & Lead Media Trainer & Presentation Trainer at Expert Media Training®This post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach, communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, internal and external presentations, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

Reputation Management and The PPP Loan Disaster: How Some Large Companies and Banks Alienated Small Businesses

Reputation Management and The PPP Loan Disaster: How Some Large Companies and Banks Alienated Small Businesses

Reputation Management and The PPP Loan Disaster: How Some Large Companies and Banks Alienated Small Businesses — An Opportunity to Make Amends

Update 4/23/20 — Since yesterday, more of the large companies that received PPP loans have vowed to return them, including Kura Sushi, Sweetgreen, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, and DMC Global.

Update: 4/21/20, 3:00 PM — Steve Mnuchin said in a press conference that large companies will have to return the PPP loans they took or prove they meet the criteria to receive them. Harvard University will also have to return its $8 million PPP loan. More funds were approved for PPP loans for small businesses.

Update: 4/20/20, 6:30 PM — There are now class-action lawsuits filed against Bank of America, Chase, US Bank, and Wells Fargo.

4/20/20 – When the U.S. Congress approved the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) to allow the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to distribute $350 billion to small businesses in March, the criteria seemed to be clear. This was meant for businesses with fewer than 500 employees, most of which would have greater difficulty accessing funding to see them through the coronavirus pandemic than would larger companies.

On April 17, it was announced that Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (Ruth’s Chris) received a PPP loan for $20 million, Potbelly Sandwich Shop (Potbelly) and Shake Shack each received PPP loans for $10 million, despite each having at least 10 times the 500-employee limit for the loan and reporting annual profits in the multi-millions. As public companies, their financial statements are publicly available. Understandably, there are lots of enraged small business owners who did not receive PPP loans because funds were exhausted.

After I wrote the first draft of this article on April 19, it was announced that Shake Shack had returned the $10 million PPP loan they received. The company issued a statement that explained that they had initially based their eligibility for the loan on the fact that each of their locations had fewer than 500 employees. However, when they learned that other companies who could use the money more, they decided to return the loan and secure funding elsewhere. It will be interesting to see if other companies follow suit.

What Were They Thinking?

With no public statements issued to date in response to the backlash from Ruth’s Chris or Potbelly, people are left to speculate as to why these large, well-funded public companies, would apply for PPP loans in the first place. One might venture to guess that this was a decision made only with financial security in mind and without consideration for the potential damage to the companies’ reputations, let alone the damage to other small businesses that could not survive without a PPP loan. Such decision-making is very short-sighted.

The Damage is Already Occurring.

Some people view the actions of these companies in this way: there is a shortage of bandages and while some small businesses are bleeding out right now, some bigger businesses are stockpiling the bandages in case they need them in the future. You can read the angry comments on social media posts with hashtags like #boycottruthschris and #boycottpotbelly. There are also negative Yelp reviews about what people are calling a “corporate money grab”.

Banks Are Also Being Blamed.

JP Morgan Chase (Chase), the bank that issued the loans to Ruth’s Chris and Potbelly, is also receiving some blame from small business owners that believe these large businesses received preferential treatment in the PPP loan-decision process. Some are asking why these loans were approved and question whether the bank favored companies that owed them money. Chase is now experiencing its own reputation-management issues as #boycottchase is used in many social media posts from incensed small business owners that are demanding transparency about the bank’s loan allocation process.

Wells Fargo is receiving similar vitriol on social media with #boycottwellsfargo hashtags used by disgruntled small business owners that applied for PPP loans early only to be later notified that funds had run out. A lawsuit has been filed against Wells Fargo that alleges that they reprioritized the applications to serve larger companies before smaller ones.

Decisions Made Solely Based on the Bottom Line Can Backfire.

When a business makes a decision solely on financial gain and without thought to the effects of that decision on public perception or actual harm to others, there are often disastrous consequences. This is never truer than during times of crisis. Companies, or individuals for that matter, that appear to be overly opportunistic at the expense of others are judged especially harshly. At times like this, actions and optics are extremely important.

Appearing to exhibit corporate greed and using public funds meant for companies that truly need it to survive or appearing to favor your big-money clients can have high financial costs. Unless they do something very soon, these companies are likely to lose revenue from boycotts, reputational damage and, possibly, experience reduced stock valuations based on decreased revenues and negative media and social media coverage.

When Many Companies Are Giving, No One Likes a Taker.

With so many companies giving money, resources, and time to help others during this pandemic, anything that could be viewed as corporate greed seems especially egregious by comparison. As people share positive stories of companies quickly reconfiguring their facilities to manufacture much-needed equipment and products, donating money, food, hotel rooms, and other items to help our first responders and ordinary citizens to get through this pandemic, no one wants to support businesses that appear to be taking advantage of the situation.

There Is an Opportunity to Repair the Damage, to Some Extent.

While some people will never forgive these companies for their actions, there is an opportunity for them to repair their reputations and move forward with a demonstration of greater sensitivity to their fellow humans.

Here is a simple, three-step plan that Ruth’s Chris and Potbelly can follow: 

  1. Give the money back.

To some, this may seem extreme, but large companies that received PPP loans and return them immediately could repair damaged reputations and may prevent boycotts and future sabotage from an angry public.

  1. Issue a heart-felt apology with action steps.

The apology should include specific actions the company is taking to make amends and provide help during the pandemic and, possibly, thereafter. Shake Shack’s fast action in returning the funds and the company’s public statement about their initial reasons for applying for the loan and then returning it serve this purpose.

  1. Include public affairs/public relations professionals in decisions that involve public funding.

There is a long history of U.S. citizens expressing outrage over the use of public funds to prop up large companies. The decisions companies make in these situations are NOT solely financial. They have major repercussions. Companies should be proactive and include the right team members to offer different perspectives on the potential consequences of their actions so they can make better decisions in the first place.

The Banks Should Also Take Quick Action.

Chase and Wells Fargo should be transparent about their PPP loan application process. When I asked a representative of Chase on April 17 if they processed the applications of larger companies first, she said that they did. The SBA had indicated that these loans were meant to be processed on a first-come-first-served basis, so this was not the response I was expecting.

Chase and Wells Fargo can easily clear up any allegations of unfair treatment to small businesses by doing the following:

  1. Publish the loan numbers of the companies that received funding in sequential order.

They would not have to release any private information about the companies to do this.

  1. Explain how they came to the conclusion that these large, public companies should receive the loans that they did.

This is especially important given the fact that they are public companies with other sources of funding and they do not appear to the funds to keep their operations going and their employees paid during the pandemic.

  1. Be transparent about PPP loan-processing procedures going forward.

They should share a concrete plan that will ensure transparency and adherence to SBA rules regarding the allocation of PPP loans going forward.

  1. If they are in the wrong with their practices, they should issue a heartfelt apology.

Doing this before the truth is revealed when public records are shared by the SBA would be the best course of action.

Will it Work?

Doing nothing will surely lead to further damage to the reputation and, most likely, the bottom line of each of these companies. Some people will never forgive these companies for their actions and will do everything they can to destroy their reputations and businesses, but some will forgive them if they do the right thing.

Quick action, such as that taken by Shake Shack will put the company back in many people’s good graces. Many Americans like stories of growth and redemption, and they can be understanding when people admit to a mistake, especially when it was due to a misunderstanding. Some people hang onto their grudges, so there is little one can do about that.

The banks will have a more difficult time regaining people’s trust because people take their money and, thereby, their survival very seriously. In any case, repairing or minimizing damage and setting the course for a better future is always a good strategy.

Lisa Elia, the author of this article and founder and lead trainer at Expert Media Training, provides services crisis communication services, media training, presentation training, investor pitch coaching, and other communication services.

For a complimentary consultation contact our office at 310-479-0217.

Or, email us at [email protected]

Lisa Elia, Founder & Lead Media Trainer & Presentation Trainer at Expert Media Training®This post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach, communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, internal and external presentations, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

Four Steps to Prepare for Business Reopening During COVID-19

Four Steps to Prepare for Business Reopening During COVID-19

Four Steps to Prepare for Business Reopening During COVID-19

Now Is the Time to Plan for Changes in Procedures and Communications

With all of the adjustments that most companies have made to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy to focus primarily on the challenges in front of you. However, for business leaders, this is precisely the time to think about the shifts you will need to make to do business when social distancing mandates have lifted. You can take the same approach to planning for business reopening during COVID-19 that I use when working with clients to create both a general communication plan and the health-related component of a crisis communication plan. Communication planning is best when it is customized, but here are four steps that most businesses can follow.

Four Steps to Prepare for Business Reopening During COVID-19

1. Identify risk perceptions and misconceptions.

2. Identify actual risks.

3. Examine and upgrade procedures.

4. Communicate about upgraded procedures internally and then externally.

As you dive into each step more deeply, it can be beneficial to get input from team members at various levels of your organization through quick surveys or checklists. Here are the four steps with more detail.

  1. Identify Risk Perceptions and Misconceptions.

Go through every step of an interaction that a person might have with your business and consider what your customers or clients, employees, and others might believe are the risks to their health. These perceived risks may or may not be valid, but by addressing them properly you can help allay people’s fears.

Consider that many people’s attitudes about personal health and hygiene may be forever changed. During the social distancing mandates, many people will have become accustomed to the perceived safety of their homes where they can control their environments. When social distancing mandates are lifted their fears concerning the virus and germs, in general, won’t simply vanish.

A new, higher standard of hygiene will be expected by many people from all walks of life. If you question whether or not health and hygiene habits change with new information, consider the behavioral changes that people have made in response to scientific studies. To cite some examples of old behaviors that have changed: smoking used to be allowed on airplanes (and in almost every environment), bobbing for apples was a party game, and just about no one used to wipe down the handles of grocery carts. History has shown us that people can and do adapt to change and expect it when it protects their health and wellbeing.

  1. Identify Actual Risks.

Four Steps to Prepare for Business Communications After COVID-19 from Expert Media TrainingIdentify points of surface-contact and face-to-face human interaction that are required in your business.

Take inventory of items that might be shared, such as coffee machines in offices, pens, or touch-screens where visitors sign in at a business office, and the more obvious door handles, retail store counters, dining tables, and restrooms.

  1. Upgrade Procedures.

Now that you have identified risks and perceived risks, develop procedures to address them, and to enforce compliance with your new and existing hygiene practices.

If contact with a surface is necessary, determine how the surface can be cleaned in a way that is sustainable in terms of labor and materials. If phone apps, motion-sensor technology, or other methods of eliminating surface-contact are possible, consider them.

Regarding face-to-face human interactions, we will probably all need to follow the lead of health professionals once social distancing has ended. Of course, this will vary greatly from industry to industry.

Replace items that are shared with safer alternatives. For example, if you have a stack of coffee cups near your office coffee machine consider replacing it with an enclosed cup dispenser.

Determine whether extra staff members will be needed to uphold your new hygiene standards and how this you’re your affect costs, organizational chart, and training procedures.

Consider changing your hiring practices to find employees who have the psychological makeup to comply with your new hygiene practices, if necessary.

If you produce products, create measures to ensure that manufacturers adhere to your hygiene standards, such as occasional live virtual tours to see the production or packaging of your products in real-time.

Talk to your vendors to find out what they are doing to maintain or improve their hygiene practices.

  1. Communicate About Upgraded Procedures Internally and then Externally.

Once you have determined the changes you will have to make regarding procedures, consider how you will communicate them to your staff, vendors, manufacturers, customers, clients, and other people who will be affected. These communications can include:

      •  ∙ internal communications, such as memos and training handbooks and videos;

         ∙ vendor hygiene-adherence agreements;

         ∙ contract revisions and amendments with manufacturers;

         ∙ and external communications with customers, clients and the general public, such as emails, texts, social media posts, videos, press releases, ads, and content on your website.

Be clear about the changes you are making in your products, services, and/or procedures in an effort to protect people’s health. In times of uncertainty, people crave certainty. Be resolute about the things you can control that will affect them.

Four Steps to Prepare for Business Communications After COVID-19 from Expert Media TrainingAdjust the tone of your communications to meet people where they are in terms of emotional state and practical concerns at the moment and projected into the near future. Infuse your communications with warmth, hope, and the emotional components of your brand. Backed up with solid plans and actions, your words will have more meaning.

 

Lisa Elia, the author of this article and founder and lead trainer at Expert Media Training, provides services creating communication plans, media training, presentation training, investor pitch coaching, and video communication skills training.

For a complimentary consultation contact our office at 310-479-0217.

Or, email us at [email protected]

Lisa Elia, Founder & Lead Media Trainer & Presentation Trainer at Expert Media Training®This post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach, communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, internal and external presentations, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

How to Be Effective in Virtual Meetings and Presentations: Adjusting Your Communication Style

How to Be Effective in Virtual Meetings and Presentations: Adjusting Your Communication Style

How to Be Effective in Virtual Meetings and Presentations: Adjusting Your Communication Style

Adjusting Your Communication Style for Virtual Meetings and Presentations by Presentation Trainer Lisa Elia of Expert Media TrainingVideo conferencing can be an extremely effective way to hold meetings and deliver presentations. People tend to try to focus solely on the meeting and ignore distractions because their face is zoomed in on, they are probably less likely to be looking at other devices or whispering to someone next to them.

With this increased focus on one another and with the variation in the quality of each individual’s Internet connection and equipment, there are some shifts you can make to ensure your video calls and meetings run smoothly and effectively and that you deliver confidently and with polish.

Before Your Begin, Prepare Yourself Mentally.

It’s important to clear your head, get focused, and manage nervousness before meetings, interviews, and presentations so that you can be at your best. I put my clients through a series of brief exercises to help them do this and to warm up their bodies and vocal cords. For now, use some of the techniques you might already use that will help you achieve a state of being energized and at ease, such as diaphragmatic breathing, listening to music, and exercising to relieve stress and sharpen your mind.

Greet People Warmly with a Smile.

Adjusting Your Communication Style for Virtual Meetings and Presentations by Presentation Trainer Lisa Elia of Expert Media TrainingSomehow, most people look much more serious on video than in person. Greet people warmly with a smile at the start of the video meeting or presentation just as you would if you were welcoming them into your home.

How much or how often you smile during a meeting will depend on the content and tone of the meeting. Aim to maintain a pleasant resting face.

Don’t Show Shock or Awe Over What You See.

You will see someone’s home or office, which may be messy, cluttered, or more luxurious than you might expect. Someone may attend a meeting having made questionable wardrobe choices. Try to not show surprise, shock or awe over what you see as this could make them uncomfortable. A nice, simple compliment is fine, if appropriate.

Maintain Eye Contact and Avoid Looking Away Too Often.

If you have placed your webcam at eye level or slightly above, you should be able to look at the people you are talking to on your computer monitor and it will seem as if you are looking into their eyes. When in an in-person meeting, it’s normal to look away periodically to gather your thoughts. It’s okay to do this a little bit on video calls, but if you do it too abruptly or too often, people might wonder what you’re looking at and they may think you’re distracted by something that’s going on around you.

If you will need to look at another device or take notes, tell participants on the video call that you will be doing so, so they know why you are looking down or away periodically.

Listen Attentively.

The added challenge of voices being transmitted electronically and potential feedback means you should listen more closely than usual.

Pause More Often Than You Would in Person, Especially on Group Calls.

How to Be Effective in Video Meetings and Presentations: Adjusting Your Communication StyleSince there can be delays in video and sound transmission on video calls, pausing a bit more than usual will give people time to assimilate your message and to respond. Pausing periodically is especially important on group calls where different people may want to speak.

Zoom and other videoconferencing tools have features that allow people to “raise their hands” to indicate to the host that they want to speak, but with smaller groups, especially those with high-powered individuals, they may not want to “raise their hands”.

You May Need to Enunciate More and Slow Down a Bit.

If you tend to speak quickly or run your words together, you may need to enunciate more and slow down a bit to be understood well on video calls. This is something to practice daily. Elevating your communication habits in all situations will prepare you to be a better communicator when participating in video meetings and presentations.

End Your Video Call Clearly and Smoothly.

When the video call is coming to an end, clarify the next steps to be taken, allow everyone to say their thank-yous and goodbyes and then, if you are the host, click to end the meeting quickly. Know where this function is located on your screen so you’re not caught on video fumbling and searching for it.

Be Sure Your Communication and Presentation Skills are Up to Speed.

Whether you are communicating through video, by phone, or in person, the ability to communicate clearly, confidently, and with authority over your topic or material is what’s needed to succeed.

This is part 2 of our series of blog posts to provide tips on how to communicate more effectively when using video platforms. To read part 1 of this blog series, How to Be Effective in Virtual Meetings and Presentations: Preparing Your Set-up, Your Environment, and Yourself, click here.

To discuss presentation training, media training, investor pitch coaching, or video communication skills training, contact us at 310-479-0217.

Or, email us at [email protected]

Lisa Elia, Founder & Lead Media Trainer & Presentation Trainer at Expert Media Training®This post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach, communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, internal and external presentations, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

Avoid Sarcasm at Work and In Speeches and Media Interviews

Avoid Sarcasm at Work and In Speeches and Media Interviews

You may have read about a Harvard University study that was published a year or so ago, which stated that sarcasm can increase your creativity. As references to this article continue to be passed around by bloggers and others, people are often forgetting to include the caveats about trust in the relationship and understanding when sarcasm is appropriate (i.e., sarcasm is not always great at work), which were included in Harvard’s article on the study.

Like most forms of humor, sarcasm is better received when you’re not insulting individuals, but rather making fun of circumstances or human nature. This is true in one-on-one conversations as well as in speeches and media interviews. It’s better to save sarcasm for the people in your life who know you best and will know when you are joking.

Lisa Elia, Founder & Lead Media Trainer & Presentation Trainer at Expert Media Training®This post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach, communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, internal and external presentations, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

Panel Moderating Quick Tip

Panel Moderating Quick Tip

If you’re hosting a panel, it’s up to you to manage the audience.

If you open the floor to an audience Q&A, know that there will be some people who say they want to ask a question but then use their time with the mic to promote their agendas, rather than contribute to the discussion.

Be sure to bring the conversation back to the topic that the panel is discussing. You may have to politely cut someone off, but it can be done with grace. Simply say “thank you” and ask if the person has a question for the panel to refocus the conversation to that of the panel. The audience will thank you.

Lisa Elia, Founder & Lead Media Trainer & Presentation Trainer at Expert Media Training®This post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach, communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, internal and external presentations, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

Media Interview Quick Tip – Don’t Betray Your Beliefs For 15 Minutes of Fame

Media Interview Quick Tip – Don’t Betray Your Beliefs For 15 Minutes of Fame

Sometimes a TV producer or editor from a media outlet contact experts in the hopes that the experts will share exactly the opinion they want in order to shape their story. If you’re an expert, it’s important that you maintain your integrity and only say what you truly believe. Otherwise, you simply become a mouthpiece for others, and a few minutes on TV isn’t worth compromising your integrity.

Know your boundaries and maintain them.

Lisa Elia, Founder & Lead Media Trainer & Presentation Trainer at Expert Media Training®This post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach, communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, internal and external presentations, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

How to Deliver Dry Information with Style – A Lesson from Spirit Airlines

How to Deliver Dry Information with Style – A Lesson from Spirit Airlines

On a recent trip to Denver, my husband and I flew Spirit Airlines. If you’re not familiar with Spirit Airlines, imagine the most basic, no-frills, charge-you-for-everything airline you can fathom. That’s Spirit. Apparently, even a seat-back pocket to stow your goods while you fly is too much to ask, so there are a few bungee cords crisscrossed across the back of the seat in front of you to hold whatever is large enough to not fall through the giant empty spaces it leaves. The experience is so spartan that it’s actually kind of funny, and a sense of humor goes a long way when you’re known as one of the cheapest airlines around, as we were about to find out.

The pre-flight safety speech started out on an unusual high note when the friendly-sounding airline attendant said, “For those of you who swore you would never fly Spirit again, welcome back.” We could relate to that. After flying Spirit last year, I told my husband we should never fly it again, but when it turned out that a Spirit flight was our best option for the short 2-hour flight to Denver, we decided I would be okay. Clearly, we were not alone in our decision-reversal.

When the airline attendant peppered her safety speech with humor, even saying something to the effect of, “After you’ve adjusted your life jacket, check your hair and make-up, and safely exit the plane.”

I had a quick chat with the woman who delivered this fresh, funny safety speech. It was so well constructed that I thought it was written for her. She told me that she had written it herself and she had been tweaking it over time.

You can use some of the techniques that the airline attendant incorporated into her humorous, yet informative, safety speech. She…

  • added the element of surprise (e.g., making fun of Spirit’s austere approach to service);
  • lightened the heaviness of potentially dire warnings with frivolous details/recommendations (e.g., checking your hair and make-up before grabbing your flotation device);
  • and used a happy, bouncy tone, even when talking about serious topics (This worked because she began her speech with humor, setting the tone for the entire talk.).

Use your best judgement when incorporating humor into speeches. Avoid emotionally loaded references. If you’re not sure if your use of humor is appropriate, run it by a few people. Record yourself delivering the speech and then listen to it as if you’re someone else. Continue to modify it until you’ve achieved the balance of enough humor to keep people’s attention and enough solid information to effectively convey your message.

If you’re interested in improving your presentation skills, you can arrange a complimentary discovery call with Lisa Elia by calling our office at 310-479-0217 or emailing us at [email protected]

In the meantime, here are some other articles to read:

6 Tips to Make Effective Presentations

Memorizing Speeches and Interview Responses Can Cause Detachment

Six Essentials to Make Your Business Appealing to Media and Customers

 

Lisa Elia, Founder & Lead Media Trainer & Presentation Trainer at Expert Media Training®This post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach, communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, internal and external presentations, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

Top 10 Communication Tips

Top 10 Communication Tips

There is so much that can be said about improving one’s communication skills that we could be reading (or writing) forever. Sometimes you simply want a list of reminders. This is such a list. It’s taken from my Confident and Clear Communication program, which goes into greater depth on each topic with exercises and questions to help you explore your unique communication patterns and tips to improve upon the aspects of your communication you wish to elevate.

1. Eliminate negative self-talk.

Negative self-talk comes in many forms, including putting yourself down, diminishing your accomplishments, not accepting compliments, or beginning sentences with, “I’m just a…”. It is not productive, it is disempowering, and it reinforces beliefs you don’t want to hold about yourself.

2. Pay attention to your posture.

Changing your posture can instantly change how you feel and how you are perceived by others.

3. Replace criticism with compassion.

Criticism of others begins with a negative judgment you are making about them. Love and judgement can’t exist in the same moment. If you want loving relationships in your life, whether at home or work, transform critical comments into more productive communication.

4. Be assertive, not aggressive or passive: identify the differences.

Assertive communication is respectful, diplomatic, empowered and effective.

5. Read body language more closely.

Pay close attention to your body language and that of others, to achieve the most effective communication. Our true feelings and thoughts are conveyed through eye contact, the placement and movement of the feet, hands, hips, legs, and more.

6. Polish your writing skills.

Sometimes your written words create the first impression someone will have of you, and they could open doors for you, or close them forever.

7. Speak with power.

Make the choice to speak with power and confidence, paying attention to your vocal tone, fluidity and energy level.

8. Replace lazy listening with committing to the moment.

Becoming a great listener will improve relationships and can lead you to great success.

9. Transform arguments and address delicate topics sensitively.

Discover what’s beneath the argument so you can transform it into a productive conversation, and broach delicate situations with forethought and sensitivity.

10. Communicate to inspire, empower and motivate people.

Approach interactions thinking about what you can leave people with and how you can inspire, empower and motivate them.

If you would like to improve your communication skills or those of your team or clients, arrange a complimentary consultation with Lisa Elia.

Lisa Elia, Founder & Lead Media Trainer & Presentation Trainer at Expert Media Training®This post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach, communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, internal and external presentations, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.


Here are links to a few other articles you might enjoy:

Body Language in Interviews and Meetings – Nonverbal Communication

https://expertmediatraining.com/body-language-in-interviews-and-meetings/

How To Prepare for Presentations – 6 Tips for Effective Presentations

https://expertmediatraining.com/how-to-prepare-for-presentations/

Prepare for Media Interviews BEFORE You Book One

https://expertmediatraining.com/prepare-for-tv-interviews-media-trainer-tips/

Frequently Asked Questions about Media Training

https://expertmediatraining.com/faqs-about-media-training/


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