Medical Intern "Boot Camp" -- Life and Death and Communication
are as immediate as those faced by doctors and medical personnel with patients
in life and death situations.
prepares a doctor – particularly a novice hospital intern – for a crisis like a
simulation. Which is why the scenario-based "Boot
Camp" for interns at Chicago’s highly-rated Northwestern Memorial Hospital is
considered one of the nation's most rigorous programs preparing interns for
real life health care.
3-day program interns face several high-pressure situations. These include an
actual life-and-death scenario in an Emergency Room or an Intensive Care Unit,
and demonstrating effective communication with a dying patient played by an
actor in a session titled "Difficult Conversations." As the Boot Camp Director
said, complicated as medical procedures can be, interns typically have a harder
time with difficult conversations at the bedside.
specific to interns in this case, the latter two program elements dovetail with
what we at CommCore tell all our crisis clients:
are essential to crisis team building and for testing crisis response and
protocols in any environment or organization
be effective, communicators must be trained to develop and deliver messages
calibrated to a particular situation, and to the intended audience including
individuals, internal and external stakeholders, and the media.
Labels: boot camp, CommCore, crisis communications, medical interns, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, public relations
How to Stand Your Ground -- On Live TV
Elizabeth Warren, D- MA, recently delivered an object lesson in how to
effectively stand one's ground in a tough live broadcast interview.
We at CommCore will use this video clip as an example to our Media Training clients of how anticipation and preparation
can effectively blunt reporters’ agenda in a challenging live interview. Senator Warren
scored as follows:
was ready with relevant facts (and just a few). She used them to blunt attacks point-by-point based
on differing interpretations of those facts.
wasn't scared to scold back when scolded. "No, No, No, that is just wrong," she
interrupted several times when she felt the interviewers were misrepresenting
facts or trends, and immediately corrected them.
validated her liberal position by naming unexpected 3rd parties --
fellow senators who are conservatives and independents -- who agree with her in
was ready with an operative sound bite that was sure to stick: "If you don’t
fight for it, the chances are zero."
Warren showed passion, as the reporters acknowledged admiringly on-air at the
end of the interview.
Labels: CNBC, CommCore, media training, public relations, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Squawk Box
What does your handshake say about YOU?
Cliché: You only have one
chance to make a first impression.
Clichés are both true and
exaggeration. So, in the spirit of the cliché, we call your attention to
Company posting on
handshakes. Complete with videos and
examples, the online article talks about how the handshake is a critical part
of job interviews, first meetings with clients and normal social
The handshake is part of what communications trainers
talk about as the critical non-verbals – eye contact, posture, gestures,
clothing, facial expressions – that are part of the critical component of the
At CommCore we
have often used statistics from an Albert Mehrabian’s Silent Messages that
argues that up to 55% of what the audience receives in communications is body
language. A recent tongue-in-cheek video entitled, “Busting the
Mehrabian Myth” suggests that 55% is overblown.
it’s 55% or 20% or somewhere in between, the reality is that how we come across
through body language and voice tone is critical to our credibility and what
others think about us.
on, don’t you notice when someone has a strong, convincing handshake AND they
look you in the eye when you meet them? Don’t you notice when all you get
are a few fingers and not the full hand? I do.
Labels: Andrew Gilman, corporate communications training, handshake etiquette, leadership development training, Verbal communications
Storydoing: Storytelling in Action
by Ty Montague in the Harvard Business Review commends the current trend for storytelling as part of marketing, sales and corporate reputation.
Montague’s article is a quick take on his new book True Story: How to Combine Story and Action to Transform Your Business
. He argues that storytelling doesn’t go far enough. Great storytellers convert the receivers and listeners into “doers” who then spread the word. “…when people encounter a storydoing company they often want to tell all their friends about it. Storydoing companies create fierce loyalty and evangelism in their customers. Their stories are told primarily via word of mouth, and are amplified by social media tools.“
Chip and Dan Heath have their definition of storytelling in Made to Stick.
CommCore agrees with Montague and the Heaths. We say it another way: When customers, employees and stakeholders receive information, they respond with 3 critical questions: So What, Who Cares and WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). The story usually answers those questions, but sometime we need to go the step further with a statement such as: Here’s why I told you that story.
We are bombarded with thousands of messages a day that quickly vanish into the ether. The stories are what we remember…and if properly told…act on.
Labels: Andrew Gilman, corporate communications, Harvard Business Review, How to combine story and action to transform your business, Made to Stick, media training, storytelling, Ty Montague
A Whale of a Controversy
didn't wait to fight back against a documentary film released today that claims
whales in captivity suffer physical and mental stress because of confinement.
The park’s entertainment division pre-emptively sent a rebuttal to 50 movie
critics a week before the movie was to premiere. As a crisis communications
strategy it’s an aggressive move for a family-friendly brand.
or a misstep? From CommCore’s perspective as crisis communicators we see both
may get its side of the story mentioned in the press earlier, and perhaps more prominently
employees – including many well-meaning and respected marine biologists and
animal trainers – will be heartened that the corporation came out so strongly
in their defense
sponsors may think twice before having an initial negative knee-jerk reaction.
may draw more attention to the movie and the claims of cruelty (witness the NY
Times coverage, and the flashing "SeaWorld Reacts" button on the movie's website).
may make SeaWorld seem more like an aggressor than a victim.
may prompt the movie producers – and other animal rights activists – to step up
their criticism of SeaWorld.
watching to see how it plays out in coming weeks.
Labels: Blackfish, CommCore, crisis communications, public relations, SeaWorld
More Lessons from the Coaching Ranks
Over 26 years the brash Ferguson coached "Man-U" into
a British and European champion and a sports brand on par with the New York
Yankees. The low-key Moyes spent the past 11 years in relative
obscurity as the successful coach of smaller market soccer club Everton,
based in Liverpool…an excellent team on the fringes of greatness that never had
the resources to compete with the big guys in British soccer.
How did Moyes fare under his first media scrutiny as Man-U coach?
1) He was grilled on the future of Man-U superstar Wayne Rooney – a Ferguson protégé who is
in high demand by other clubs in Europe. A reporter finally asked if Rooney had ever "categorically" stated that
he did not intend to leave; Moyes replied, "I can categorically tell you that
Wayne Rooney is training fantastically well." Moyes cleverly seized on
the reporter's use of the adverb "categorically" to dodge the question by
responding with what he could "categorically" say. Point Moyes for recognizing
and seizing the semantic opportunity.
2) Moyes then deflected questions about Ferguson saying
Rooney told him he wanted to leave, by stating simply that he wasn't party to
any private discussions between Sir Alex and Rooney. Point Moyes, for refusing
to get drawn in to speculating.
3) And finally, in a particularly artful comment aimed at both the media AND Rooney, Moyes offered up the tantalizing prospect of Rooney matching or beating the record statistics of two other Man-U superstars, thus ensuring his everlasting legacy should he stay on. Point and match Moyes for closing with a statement that was both a widely-used quote for the media and a personal message to Rooney.
Moyes stuck by what we at CommCore advise our media training
clients: Don’t speculate, avoid answering "false choice" A or B questions, learn how to “bridge” artfully to a message point, and have a compelling closing statement ready that will
likely get picked up.
Labels: CommCore, David Moyes, media training, Sir Alex Ferguson, Wayne Rooney
Why are safety drills important? Ask Asiana Airlines flight attendants
One of the
top media attention grabbers is an airplane crash at a major airport with dramatic video of
the explosion and fire.
Airlines flight 214 smacked the runway at San Francisco International Airport
(SFO), it was all over global news in a twitter nano-second. I learned of it
within minutes in Rome while waiting to board a flight back to the US.
commends Asiana’s team on their performance under the ultimate stress
test. The accident should encourage all organizations to take a look at
their safety and emergency procedures. Also think about a drill or simulation
to test your responses and
internal and external communications. Crisis
plans are one thing; they work much better if they are tested and
Labels: " "Facebook, Andrew Gilman, asiana airlines, CommCore, crisis communications dc, Crisis Response, Media Training DC, plane crash, Reputation Management
In most cases containing
physical gestures is key to effective public presentations. Looking like a
windmill, arms flailing, is generally not recommended, at least in most
American public forums.
culture should very much be a consideration when preparing for public speaking.
We at CommCore train our American clients speaking in business meetings to hold
their hands in what we call the “ski pole” position – standing straight,
forearms at waist level with hands apart, relaxed and open. Move hands for
occasional emphasis with palms open, and don’t let your movements be so brusque
as to become a distraction.
But when in
Rome, should we not do as the Romans? When presenting in public in Italy or other
Latin countries, should we not put our fingers to our lips and exaggerate a kiss if
we approve of a point? Should we not raise our hands in mock supplication when
asking a rhetorical question?
In the end,
we subscribe to the ACA's conclusion in their report: "Remember,
communication always takes place between individuals not cultures, but
understanding cultural orientations will always help you become an effective
sure you know your audience.
Labels: American Communications Association, CommCore, gesturing, Italy, public speaking