Crisis Communications How To Respond to Charges of Sexual Harassment
Usually I am the one answering questions regarding public speaking here. But here is the question of the day and I am tossing it out to you.because I don’t really know what the best answer is yet and I want to see if any of you have the answer.
What would be the best response from crisis communication standpoint if you or someone in your organization has been accused of sexual harassment? This is obviously a huge discussion these days and has been affecting many different societies and institutions. I do not have the right answer but I want to hear from you.
Facebook Ads to Get Speaking Gigs
Here’s a question from one of my online public speaking students: ”TJ, quick question about speaking in general: do you need to use Facebook ads to get public speaking gigs or are their other techniques to get people to pick you as a speaker?”.
I am not averse to someone using Facebook to get public speaking gigs. Personally, I‘ve never gotten speaking gigs that way. I will tell you this: I’ve been in the public speaking business and have been training people for 33 years. I‘ve also been a member of the National Speaking Association on and off and have often attended their meetings for a quarter of a century. I’ve seen a lot of people trying to sell other people ways that can short circuit their path to becoming a professional speaker, and for the most part, they do not work. If you want to be a professional speaker, you have to actually accomplish something and you have to have ideas that are truly interesting and useful to someone, or you need to have some fame or a real following of people.
If you already have a great book, a great workshop, great seminars and hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook due to which you are already getting good speaking gigs and reviews, then sure! Putting out ads that are targeted at the people who already know you, like you and respect you would probably generate another half a dozen good speaking gigs a year.
But I’ve known a lot of meeting planners in my life, and I’ve never heard anyone say,”You know what? I was looking for a big speaker for our convention with a budget of 25000 dollars and I browsing Facebook and I saw an interesting ad for someone I’ve never heard of before. I clicked on it and I hired that person as a speaker for my gig”.
My advice before you even worry about advertising or marketing is that you have got to figure out what your core expertise is. What is it that you are uniquely qualified to speak to people about to give them true insights that are going to help them with their business and their careers or even their lives? That has to be the starting point.
Don’t Tell Me About SMART Goals!
Okay, it’s pet-peeve time: if you are a speaker and you have been asked to stand up and deliver new insights, don’t tell me about your SMART GOALS. There is nothing wrong with smart goals but if you’re over the age of seven and you’ve ever read more than two books in your life, chances are that you’ve heard about SMART goals from a gazillion places. So when someone stands up and says, “Let me tell you about a SMART goal! It’s specific and it’s measurable…”, what happens to me is that my eyes glaze over and I say, “Oh my God, I’ve heard this 10,000 times, let me just check my email”. And I am not the only one who feels like this.
I am not suggesting that every single word out of your mouth has to be a hundred percent new, fresh, and original thought. But don’t blindly use other people’s thoughts or acronyms that have been ground into the dust already because they’ve been used so many times.
Again, it’s different if you’re talking to second graders as they have probably never heard about this before. But if you’re talking any sort of an adult audience, you have to ask yourself: am I truly delivering information that’s new, interesting, and useful to them or am I just sprouting off ideas that they’ve heard a thousand times before.
Ban Laptops from Your Audience
I hate to sound like a dictator, but it’s time to make an official ban; a ban of cell phones and laptops with your audience when you are speaking if you want them to really pay attention, understand, and remember your message.
There is a new research that has recently been published by the New York Times which shows that the sheer act of somebody in an audience- whether it’s a classroom or anything else- typing on a laptop, not only reduces their own ability to recall, but it also reduces the attention of the audience around them. The actual clicking sound, people found it very distracting and because most people can type so much faster than taking handwritten notes, they don’t try to process what you’re saying either. They don’t try to figure out what’s most important; they are sort of mindlessly putting it all down and, of course, they don’t look at their notes again. So it becomes a mindless exercise.
I understand if you are meeting with a client or a prospect, it can be awkward telling them,”You can’t have your cellphone or your laptop out for typing down notes”. This is for environments where you can control things such as your classroom, or your own training session.
My recommendation is gently, kindly, with a smile on your face to do anything and everything you can to encourage people to put their laptops away. There is simply no evidence that helps them to retain information, and there’s a lot of evidence that suggests the opposite.