Mark Grimm

 

Why You Never Say “No Comment”

When you respond to a question with a “No Comment” you actually are making a statement: “I don’t want to answer that question and I really wish you had not asked it.” Whether it is in front of a camera or not, we all will be asked questions we don’t want to answer. “No comment” is not the way to proceed for many reasons.

(1) The phrase has a stigma attached. It makes it look like you are hiding something.
(2) It doesn’t resolve the issue for the questioner. That response only gets them more interested in the real answer.
(3) There is often a legitimate reason for not answering a question and you have an opportunity to explain what that is.

If there are legitimate reasons for not answering a question, prepare an answer that makes your case. Sometimes you have confidential information that you shouldn’t share and you should be willing to acknowledge that. Attorneys will often not answers questions regarding a pending case and should be prepared to explain why (lawyers frequently go over board on this and won’t answer anything just to be safe). Sometimes you do not have all the facts yet and answering a question could be a mistake. So how about saying, “We don’t have all the facts yet,” and explain when you think you might. Some questions are personal and you are well within your rights not to answer them.  Your response should be along those lines. If you really can’t come up with a good reason for not answering a question, maybe you should reconsider why you are avoiding it. If you are ever completely caught off guard to a question, there is one other alternative, say nothing. Otherwise, make you case.

Find more on crisis communications at http://www.markgrimm.com/WhatWeOffer/crisis_communications.php

Defining Social Media

Defining “social media” is the first step in truly understanding its impact and potential.

It can be narrowly defined as a “gigantic cocktail party(1)” or the “new coffee house(2)” where hundreds of millions of people are able to engage in interactive mass communication in spontaneous fashion at virtually no cost with no gatekeeper of the information.

This is a big deal in human history which leads us to a broader definition. In the mid-15th century, Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press created mass communication. For the next five and a half centuries, mass communication remained a one-way street.  While the invention of talk radio allowed individuals to interact with the source of the mass communication on an instantaneous basis, the masses were still largely shut out from the process.

Then, the Internet arrived. A British scientist, Tim Berners-Lee, saw the need for scientists to work together by combining their knowledge in a web of hypertext documents. The code they used was too difficult for the average information consumer so a tool was created, the Internet browser, to make the Internet accessible to everyone. With this revolutionary capability, new ways of using it flourished.

Social media became one of the most popular uses. Social media is fundamentally the widespread acceptance of the mass communication revolution from a one-way to interactive process. The consumption of information has exploded as social media has become “the new entertainment(3).” The great challenge is to manage this explosion in a way that works for you.

The social, business, political, and cultural implications of this mass embrace are profound. It has recast how we shape one of our most vital concerns —- our relationships with others. Since these relationships profoundly affect our lives, careers, how we govern, our freedoms, and our causes, it is critical we each understand social media and have a plan to maximize its use. Those that do will have more success and have a greater chance at a happier life. What’s your plan?

1-Dave Maskin, 2- Dick Taylor, 3-Arianna Huffington

911’s Enduring Legacy – “When You Fall, Someone Will Catch You”

There were so many profound 911 ceremonies this weekend any number of them could be singled out. In my hometown, Guilderland police officer Dave Romano gave his firsthand account of 911 at the Crossgates Mall ceremony attended by many brave Guilderland police and fire personnel.

Romano raced to the scene as a volunteer the moment he saw the second Tower collapse. Late that night, as he watched NY City firefighters dig through the rubble encasing a fire truck, the man next to him said his brother worked on the truck. As the man clung to faint hope, he continually thanked Romano for coming to help. Officer Romano could not believe he was being thanked given the sacrifice that had been forced upon that man.

At the 911 ceremony in New York City, a victim’s family member said the last 10 years have taught her this about America, “When you fall, someone will catch you.”

These stories, one local, one from a distance, reflect 911’s enduring legacy. There is no weapon that can obliterate kindness, no terrorist act can eliminate brotherhood. The terrorists never anticipated what would come to be. Though their heinous attack was a crippling blow, we are now more alert, more appreciative of the power of a helping hand, and have a stronger resolve in defeating the forces of evil. In that sense, we are a stronger nation now.

Do You Wear a Hood to a Mixer? Why a Photo is Needed on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most popular social media site for professionals. It’s about networking to build relationships, gain exposure and attract business. Yet, when you glance over the list of LinkedIn names, it is astonishing to see how many people don’t post their photos.

Are you one of them?

If so, please allow me this straightforward question: Do you wear a hood to a networking mixer? Isn’t LinkedIn an online mixer? The reasons for not posting vary. “I’m a private person,” “I don’t like the way I look,” “I want people to judge me on my credentials,” etc. I understand the emotional aspects of these reservations. But sometimes we have to let our head take over. Ask yourself, when you are browsing, are you more likely to notice a name with a photo or no photo? Exactly, my point.

A photo also helps to identify people who have the same name as a thousand other people (often, the profiles are so skimpy you can’t tell).

Hey, we all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to looks. Highlight your strengths, minimize your weaknesses. We live in a visual world. You must have a good photo today in business. Business is about relationships…relationships with people. Put a personal face of who you are. A photo is needed anyway for your website or any other promotional material. Get a good one that reveals your true self. Remember, as Charles Gordy put it, “a smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks.”

You want to be found. A photo helps do that. It helps build trust because you become less mysterious and more human. It shows you are willing to reveal yourself as you ask others to do the same.

So please reconsider. Show us what you got!

http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=h-gnav-name-link-0