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Confident Communications Podcast
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Confident Communications Podcast

Author: Molly McPherson

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Learn how to respond in the right way at the right time with public relations expert Molly McPherson, APR. This podcast is your guide for examining how communications can make or break a brand, organization, or leader—discussing the best practices in PR, digital media, crisis communications, and social media.

The podcast offers a mix of analysis of current events and interviews with newsmakers, communications professionals, and business experts from Molly's 20+ years of public relations and crisis communications expertise working for FEMA and heading communications for the cruise line industry.
95 Episodes
As organizations scramble to turn their in-person meetings into virtual events, the session moderators are scrambling as well, transitioning their in-person presentations for the small screen. For these presenters delivering an captivating presentation in person can be challenging enough, but now they need to compete with technology and distractions. On the podcast this week, twelve tips to help you perform a first-class virtual meeting or presentation.   © Molly McPherson 2020
The first half of 2020 has been a challenge to live through, let alone work through, so it is no surprise that the stress and anxiety of coping with the upheaval could be reflected in our emails. Too much of a negative tone in your emails means people may peg you as a sourpuss, add more stress onto your customer or colleague, and increases the risk the conversation may find its way onto social media.  This episode shares six easy-to-remember phrases to bring a little optimism into your email to help you to build or maintain a positive relationship with customers and colleagues remotely.   © Molly McPherson 2020
The month of June in the year 2020 will always be known as the month that racial inequality was recognized at a global level and discussed on a digital level like never before in history.  One area of the discussions that arose from this month -  the experience for racial minorities in the workplace.  On this week's podcast, Molly speaks with PR professional Cedric Brown about his work experience as a black man working in traditionally white-collar positions. From code-switching (alternating how you speak in conversation) to questioned work attire, Cedric offers a glimpse into the life of a professional of color.  About Cedric Brown Cedric F. Brown, APR, is a digital strategist with an interest in the intersection of racial justice activism and public relations. Find him being his most authentic self on Twitter: @abrothanamedCed   Listen + Subscribe Stitcher or Apple Podcasts © Molly McPherson 2020
In the week leading up to June 19, 2020, many communicators were faced with the question: to celebrate Juneteenth or not to celebrate Juneteenth on the company's social media feed. For big brands, the choice was an easy one to make: definitely.   But if you’re that lone communicator still agonizing over your organization’s silence on racism in the month of June—whether in its public statements, internal communications, or commitment to long-term action—you likely need more clarity on how to proceed.   On the podcast, why Juneteenth should not only be acknowledged but celebrated.   Mentioned on the podcast: [Episode 86] What To Say About the Lack of Diversity in your Boardroom Follow Molly on Twitter  Sign up for the soon-to-launched Response Kit. A resource for communicators who want help communicating the right message at the right time.    © Molly McPherson 2020
As organizations grapple with their responses over recent racial injustice issues, many boards of directors are recognizing the need to change policies at practices at the organizations they govern. However, one overlooked policy could bring the greatest scrutiny straight back into the boardroom - the lack of diversity on the board.   On this episode of the podcast, discussing how the composition up of the board reflects on the organization and sets the tone for future communication   Mentioned on the episode:   3 Steps to Take if You’re on a Diversity-Challenged Board by Mary Beth West, MPRCA Follow me on Twitter @MollyMcPherson.  Sign up for the Media Response Kit for Communicators.  © Molly McPherson 2020
A sense of belonging is a human need. People need personal connections to feel accepted and supported. Without it, the feeling of exclusion can create toxic environments at home and at work.   According to my guest, the key to these personal connections to feel accepted and supported can come from the traits, tragedies, and traumas of our ancestors for over 200 years in our cellular biology.   Rajkumari Neogy is an epigenetic coach and executive consultant who approaches belonging from a neurobiological view - how getting in touch with any deep-rooted trauma can help dismantle toxic work cultures.   Rajkumari has worked with my organizations worldwide, including HelloSign, Slack, Salesforce, Gainsight, Twilio, Google, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Wells Fargo, Cisco Systems, Facebook, United States Digital Service (USDS), Shuddle, HopSkipDrive, and Amazon.   In 2013, s/he founded iRestart, which provides expertise in the areas of leadership development and organizational epigenetics.   Rajkumari is also the creator of the iRestart coaching framework, the Disruptive Diversity Boot Camp, and the author of The WIT Factor: Shifting the Workplace Paradigm by Becoming Your Optimal Self.   Rate, Review, & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts   "Love Molly's podcast in both style and substance. She is emblematic of what every public relations leader should hope to be: completely in command of her subject matter and bold / brave in the way she conveys her wisdom ... A regular must-listen on my list of favorite podcasts."   Also, if you haven’t done so already, subscribe to the podcast. I’m also adding bonus episodes to the feed and, if you’re not subscribed, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out.   Subscribe now.   Links mentioned in this episode: The Biology of Belonging (6-week boot camp) Epigenetics with Rajkumari Neogy Safe and Sound Protocol Your Resonant Self: Guided Meditations and Exercises to Engage Your Brain's Capacity for Healing. Book by Sarah Peyton   © Molly McPherson 2020
The emotions are raw, the disbelieving television coverage from the protests and riots over George Floyd's death is fresh. In such a tragic and confusing time, one thing is clear - the actions from four officers from the Minneapolis Police Department created a nationwide outrage that spilled onto the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, and eventually, cities across the country. But did the department's response have a hand in adding to the violence or disorder?   In today’s episode, a three-step process for rapid response. Key communication tactics to insert into crisis management plans to help reduce the threat of a crisis, not incite one.   Mentioned in this episode:    We Work tweet in response to Molly McPherson tweet & Julia Joy reply.   © Molly McPherson 2020
For leaders, it's not always an easy task to figure out their employees' needs, wants, or struggles in their job, especially if there is a significant age gap. The risk of losing employees who don't feel connected to the leadership at a company is far greater if an effective line of communication is not in place. On the podcast this week, how to bridge the gap between leaders who feel out of touch with younger employees. Molly speaks with change management expert Colleen McFarland on ways that connect and engage digitally with their workforce, industry, and community in a way that reinforces their personal and company's strengths. About Colleen McFarland Colleen McFarland believes in building relationships. As an expert in change management, McFarland helps leaders prepare and manage for impacts that business changes can have on their customers and employees. In her book, Disconnected - How to Use People Data to Deliver Realness, Meaning, and Belonging at Work, she exposes a truth that cold, hard facts combined with compassion are what is needed to motivate individuals to do the tough work that change requires.   Listen + Subscribe on Stitcher or Apple Podcasts
“Like, what Chrissy Teigen has done is so crazy to me.”   That statement, in part, was one of the reasons why food writer and New York Times cooking columnist, Alison Roman, faced a severe backlash and a place in the Twitter Hall of Shaming after she attacked the business strategies of the face of the Cravings brand along with Marie Kondo - the best-selling author devoted to helping people declutter their homes and live by keeping the items that "find joy."   On the podcast this week, a recipe for finding the right words to write online when you have to eat your words.   Molly shares a 3-part framework for mastering an apology.   Mentioned on this episode:    What Alison Roman Wants (The New Consumer)  Chrissy Teigen response tweet (May 7, 2020) Alison Roman apology tweet #1 (May 8, 2020) Alison Roman apology tweet #2(May 11, 2020)   © Molly McPherson 2020
As the impact of the coronavirus quarantines forced many small businesses to close their doors to customers, many small businesses have served up news ways to continue to serve customers and expand their offerings. On this bonus episode of the podcast, Molly speaks with marketing expert Krista Fabrick, who shares advice for small business owners to help simplify and improve their marketing efforts during the downturn in business due to the pandemic.   Mentioned in the episode:  "3 Ways to "Market" During COVID-19"  Krista's online course with a step-by-step plan for taking marketing to the next level.    © Molly McPherson 2020
If you turn on the television or spend any time on social media, there is no doubt you've heard from numerous companies sharing their concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. The ad copy is heavy; the music - somber.  Now more than ever... In these times of uncertainty... As the doors may be closed... It's understandable that many businesses adjusted their advertising, voice-overs, and copywriting to show care and concern for customers during the pandemic. However, when does the somber template become overused and ineffective? When is it time to switch the narrative and tell your customers what they need to hear from you?   The answer is now.   Molly shares a 3-part framework for communicating precisely what your audience wants to hear from you during this phase of the pandemic, or for any crisis impacting your business. Mentioned on this episode:  Every Covid-19 Commercial is Exactly the Same by Microsoft Sam. 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Spring Update: Trust and the COVID-19 Pandemic Marketing expert Krista Fabrick shares strategies for small businesses to pivot during the pandemic. [Video] Krista Fabrick writes, "3 Ways to "Market" During COVID-19." Follow me on Twitter.  © Molly McPherson 2020
Podcasting has become one of the most effective communication mediums today. Whether it's a weekly internal program for employees or sitting in as a guest in an area of focus, leaders can utilize podcasting for optimal reach and influence.   On this week's podcast, Molly speaks with Kelly Glover, the founder of the Talent Squad, who helps clients get booked on podcast interviews to reach their ideal clients. In this episode, Kelly shares her tips for being an exceptional guest. About Kelly Glover Kelly Glover launched her media career as a Hollywood intern in 2001. She earned her stripes as an entertainment reporter, talent agent, and started podcasting in 2007. Kelly went on to host her own syndicated radio show in 2010 before transitioning into podcasting full time in 2014. In 2017 Kelly experienced the Jerry Maguire moment that led to The Talent Squad. With a single client and just one staff member, Kelly opened the doors to her boutique agency and hasn’t looked back. Kelly’s approach is less but better, radical candor, with a focus on harnessing individual prime productivity windows.   Listen + Subscribe Stitcher or Apple Podcasts © Molly McPherson 2020
As leaders and communicators head into month three of responding to the coronavirus outbreak, many are starting to feel the stress creating content.  I know I feel it. However, writing would feel far more overwhelming to me if I couldn’t tap into one of my favorite writing resources: my favorite writing coach, Ann Wiley.   Her workshops have transformed my writing, and now I’m sharing these valuable writing tips with you In this episode, Ann teaches how to write during a crisis to make your messages clear, compassionate, and confident.  You’ll learn how to balance communicating early and often in an environment that’s changing by the minute.   [5:06] Discover Ann observations for how writing has evolved over the course of her diverse career. [7:16] The value of communicators, specifically writers, during this pandemic.    [9:15] Tips on using the right tone in your writing. [11:45] How COVID communications have changed from the first few weeks to now.   [13:45] Learn how to address the specific needs of your audience.  [16:48] Ways to write more confidently.  [21:02] How should leaders write around a situation like applying for the PPP loan? [23:23] How do you write “I don’t know,” and should you even write in the first place? [24:30] How to write with clarity. [28:05] Is it possible to over-communicate? [31:30] Lessons we’ve learned from initial COVID communications.  [33:00] Ann’s top tips for writers during the COVID-19 crisis.    Mentioned on the episode:  Ann’s E-Zine Rev-Up Readability Workshop Ann’s Membership Site Get the COVID-19 Communication Response Kit - an online resource for business communications in response to COVID-19. Connect with me on Twitter.    Listen + Subscribe Stitcher or Apple Podcasts   © Molly McPherson 2020
With over 200 million people now using Zoom to connect (btw, that’s up from 10 million users from just a couple of months ago), this signals a major shift in the acceptability of using tech to communicate. If you’re using these platforms to conduct your business or for meetings, you’re definitely going to want to listen in on this episode. Communication expert Lauren Sergy spoke with me (on Zoom, natch) on techniques for presenting yourself in a polished and professional way during your video conference calls.   [6:28] Lauren and Molly talk about the shifts they’re both seeing in their businesses and clients. [9:21] Reasons why video conferencing is going to affect every business and industry moving forward.  [14:45] Tips for looking engaged and interested throughout the videoconference call as a participant. [15:54] Where to place your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, for optimal camera placement.  [17:13] Lighting tips using items you may already have at home. [18:56] How to set up an appropriate background for your videos. [24:23] Why it’s so important to make videoconferencing work for you sooner than later. [28:22] The best tools to invest in for quality audio.  [32:54] Should you be using a virtual background? [35:28] Acceptable times to choose an “audio-only” work call. [36:59] Why it’s important for leaders in business to up-level their video skills.  [38:35] Tips for appropriate clothing, hair, and makeup choices.   Mentioned on the episode:  Visit Lauren Sergy’s website and sign up for her newsletter for notifications for on her upcoming trainings.  [YouTube Interview] Managing your Reputation: PR, Social Media, and Coping as a Leader. Episode 58: How to Small Talk Like a Pro at a Holiday Party Get the COVID-19 Communication Response Kit - an online resource for business communications in response to COVID-19. What are your video conferencing questions or tips? Connect with me on Twitter. © Molly McPherson 2020
Yes, Virginia, you can still brand your company during a crisis.  On this special BONUS episode of the podcast, learning how to market, brand and skirt a crisis in the time of the Coronavirus. As the owner and founder of Red Fan Communications, Kathleen Lucente has tapped into her extensive crisis management experience to help build crisis communications plans and strategies for clients during the pandemic. However, she doesn't think that means there isn't a place for branding and marketing.  How to connect your brand with customers during a crisis.  Mentioned on the podcast Red Fan Communications  COVID-19 Communicaiton Response Kit       
In a time of crisis, most of us look to our leaders for both guidance and inspiration. In the turbulence of the current COVID-19 crisis, it helps to tap into the minds of former leaders. With over 36 years serving in the U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral (Ret.) Timothy Sullivan is an emergency management expert who knows his way around a crisis. On the podcast, bridging the leadership lessons from past incidents of significance to today.  [4:13] Ways that the COVID crisis compares to past crises Admiral Sullivan has experienced in the past. [6:25] Admiral Sullivan’s impressions of U.S. Navy Captain Brett Crozier’s choices when the story first broke vs. now.  [9:24] How communication styles of today likely changed the outcomes of Crozier’s decisions. [11:45] Admiral Sullivan’s take on how preparedness styles are evolving with technology and the lessons we can take from coronavirus. [14:20] Thoughts on empowering crew members. [17:58] Examples of flawed leadership from past crises and how we can improve in the future. [19:49] Admiral Sullivan’s advice on communicating with the media. [22:52] Crisis communication techniques that have stood the test of time.  [27:57] Advice for crisis management on the general level - like nonprofits or business owners, for example. [27:57] Advice for crisis management on the general level; like nonprofits or business owners, for example. Mentioned on the episode:  Episode 76: Torpedoing the Commander of the USS Roosevelt: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea Follow Tim Sullivan on LinkedIn.  Get the COVID-19 Communication Response Kit - an online resource for business communications in response to COVID-19. Connect with me on Twitter.
Molly McPherson, the creator of the COVID-19 Communication Response Kit, speaks with public relations expert Julia Angelen Joy from Z Group PR, about the best leadership values for CEOs to possess during the coronavirus crisis. Mentioned on the podcast CEOs Will Lead Way Through Coronavirus, co-authored with Jocelyn Brandeis. 
If someone is between the devil and the deep blue sea, they are in a difficult situation where they have to choose between two equally unpleasant courses of action. Capt. Crozier made a decision, and it wasn't "stupid" or "naive." Trying to torpedo his career, however, turned out to be both. U.S. Navy Captain Brett Crozier was fired after a leak of a letter he had emailed to Navy leaders detailing the service's failures in responding to a coronavirus outbreak on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. How will history view Captain Crozier’s decision? What lesson can other leaders take from this situation? In this week’s episode, I’m dissecting the chain of events that define leadership in a time of global war on a virus. [1:14] What was Captain Crozier’s “devil” and what was his ”deep blue sea?” [2:00] Hear a clip from Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly’s press conference.  [2:54] What is the chain of command in the military?  [3:24] Learn why I’m sounding the alarm on this matter. [4:46] Here’s the message that the firing of Capt. Crozier is actually sending to the public, and how they’re reacting. [6:24] My new leadership theory due to the coronavirus. [8:08] What could motivate a captain to sabotage his own career? [10:48] Here’s the PR takeaway.   Resources:  Get the COVID-19 Communication Response Kit - an online resource for business communications in response to COVID-19. Connect with me on Twitter.          © Molly McPherson 2020
You know a memorable quote when you hear it. You see it published repeatedly or going viral on social media, you have a quote for the ages. We are weeks into a global pandemic and there are multiple heads of organizations attempting to make their mark on this historic moment. How will they succeed? In this episode, you’re going to learn how to create a memorable quote plus hear examples of memorable quotes throughout history.   [4:31] 1: Write like people actually talk.   Learn how to be conversational while leaving out the unnecessary filler language.   [7:29] 2: Use memorable language.   Find out how to use your words to help paint a picture.   [8:52] 3: Avoid the hype.   Lose the hyperbole and focus on the facts.    [9:53] 4: Skip the jargon.   No one wants to burn calories struggling to understand your acronyms.   [11:38] 5: Fancy facts.    Sprinkle storytelling to add depth to the story.   [13:12] 6: Use this grammar style to attribute a quote.   Certain styles lend themselves to speaking; others to writing.   [14:02] 7: Consider the appropriate tense.   Different word choices should be used for something that has just happened vs. something that’s more timeless.   [15:33] 8: No fake news.   Keep it real; avoid the bias.    [16:58] 9: Boil down your big idea.   Here’s how you can make your message more shareable. Mentioned on the episode:  Get the COVID-19 Communication Response Kit - an online resource for business communications in response to COVID-19. Join the Slack community.  Connect with me on Twitter and let me know what quotes stood out to you most from this episode.  © Molly McPherson 2020
Adam Schwartz, the founder of The Cooperative Way, speaks with Molly McPherson, creator of the COVID-19 Response Kit about the best practices for cooperatives to follow during the first stages of the coronavirus crisis. Interview Date: March 20, 2020 Mentioned on the episode:  The Communication Response Kit ( is a free online resource for business communications in response to COVID-19.    © Molly McPherson 2020
Comments (1)


Gov Blanco is deceased. If you were IN #Katrina, IN Louisiana, you knew Gov Madamoiselle Blanco was working for US, Day ONE. I am ashamed of Sullivan’s reflections, which tout his ignorance. Why not address the communications to Regional FEMA HQ on HF that went to Tennessee and address the timeline of Sullivan’s entrance & his PERSONAL introduction to the disaster. Bets on post 3 days... With #Respect I disagree. Read a book Tim. #JIC #FEMA

Apr 15th
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