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Confident Communications

Author: Molly McPherson

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Public Relations expert Molly McPherson, APR, reveals the best practices help leaders become indestructible in today's digital age and crisis-proof their organizations. A mix of discussing current news events along with interviews with newsmakers, communications professionals and business owners while providing insight from 20+ years of public relations and crisis communications expertise working for FEMA and heading communications for the cruise line industry to help take the fear out of communicating in the age of scrutiny. This podcast helps leaders communicate confidently--in writing, speaking, body language, social media -- to be heard, seen and relevant.
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Imagine planning a press conference to address a widely publicized cheating scandal and rebuild your baseball team’s reputation. You’ve got your lineup set for what should be a home run, but you end up striking out. In this podcast, I’m dissecting the Houston Astros' failed press conference. The good news is it gives us a perfect example of what not to do. You never know when scandal may arise, so here are some pointers you can add to your reputation management playbook today.  [4:44] The planning.  This is the first question an organization needs to ask itself. [9:16] The optics.  How you should appear - and not appear - on camera. [11:53] The messaging.  Follow this framework to respond to any crisis. [17:33] The opening statement.  Here’s the best way to knock your intro statement out of the park.  [18:09] The sentiment.  Why you need to get everyone aligned with the same message. [19:44] The moral.  How to prevent a strikeout at your next press conference.    Mentioned on the episode:  Head to my website and scroll to the bottom to download “Writing a Press Release for the Digital Age.”  Connect with me on Twitter.    Listen + Subscribe Stitcher or Apple Podcasts © Molly McPherson 2020  
Where do you do most of your communicating in your work and in your life? Chances are it’s mostly email and text. You’ve probably noticed that some correspondence sounds confident and some make you want to say “get to the point already.” In this episode, I’m going to cover the five words and five phrases to get rid of in your emails to make them more concise and direct.  [3:41] Filler word 1.  Unless this is an apology email, don’t use this word. [4:22] Filler word 2. Taking this word out makes people pay closer attention to your email.  [5:08] Filler word 3.  Instead of using this word, be specific. [5:40] Filler word 4.  Taking it out will add confidence and conviction. [6:06] Filler word 5.  It comes across as snappy and rude.  [7:07] Filler phrase 1.  Avoid these and choose an imperative voice instead. [7:31] Filler phrase 2.  It’s a nice sentiment, but not necessary.  [8:08] Filler phrase 3.  The cliche of cliches of emails. Don’t do it. [8:25] Filler phrase 4.  This one’s too soft.  [8:38] Filler phrase 5.  Instead of this, use a better option for scheduling appointments.   Mentioned on the episode:  Calendly appointment scheduling software Get on my email list HERE.  Episode 2: How to Get a Handle on Filler Words in Your Vocabulary  How to Leave a Rating and Review on Apple Podcasts Which words and phrases are you dropping immediately? Let me know on Twitter. You can also find me on Instagram. © Molly McPherson 2020
When is the last time you updated your passwords? If you answered never or not sure, take a listen to this episode for tips on how to protect your online identity.     Cybersecurity breaches are a real threat to many businesses big and small. But don’t be lulled into thinking it’s only happening to companies. Private citizens are not taking cyber risk seriously and it’s costing people dearly.  Did you know that in 2019 the number of publicly disclosed breaches was 3800? Or that 4.1 billion records were exposed? No one is immune to the risks. Banks, Facebook, universities, and online gaming have all been victims of major hacks, and it has cost people billions of dollars. Don’t roll the dice on your online safety.  Keep listening to find out how to keep your online information safe. [1:37] Tip 1: Passwords Things like your kids' names or the street you live on are weak passwords. Find out how to make a stronger password using phrases and characters, and my top password managers for help remembering them all.  [3:09] Tip 2: Operating Systems Yes it’s a hassle, and people like to wait because they can be “glitchy” at first, but I’ll explain why it’s actually a really good idea to get in the habit of updating them regularly. (Hint: Cyberattacks.) [3:49] Tip 3: Wireless networks Your network needs a password, and this is another one you should update often, just in case you have people come over who might ask for it. Find out the one word I recommend never using for network security.  [4:44] Tip 4: Open WiFi networks  It’s easy to hop on the free WiFi at hotels, airports, and libraries, but if the network is open without a password you don’t want to use it. Find out my other go-to solutions for WiFi while traveling that are much safer than these open and free networks. It’s definitely worth the small investment to keep your data safe.  [5:18] Tip 5: Privacy settings  Hackers can get into your data just by being in close proximity to you. Here’s what to check in your privacy settings to see what you could be unintentionally sharing.  [5:38] Tip 6: Device wiping Do you know what will happen if you lose your device? If you have passwords and files stored in there they could end up in the wrong hands. Find out how you can track your device and wipe out sensitive information if you need to. [6:34] Tip 7: Locked devices You might think you don’t need to lock it, but anything can happen. Here’s why locking your phone is always a good idea. [6:58] Tip 8: Bluetooth Hackers can gain access to your device through an open and active Bluetooth connection. Listen here to learn how you can avoid this situation altogether.  [8:25] Tip 9: Check your apps Not all apps are created by trusted developers, so before you download one, make sure it’s from a trusted source. Here are a few things I always look at before grabbing a new one. [9:44] Tip 10: Privacy settings All social media platforms have them, and you as the user can adjust them to your liking. Curating who sees your posts, home town, birthday, old posts, etc., is very important especially when it comes to reputation management. Find out why (especially on Facebook) it’s crucial you check them regularly. [10:37] Tip 11: Social media  Do you know who can see your Facebook posts? Here’s where to check.   [10:59] Tip 12: Sign in, sign out It’s easy to just close out the app, but not signing out (especially on public open WiFi) can keep your account vulnerable. And we don’t want that.   Mentioned on the episode:  Password Managers: 1Password, LastPass, iCloud Keychain, Google Passwords Connect with me on Twitter The Top 100 Worst Passwords of 2019 About Molly Public Relations expert Molly McPherson, APR, reveals the best practices to help leaders become indestructible in today’s digital age and crisis-proof their organizations. The Confident Communications Podcast is a mix of weekly communications tips, current news events, and interviews with newsmakers, communications professionals and business owners who share their successful tips for communicating confidently in the modern age. This podcast helps leaders communicate confidently in their writing, speaking, body language, social media and in a crisis.  Listen + Subscribe Stitcher or Apple Podcasts© Molly McPherson 2020
Trust me when I tell you that Generation Z matters. Especially if you’re a parent of teens, you want to figure out how their brains are working. If you own or run a business, they matter because you’re going to need to learn how to get them motivated and engaged in your product or service. Today’s guest on the podcast is the author of InstaBrain: The New Rules for Marketing to Generation Z, Sarah Weise, and she’s sharing with us everything you need to know about Generation Z. This is a must-listen interview for anyone who wants to get in the brain of the Gen Z consumer. If you want to know what motivates this generation to take action and get them in the door, then this is the episode for you.  [3:47] Get to know Sarah and how she found the gold in this generation. Sarah talks about running a small research company and the work she’s done with both large and small companies. She wanted to figure out ways to marketing to Generation Z more effectively. With 51% of the world’s population under the age of twenty-five, listen here to find out what key behavior they’re not doing to find information, and what they’re turning to instead.  [6:22] Key characteristics of the different generations Here we break down all of the living generations; the Silent Generation, Boomers, Generation X, a micro-generation called the Oregon Trail Generation, Millennials, Generation Z, and Generation Alpha. Learn more about the role that high-speed internet had in shaping an entire generation. [10:07] How Millennials differ from Gen Z. Millennials are only a few years older than Gen Z, but they’re so different because they grew up with different things going on around them. Including their parents. Here Sarah explains the shift from ‘helicopter parenting’ to ‘tech parenting’. Learn more about how this shift changed what and how people are sharing information about themselves online.  [17:20] Gen Z’s attention span and influence.  While Millennials can juggle three screens at a time, Generation Z can juggle five. Listen here to find out the specific length of time you have to catch both a Millennial and a Generation Zer’s attention and how their behavior is impacting other generations.  [23:01] How to motivate Generation Z.  This generation doesn’t say “here’s what I need to know.” Instead, they ask “what should I want to know?” and then they scroll. They rely on algorithms and recommendations to inspire them. Sarah talks about how once you hook them, they can be hyper-focused for hours, and this can actually be a huge opportunity for business and marketing.  [30:27] What kinds of content make Generation Z feel good? They love learning. Consuming hours of YouTube videos where they learn how to do something will make them feel good, but watching hours of Netflix could make them feel guilty. Learn more about the natural researching tendencies of Gen Z here. [32:54] What gets Gen Z to go to an event or campaign?  Where Millennials were motivated by FOMO, Gen Z also wants a shirt. They’re looking for a customized experience that is interesting enough to share on social media. Find out specific ways that you can make your event more appealing to Generation Z here.    Mentioned on the episode:  InstaBrain: The New Rules for Marketing to Generation Z by Sarah Weise Sarah Weise on Instagram Sarah Weise on Twitter Sarah Weise on LinkedIn What did you think about the episode? Let me know on Twitter. You can also find me on Instagram. About Sarah Sarah is one of only a few female CEOs to found and run a successful market research company. Over the past 15 years, she has guided hundreds of brands—Google, Capital One, IBM, Mikimoto, PBS, and Real Warriors, to name a few—to laser-focus on their customers so they can wow them with highly targeted, valuable products and experiences. As a bestselling author, business owner, and mother of two, Sarah has become known for her motivational, high-energy style and her unique ability to empower and embolden a female audience. About Molly Public Relations expert Molly McPherson, APR, reveals the best practices help leaders become indestructible in today’s digital age and crisis-proof their organizations. A mix of discussing current news events along with interviews with newsmakers, communications professionals and business owners while providing insight from 20+ years of public relations and crisis communications expertise working for FEMA and heading communications for the cruise line industry to help take the fear out of communicating in the age of scrutiny. This podcast helps leaders communicate confidently–in writing, speaking, body language, social media — to be heard, seen and relevant. Listen + Subscribe Stitcher or Apple Podcasts   © Molly McPherson 2020
If you’re like most of us, any communication you do through the written word is via the keyboard - either on your phone or at your computer. It’s no wonder that when it’s time to sit down and put pen to paper, the outcome can sometimes look more like a ransom letter than a thank you note. Handwriting doesn’t come easy to us anymore, but it’s still very important. Some benefits of writing things down by hand include helping us feel more accomplished, help inspire our work, think conceptually, and achieve our goals. In this episode, you’ll learn six simple tips to improve your handwriting. Grab a pen and get ready to take some notes. [5:35] Tip 1: It’s all in the prep. Get your hands on the right materials before writing. Listen here to find out what simple writing tools you can invest in now to start writing like a pro. They won’t break the bank, and can easily be found either at your local office supply store or Amazon.  [7:22] Tip 2: Check your posture.  You want to make sure your back is straight, feet are flat, legs are uncrossed, and your arm and hand are relaxed. I give you some quick fixes to try that can transform your writing in seconds.  [8:08] Tip 3: Slow down. This seems common sense, but I’m definitely guilty of rushing my handwriting, too. Unless you’re forced to rush for some reason, there’s really no need to. Find out what can happen when you write too fast, and learn my simple rule to help you slow down. [9:00] Tip 4: Restrain your arm and wrist. Most people write with their fingers which means they draw the letters, but the pros actually don’t use their fingers at all - they use their entire arm. I share with you a couple of practice techniques to make your writing more fluid and attractive.  [11:09] Tip 5: Create uniformity.  Make your letters clear and consistent. (This is where practicing with grid paper can be very helpful.) Ascenders and descenders should be the same height, for example. Get even more clarity on uniform writing here. [12:44] Tip 6: Practice makes perfect penmanship.  Pick up your pen when you’re not in a time crunch and practice. Grab that grid-line notebook or print out a couple of pages, and listen here to find out what sentence to write that lets your practice ALL the letters of the alphabet.    Mentioned on the episode:  Episode 61: How to Write an Unforgettable Thank You Note - Listen HERE. Holiday Card Bonus Episode Trello project management tool My favorite planner - The Full Focus Planner Zebra Pens Maped Visio Left-Handed Pens Light Box Tracer  My top books for better handwriting on Amazon: HERE and HERE. Want to suggest a podcast episode? Go HERE.  What did you think about the episode? Let me know on Twitter. About Molly Public Relations expert Molly McPherson, APR, reveals the best practices help leaders become indestructible in today’s digital age and crisis-proof their organizations. A mix of discussing current news events along with interviews with newsmakers, communications professionals and business owners while providing insight from 20+ years of public relations and crisis communications expertise working for FEMA and heading communications for the cruise line industry to help take the fear out of communicating in the age of scrutiny. This podcast helps leaders communicate confidently–in writing, speaking, body language, social media — to be heard, seen and relevant. Listen + Subscribe Stitcher or Apple Podcasts   © Molly McPherson 2020
It’s official. Harry and Meghan have left the royal family to become financially independent.  They can now "Chip and Joanna Gaines" their way into brand royalty, à la the likes of former presidential couples Barack and Michelle Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton. And of course, the Broadcast Queen herself - Oprah. Trust me; there is a lot of money to be made off of their new role as royal brand ambassadors to themselves. In this episode - who is winning the PR battle of public opinion and why the H&M royal exit matters to you. They brought a very specific trend front and center that’s worth paying attention to. You’ll want to listen to this episode if you own or operate a business. I share some interesting generational consumer trends that are on the rise, and how to deal with change in a way that works for everyone. [1:55] The PR of it all. (#everythingisPR) Who wins the battle of public opinion? Naturally, I asked Twitter. I could guess that the younger generation was going to favor the couple while the older generation would back the Queen. Listen here to find out who won my poll and some insightful feedback from followers.  [6:12] Why we shouldn’t be surprised.  It’s clear they’ve been planning this for a while. From a shiny new website to working with a Hollywood level PR machine, this decision wasn’t made overnight. Find out what else the couple has had in the works over the past year to prepare that Buckingham Palace seems to have been paying very little attention to.  [7:40] Reading between the lines of the official press statements. The statement from the Queen has a very personal and grateful tone, which is a stark contrast to how Buckingham Palace reacted to Princess Diana’s death. Was this new tone a lesson learned from that highly criticized reaction? Learn how you can put this lesson to use in your communication. [11:18] What Megxit means to you, the business person. In a word: Disruption. What Harry and Meghan did signaled a shift in how we have to look at our consumer. It represents the “in demand, on-demand” generation. Learn more about how this cultural shift can apply to both internal operations and demands from your customers. I’m going to help you find the balance and recognize the change, and discuss the importance of meeting someone “halfway.” [16:17] The royal social media strategy.  You won’t find H&M on Twitter and you won’t find them on Facebook, and this was all very intentional. It’s all about lead generation and funneling the right people to the right place. These platforms also let them step away a bit, as opposed to a platform like Facebook. Learn more about the thought process behind keeping communication on Instagram and their website only.   Mentioned on the episode:  Visit the official website of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex HERE. Follow the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Instagram @sussexroyal HERE. Read the Queen’s and Buckingham Palace’s full official statements HERE. About Molly Public Relations expert Molly McPherson, APR, reveals the best practices help leaders become indestructible in today’s digital age and crisis-proof their organizations. A mix of discussing current news events along with interviews with newsmakers, communications professionals and business owners while providing insight from 20+ years of public relations and crisis communications expertise working for FEMA and heading communications for the cruise line industry to help take the fear out of communicating in the age of scrutiny. This podcast helps leaders communicate confidently–in writing, speaking, body language, social media — to be heard, seen and relevant. Listen + Subscribe Stitcher or Apple Podcasts © Molly McPherson 2020
This week I’m sharing my 7 deadly sins of grammar. These are some of the mistakes you might be unknowingly making in your writing that’s causing you to lose credibility - especially online. The goal of this episode is to give you more confidence in your writing. It is, after all, one of your most valuable currencies for intelligence. Proper grammar makes for good business, helps you command respect, and creates clarity in your message.  The definition of grammar is the study of the way words are used to make sentences. This can be tricky because the grammar we use when we speak can be much different than the grammar we use when writing, but it’s always worth the effort. By the end of this episode, you’re going to be clear on the basics, and feel confident that you won’t fall into these very common grammar mistakes. [4:38] Who that? Find out once and for all when to use the word who and when to use the word that.  [5:46] Dangling modifiers.  It’s best to keep them out of your writing. This mistake happens when a descriptive phrase doesn’t apply to the noun that immediately follows it. Huh? Don’t worry, I explain exactly what that means here. [6:41] Me vs. I.  Most people think they’ve got this one down until they need to use it in a sentence. It’s also extra confusing because it can sound right when it’s actually grammatically incorrect. Find out what my little trick is to get this one right. [7:49] i.e. vs e.g.  Confession: I pretty much always have to Google this rule before I use it. We might think they mean the same, but they actually don’t. I have a little hack for this one too. [8:53] Do you say “care less” or “couldn’t care less?”  When you break it down, one actually makes sense and one doesn’t. Find out if you’re using it correctly. [9:33] Using two prepositions back to back.  This one doesn't come up a lot in grammar guides, but I see it a lot in writing. Using prepositions correctly actually makes your writing clearer and quicker, so it’s definitely worth taking the time to learn. [10:15] Quotation mark placement.  This is not one of those quick mistakes, like typing too instead of to, so it’s extra annoying. And yes, I'm judgy about it. Commas and periods always go inside the quotation marks, dashes and colons go outside the quotation marks.    Mentioned on the episode:  Connect with me on Twitter HERE and tell me your grammar pet peeves using #grammarpeeves. Head to my website and jump on the mailing list HERE. Check out my online course Communicate with Power in Less than an Hour HERE.  About Molly Public Relations expert Molly McPherson, APR, reveals the best practices help leaders become indestructible in today’s digital age and crisis-proof their organizations. A mix of discussing current news events along with interviews with newsmakers, communications professionals and business owners while providing insight from 20+ years of public relations and crisis communications expertise working for FEMA and heading communications for the cruise line industry to help take the fear out of communicating in the age of scrutiny. This podcast helps leaders communicate confidently–in writing, speaking, body language, social media — to be heard, seen and relevant. Listen + Subscribe Stitcher or Apple Podcasts
Many businesses have a crisis on their hands. It's not the threat of a devastating event that should have them worried. It's the lack of planning for when it does.  In this episode of the podcast, I’m speaking with Robert Burton. Rob is the Managing Director of PreparedEx, where he leads a team of crisis experts who prepare organizations to be more resilient to the myriad risks they face and is also co-founder of The International Crisis Management Conference. If you are responsible for ensuring your organization is prepared for any crisis or significant event, then this episode is a must-listen. Rob offers critical guidance for preparing a response to the threats that can crop up in your industry. [4:55] Rob’s crisis management experience.Rob tells us a little bit about his military background in the UK, contract work, and move to the United States 17 years ago. Learn how Rob has been able to and adapted these skills and bring discipline into the board to help organizations prepare. [8:12] The types of exercises Rob facilitates. From table-top exercises to functional exercises, and full-scale exercises that require multiple teams to communicate during a simulated exercise, find out the different ways Rob helps organizations feel confident in their crisis response abilities [12:11] Planning for the unknown unknowns. The plans that Rob helps put into place are like a set of tools to get the team organized in the case of an event. Learn about the importance of utilizing the crisis coordinator to work through these unknown emergency situations. [16:17] The transformation that comes from having a plan. Rob tells us a story about how, after a 6-hour simulation session with a client, they experienced a similar scenario in real life about five months later. Because they followed the procedures they learned from Rob, there was substantially less chaos during the actual event. Find out how adding more discipline to their reaction strategy lead to more calm in the real-life crisis. Mentioned on the episode:  Connect with Rob on LinkedIn HERE. Learn more about PreparedEx HERE. More information on the International Crisis Management Conference (ICMC) HERE. About Rob Burton As a Principal at PreparedEx, Rob manages a team of crisis management professionals supporting clients in their crisis, emergency, security and business continuity management preparedness programs. Rob's team creates and delivers corporate war games, full/operational, and functional and tabletop exercises. He also co-founded The International Crisis Management Conference. Listen + Subscribe Stitcher or Apple Podcasts   © Molly McPherson 2020
A New Year’s Eve episode airing on the cusp of 2020 dedicated to listeners who want to make a transition in 2020. For many, this is the time of year that people seek change and crave renewal. Who better to guide us through that process than a life coach?   My guest is Steve Piacente. Steve is a former colleague of mine - we worked together as executive communication coaches - who has a great deal of experience in communications. He is a former newspaper reporter turned D.C. bureau chief, turned speechwriter, added adjunct professor into the mix along with author, and (whew) is now the Director of Training at The Communication Center in Washington, D.C. Did I mention he added a life coach credential to his repertoire?  Steve is here to help us all through some of the challenging life transitions we might be facing as we look ahead to renewing ourselves in 2020.  [3:45] Steve’s journey from communications to a life coach.The idea of becoming a life coach came to Steve naturally when he realized that many of the questions being asked by his communication clients veered into non-media areas like relationships, work/life balance, and happiness. Steve talks about this experience and how well his practice intersects with his training as a communications coach. [6:22] Advice for transitioning into a new job or career. Steve shares a personal story about his drastic career change after 9/11; a time when the news industry was faltering. Steve received a phone call telling him they were eliminating his position. This call left him concerned because, in his mind, reporting was the only thing he knew how to do. Steve asked himself, “What now?” Find out which question Steve would have asked himself at that moment if he knew what he knows today as a life coach. [9:44] The distinct difference between a coach and a consultant. One starts with the assumption that clients know the answers to the questions they are asking, and his job is to lead them to a conclusion by asking the right questions. The other provides a more clear path from point A to point B. [11:17] Pivotal Points. Listen to a few of the prompts Steve asks his clients when they’re approaching a season of renewal. [13:01] Think Bigger.Identifying the patterns that keep cropping up over and over again with people when they no longer look at life from a broader perspective. Learn how to dig deeper and find those lost sparks in your life. [15:09] Digging into the inner critic.The inner critic stops you from doing something you may love or may want to accomplish. Learn how to shift the role of this inner voice from a critic to an inner advocate. [18:46] Working through limiting beliefs. “I don’t know how to use all this new technology,” could be preventing someone from taking a risk and going for that new position. Learn how to make a lightbulb go off in your head to see what’s possible. Remember, the “same old” isn’t necessarily the best. [21:57] What can ask yourself if you’re thinking about making a big jump in the new year? Renewal starts with looking back. Think about when you were that bright-eyed idealistic person, and you could choose to do anything you wanted to do. Learn what to do with that thought.  Learn more about Steve’s Life Coaching business “Next Phase Life Coaching,” and grab his book, A Step-By-Step Guide to Your Fighting Stance HERE. About Steve Steve Piacente is an award-winning Washington correspondent and novelist, university professor and professional life coach. Steve joined The Communication Center in 2013 after 10 years at the U.S. General Services Administration, where he was lead speechwriter and, later, deputy communications director, responsible for the web and social media team. Previously, he was Washington Correspondent for The Tampa Tribune and the Charleston (S.C.) Post & Courier. Steve has been a professional writer since graduating from American University in 1976, and holds a Masters in Fiction from Johns Hopkins University. Listen + Subscribe Stitcher or Apple Podcasts © Molly McPherson 2019
We mean to write them, but we don’t always get around to it even though we know we should. It’s the "always love to receive one, but dread writing one" thank you note. Listen to this episode for tips on how to write an unforgettable thank you note. I've timed this episode around the holidays to offer a gentle push for completing a task that many people tend to overlook. Best tip: If you’re ever asking yourself if you should write a thank you note, you already know the answer. Psst...it's yes. A handwritten note is always better than an email because it offers that extra touch of personalization. Anyone you visit or anyone who has given you a gift gets a thank you note. So the sooner you start getting into this habit to thank people for more opportunities of graciousness you see in your life, the better. [4:19] Personalize Your Greeting. Know who you’re sending all of them to and address the recipient by name. [4:37] Be Thankful. Express thanks, gratitude, having your day made, etc. in your message. Say things like “I so appreciate…”, “thank you so much for…”, “I’m ever grateful for…”. [4:54] Be Specific. What exactly are you thanking them for in this note? Did they give you a gift? Did they spend time with you? Did they prepare a meal for you? Call it out specifically in your message. [5:33] Add in the Details. Demonstrate how much that gift means to you or how much you appreciate them taking the time to spend with you within your message. [6:58] Look Ahead to the Future. When’s the next time you’ll see them? Or what will help remind you of them? Mention something like, “I’m looking forward to our next visit,” or “I’ll let you know what I thought about the book after I read it.”  About Molly Public Relations expert Molly McPherson, APR, reveals the best practices help leaders become indestructible in today's digital age and crisis-proof their organizations. A mix of discussing current news events along with interviews with newsmakers, communications professionals and business owners while providing insight from 20+ years of public relations and crisis communications expertise working for FEMA and heading communications for the cruise line industry to help take the fear out of communicating in the age of scrutiny. This podcast helps leaders communicate confidently--in writing, speaking, body language, social media -- to be heard, seen and relevant. Listen + Subscribe Stitcher or Apple Podcasts © Molly McPherson 2019  
On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me A PR crisis, or one or two or three. In this (almost) end-of-the-year episode, I wrap-up the PR season by covering the best (or worst?) PR crises of 2019. It's my holiday gift to myself and to anyone else who has a passion for practicing public relations. My definition of a PR crisis? A public reaction from an event that causes a brand or a person’s reputation to upside-down. The viral-age twist? It can happen overnight. Listen to my #PRFail stand-outs from 2019. [8:15] Number 12: This person got an a** kicking for shaming a would-be employee on social media. [10:01] Number 11: Piggybacking off of the #MeToo movement made for a messy ad campaign. [11:00] Number 10: Concating a fake attack turns into a viral attack against this actor. [12:30] Number 9: Hoping on a wing and a prayer that this PR response works. [14:58] Number 8: Becky with the bad decision. [17:26] Numbers 6 & 7: Houston, we have a problem. [23:28] Number 5: Boy's club got this guy in trouble. [25:09] Number 4: A billion-dollar "OK, Boomer" Blunder. [28:18] Number 3: Rise and shine, your career is over. [33:01] Number 2: I didn't realize how much this problematic ad would cost this brand. [35:10] Number 1: A royally lousy interview.    About Molly Public Relations expert Molly McPherson, APR, reveals the best practices help leaders become indestructible in today's digital age and crisis-proof their organizations. A mix of discussing current news events along with interviews with newsmakers, communications professionals and business owners while providing insight from 20+ years of public relations and crisis communications expertise working for FEMA and heading communications for the cruise line industry to help take the fear out of communicating in the age of scrutiny. This podcast helps leaders communicate confidently--in writing, speaking, body language, social media -- to be heard, seen and relevant. Listen + Subscribe Stitcher or Apple Podcasts © Molly McPherson 2019
Merry, Merry!  Let's get into the festive spirit and talk about conversation etiquette at holiday parties. You might remember my guest, public speaking expert Lauren Sergy from her appearance on Episode 55, Executive Presence: What It Looks Like, Why You Need It and How to Get It. If you have some parties coming up soon, you’ll definitely want to listen to this one. Lauren is from our neighbor to the north, coming to us from Canada, but the political climates in both Canada and the United States are making it more challenging to keep conversations civil. Polarizing opinions are being shared much more openly, but don’t let that discourage you. We’re here to help you navigate starting a conversation, maintaining it, and exiting it with grace and ease at your next holiday party. [7:28] The Best Way to Start a Conversation. This tip is one that will carry you through not only the holiday season but through every single networking event, you’ll ever attend. Lauren talks about how she loves starting conversations by making all the other people do the work and she just keeps asking them questions. This is quite brilliant because you’re essentially offloading all the work onto them. We also agree that it’s perfectly acceptable to open conversations about general topics like the weather or sports, which gives you a mutual point of agreement. Once the mundane is explored, you can ask them in more detail what’s going on in their world. [12:07] The Follow-Up Question & How to Prevent the Awkward Pause. Now once you have made them comfortable and they’ve chosen the path they want to take the conversation down, follow up with “tell me more about that.” And guess what, they WILL tell you more. By keeping them talking about themselves, you’re boosting your likability. [16:49] How to Gracefully Exit Out of a Conversation. You know the feeling. The conversation is coming to a natural close - or you’ve passed that point but are still suffering through - and you’d give anything to make it stop. Well, we’re here to help. Lauren gives some great tips on making a graceful exit. One way is to literally grab others as they walk by and pull them into the conversation. Introduce them to the person you’re talking to, tell them what they have in common, and move away from the conversation. [19:36] How to Gracefully Exit a Conversation on an Airplane. This tip will let them know you’re starting to get tired, which will probably be a relief to them. Not everyone knows how to end a conversation, so you get to save the day by leading that charge [23:35] How to Converse in a Sticky Conversation and Keep it Civil. If you do get in a conversation with strong opinions, you can be pleasant or you can be right. You decide what’s more important, but remember, you’re never going to be right. This is not the time to prove a point, but you can still focus on learning as much as possible about the person you’re talking to. [26:24] How to Remove Yourself from Political Rhetoric. It’s become acceptable to say something like, “oh man, this stuff has become exhausting” and exit the topic. Don’t be preachy; simply let the person know you don’t want to engage. Mentioned In This Episode Lauren Sergy on YouTube.com Subscribe to my weekly newsletter About Lauren Sergy Lauren Sergy is a sought-after expert in the art of speaking and communication in business and work. Armed with a deep understanding of the art, science, and alchemy of interpersonal communication and public speaking, she sheds light on difficult communication situations with refreshing energy, humor, and candor. For more information about Lauren, you can visit LaurenSergy.com.  Listen + Subscribe Stitcher or Apple Podcasts © Molly McPherson 2019
Ho ho ho! You are listening to this special bonus holiday episode as a gift for being a loyal subscriber to the Confident Communications Podcast. Think of it as my holiday card to you as a thank you for listening. Speaking of holiday cards, this episode offers some things to consider when it comes to sending out professional holiday cards. Not sure if you should send them in the first place? I’ll go into more detail in the show, but yes, I do think it’s a good idea to send them and I'll explain why. I'll also discuss who you should send a card to and who you should make sure not to forget. Want to see how it's done? Download this free guide on how to address your holiday cards this year here. © Molly McPherson 2019  
According to this week's guest, a company owns its brand; the public owns its reputation. Crisis communications expert Bill Coletti reveals how to build reputational excellence by meeting the needs and expectations of the public.  We discuss his various strategies for companies to work their way through a crisis. Bonus -- Bill offers a phenomenal crisis preparation tip you can put into place within your organization immediately.  [3:05] Kith’s focus looking forward to 2020. The firm is transitioning from a focus on disrupting the disruption, to transforming organizations to reputation resilience. [5:00] The Zuckerberg vs. Buffett models. We talk about exploring the “move fast and break things” motto of organizations like Facebook lead by Mark Zuckerberg vs. Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett’s way of doing things. We discuss how disruption has its place, but it’s really more about overall transformation. [7:56] Is there a formula for managing a crisis? We both agree that the answer to this one is “yes.” Bill talks about the importance of increasing speed when it comes to responding to a crisis, and how organizations can get better and faster at it. Things like having strong core values, a clear chain of command, and truly understanding your mission and values before your faced with controversy are all key elements. [12:12] Bill’s four A’s of reputation management. You might want to take some notes here - there are some really good points you can use in this part of the interview. What came out of a “well that sucked, let’s never do that again,” situation, lead to Bill creating a framework of how to work through a crisis in a smart, strategic, and proven manner. [29:21] Here’s a great place to start. Before you decide to hire someone like myself or Bill, try this at your next team meeting. Pull out the Wall Street Journal or New York Times and simulate a current issue or controversy to figure out how you would respond. If that happened to you, how would you react? Exercise the muscles that will increase the speed in which you can react and keep your reputation where you want it to be. You can purchase Bill’s book on Amazon, click here. About Molly   Public Relations expert Molly McPherson, APR, reveals the best practices help leaders become indestructible in today's digital age and crisis-proof their organizations. A mix of discussing current news events along with interviews with newsmakers, communications professionals and business owners while providing insight from 20+ years of public relations and crisis communications expertise working for FEMA and heading communications for the cruise line industry to help take the fear out of communicating in the age of scrutiny. This podcast helps leaders communicate confidently--in writing, speaking, body language, social media -- to be heard, seen and relevant. About Bill Coletti Bill is a crisis communications and reputation management expert with more than twenty-five years of experience managing high-stakes crises, issues management, and media relations challenges for Fortune 500 companies and global political campaigns. He is the founder of Kith: a crisis communications and reputation management firm that is at its best when working with established corporations that feel disrupted in the age of disruption. He’s also the author of Critical Moments: The New Mindset of Reputation Management.  Listen + Subscribe Stitcher or Apple Podcasts © Molly McPherson 2019
It’s Thanksgiving week in the United States; a time of year when a lot of people plan to travel through airports on their way to visit family and friends for the holiday. This is the episode to help you, and everyone around you, travel with ease in the air.  Everyone holiday, you can almost bet on someone picking up their phone to snap a photo or film a video of not-so-good behavior on the plane. After all, when people are on edge or in a hurry - chances are they are not at their best. So let’s all do our part to make this travel experience more enjoyable, shall we? As most of you know I travel a LOT for my work, so in this podcast, you’ll hear my top 10 air travel behavior tips that I’ve gathered based on personal experience. [3:05] I know it’s tempting because you’ve been planning this trip for months, or there’s an important meeting you don’t think you can miss, but no one wants to sit next to a sick person. My experience with traveling while sick goes all the way back to my days working for the cruise industry when the norovirus made its debut. So trust me when I tell you it’s much better for everyone to just stay home - or at the very least travel with a mask and extra hand sanitizer. [7:07] Don’t rush to the front of the plane right when you land and cut in front of everyone sitting in front of you. Not only is it rude, but your actions are telling people that you are simply more important than everyone else. Not to mention the traffic jam you’re causing. Guess what? We all want to get off the plane, and it will go faster if everyone waits your turn.  [11:05] I get it - being on an airplane is a great time to catch up on podcasts, but just be mindful of when you have them in and when you should actually be hearing what’s going on around you. If the flight crew is trying to take your order, for example, take them out of your ears. When we’re all deplaning - out. Bonus tip: you might actually meet more people (I’ve gotten business deals on planes) by keeping them out and striking up a conversation. [12:44] Don’t overdo it on the perfume or cologne. You want to smell nice, but some people are very sensitive to strong fragrance. On the other side of that, make sure to shower and wear deodorant that day.  [13:16] Don’t talk to the person behind you, across the aisle from you, or over the middle seat person. You’re making your conversation way too public and including far too many surrounding passengers who don’t want to hear your conversation. [15:23] The middle person. It’s just that easy. They got the short end of the stick with seating, so they can control both armrests. [16:00] Don’t keep talking to someone who clearly doesn’t want to talk to you. One nice way I had someone do it was by saying, “I’m gonna check out now” and then he put on his headphones. Simple, to-the-point, and not rude at all. [16:54] Take your backpack off before you start walking down the narrow aisles. Don’t be that person with a huge, oversized backpack and wields it with abandon, moving, rushing, and pivoting while everyone is getting hit in the head along the way. [18:08] Your bag goes above your seat. It’s cheating to put it above a seat near the front of the plane. That spot goes to the person with that seat, and it messes up the whole system when bags are placed where they don’t belong. [19:05] Part of air travel is getting around the airport, so to make this more efficient for everyone just remember to always stand on the right and walk or pass on the left. This goes for moving walkways and escalators.  To see some photos of real-life travel offenders I’ve spotted in airports (don’t worry, I keep their identity anonymous), and other tips, sign up for my newsletter here: https://mollymcpherson.com/subscribe/  © Molly McPherson 2019
Can you believe it’s been a full year since we launched the Confident Communications Podcast? Well, here we are! One year later and one year wiser. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting at Pat Flynn’s Power-Up Podcasting boot camp (Pat was also a guest on this podcast in episode 40) which played a major role in helping me get this podcast out into the world. I wanted to celebrate this year of helping people become better communicators by highlighting some of our top podcast episodes and a major takeaway from each of them. I chose episodes and guests that were not only top downloads but left my listeners with some quick and easy tips they could take away and start implementing immediately. Here’s what you can look forward to... [4:45] The JFK Jr. Plane Crash: A behind-the-scenes account from July 1999 Most of my most popular episodes feature guest interviews, but this unique solo episode got a lot of great feedback because the story is just so memorable to most people. It was released 20 years after JFK Jr.’s plane went missing, and gives listeners a behind-the-scenes perspective from insiders who were there - including me.   [8:18] Episode 18: The Secret to Being a Great Speaker with Gina Razon  One of the tips that Gina shares in this episode is literally something that I use every single time I get up in front of a room. It’s a way to help reset your brain back to calm because as we all know, anything can happen when you’re up there behind that podium. This episode is like a free session with a speech coach, so if you’re among the 75% of the public who has a fear of public speaking, you have to give it a listen. [11:36] Episode 22: How to Handle a Difficult Conversation with Lara Currie If you’ve ever had to deal with conflict in the workplace (and who hasn’t), you’re going to love these tips on how to slow down and remain calm that Lara teaches. We explore how to ask yourself the right questions before responding to someone, and she helps you be less emotional in your reactions. We also talk about triggers and how they affect the different genders, and how they are a visceral reaction that can show up physically. [14:14] Episode 30: How to Nail Your Next Media Interview with Brad Phillips Mr. Media Training himself, and author of The Media Training Bible: 101 Things You Absolutely, Positively Need To Know Before Your Next Interview, chats with me about the qualities that people need, and sometimes lack, to be engaging on camera. We talk about how oftentimes the people we work with are extremely engaging off-camera, but something switches once that little red light comes on. He gives us some remedies on how to still be YOU on camera and talks about the importance of striving for connection, not perfection. [18:37] Episode 26: How to Be a Great Spokesperson: A Reporter’s Perspective with Jeanne Meserve Jeanne and I discuss the state of the media as it is today and try to take some of the fear out of talking to the press. She goes through some specific flags to notice when someone is lying. There’s a shift in their demeanor, specifically in the eyes. If you see a person being shifty-eyed or have a glazed-over look, for example, they could be reciting something they’ve memorized. Truly fascinating stuff in this episode! [21:18] Episode 16: How to Spot a Liar  Lying… who does it? Which gender does it more? What are they really lying about? I dig into all of the questions during the episode that garnered a lot of feedback and attention after its release. There actually is a difference in the types of lying that the different genders typically partake in, and I reveal a major give-away in how to tell when someone is lying by paying attention to their body language.  Subscribe & Review in iTunes Are you subscribed to my podcast? You’re not? Really?? 😟 It’s fine. However, if you’re not subscribed, you won’t get the latest episodes of the podcast OR the secret episodes loaded with good content only sent to subscribers. If you’re not subscribed, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out. Click here to subscribe in iTunes! Now if you’re feeling like it’s a good day to send some love into the world, I would be really grateful if you left me a review over on iTunes, too. Those reviews help other people find my podcast and they provide good feedback for me to offer content that listeners want to hear. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the podcast is. Thank you! © Molly McPherson 2019
Executive Presence is a term you may hear a lot, but do you know what it means? Simply put, having it means you own a room the second you stand in front of it. It's a mix of confidence and savvy communications that inspire your peers, subordinates and leaders. Lauren Sergy, an expert on all things communications, walks us through the steps for building your executive presence in the workplace. Hear why your pitch, tone, physical stature and gender play a part. Mentioned In This Episode Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are - Amy Cuddy | TedGlobal 2012 Send your "Communication Conundrum" to LaurenSergy.com  Lauren Sergy on YouTube.com Lauren Sergy on Twitter    About Molly   Public Relations expert Molly McPherson, APR, reveals the best practices help leaders become indestructible in today's digital age and crisis-proof their organizations. A mix of discussing current news events along with interviews with newsmakers, communications professionals and business owners while providing insight from 20+ years of public relations and crisis communications expertise working for FEMA and heading communications for the cruise line industry to help take the fear out of communicating in the age of scrutiny. This podcast helps leaders communicate confidently--in writing, speaking, body language, social media -- to be heard, seen and relevant. About Lauren Sergy Lauren Sergy is a sought-after expert in the art of speaking and communication in business and work. Armed with a deep understanding of the art, science, and alchemy of interpersonal communication and public speaking, she sheds light on difficult communication situations with refreshing energy, humor, and candor. For more information about Lauren, you can visit LaurenSergy.com.  Listen + subscribe on Stitcher or Apple Podcasts.
As a business leader, employee or owner, you have the opportunity to interact with many people from all walks of life and places. Just as important as why you interact with people, is that you’re able to greet them appropriately so you get off on the right foot. But greeting etiquette depends on so many factors, aside from culture--how you know the person and who is hosting the meeting also plays a factor. And what if you’re not comfortable with a person's standard form of greeting?  That’s exactly what we’re talking about on today’s episode of the Confident Communications Podcast. And once you’ve mastered the “hello,” learn how to be more powerful in your speaking with my free Power Speak downloadable.   About Molly Molly McPherson, M.S., APR, combines her knowledge of current communication practices with years of news and PR experience to help people become modern-age communicators in their industry and help to build crisis-proof businesses. From her work in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the cruise line industry in Washington, D.C., Molly develops the right plans and messaging for clients to protect and build their reputations.    Listen + subscribe on Stitcher or Apple Podcasts.    © Molly McPherson 2019
Someone at your organization was accused of sexual harassment. Perhaps the harassment was in the form of an inappropriate remark, behavior, incident or outburst.  You work in leadership and have to respond. Or you may even be that person accused of harassment.  Now what?  This episode looks at recent news stories of how organizations dealt with a sexual harassment issue when it became public.  Discussing what should happen from a public messaging perspective. What do you say about the incident as a spokesperson for the organization? What do you say about the culture of your organization? What do you say if you were the person who was accused? How to respond to sexual harassment within your organization in the age of social media.  Mentioned In This Episode NBCUniversal releases former staffers from confidentiality agreements about sexual harassment Where in the World Is Matt Lauer’s Reputation? Episode 50: Confident Communications Podcast  Harvard Band Members Walk Out of Centennial Banquet After Alumni Comments on Sexual Harassment Policy Mark Halperin’s interview with Jennie Willoughby on the topic of his sexual harassment. [Full Video] Brandon Taubman fired by Astros in wake of the incident with female reporters Astros GM Jeff Luhnow Keeps Digging And Digging Twitter thread on "power blindspots" (@OscarRLanza)   Follow Molly on Twitter About Molly   Public Relations expert Molly McPherson, APR, reveals the best practices help leaders become indestructible in today's digital age and crisis-proof their organizations. A mix of discussing current news events along with interviews with newsmakers, communications professionals and business owners while providing insight from 20+ years of public relations and crisis communications expertise working for FEMA and heading communications for the cruise line industry to help take the fear out of communicating in the age of scrutiny. This podcast helps leaders communicate confidently--in writing, speaking, body language, social media -- to be heard, seen and relevant. Listen + subscribe on Stitcher or Apple Podcasts.     © Molly McPherson 2019
It's October, and all four major professional U.S. sports leagues are in full swing, making it the busiest sports month of the year. The sports industry is a very profitable one as well, which means there is a lot to learn about it from a business point of view.    My guest today is Emmy-award winning supervising producer Stu Kirshenbaum, who worked over 20 years in network sports television and is now the owner and executive producer for Keystone Films.      With his intimate knowledge of all things sports, Stu gets into the nitty-gritty of how to gain and retain a fanbase. The sports business is just like most businesses -- how do you keep your multi-generational fans happy even when they are temperamental?   Whether you are a sports fan or a fan of building your business, you’ll want to listen to this episode.  Mentioned In This Episode Keystone Films 2019 World Series Nationals vs. Astros Washington Nationals, DC fans troll Bryce Harper    About Stu As owner and Executive producer, Stu Kirshenbaum has spent over 20 years as a supervising producer working at the highest levels of network sports television, where his work was honored with 5 Sports Emmy Awards. Keystone Films focuses almost exclusively on enhancing the brand of horse racing and breeding clients by implementing a range of strategies in broadcast, digital and social media, which have led to demonstrable bottom-line growth. About Molly Molly McPherson, M.S., APR, combines her knowledge of current communication practices with years of news and PR experience to help people become modern-age communicators in their industry and help to build crisis-proof businesses. From her work in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the cruise line industry in Washington, D.C., Molly develops the right plans and messaging for clients to protect and build their reputations.     Listen + subscribe on Stitcher or Apple Podcasts.  
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