August 9; Make Your Own Positive Sound Bite
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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Chapter Eight: Communication; 9 August

I will say of the LORD,

“He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare

and from the deadly pestilence.

Psalm 91:2-3

Make Your Own Positive Sound Bite

Crook

No Bimbos

No Bimbos

“I am not a crook,” said President Richard Nixon in 1973 about the Watergate scandal.

What did America hear? Nixon, “I AM not a CROOK.”

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” said Bill Clinton in 1998 about Monica Lewinski.

What did America hear? Clinton: “I DID not HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH THAT WOMAN.”

These experienced politicians got entrapped by a simple question from the press. It would appear that these men trusted their own wit rather than be accountable to a higher authority. However, it is easy to avoid this snarky snare from the unpleasant press.

Merrie Spaeth, who was President Reagan’s Director of Media Relations, is credited with naming this phenomenon: A Bimbo. A woman named Jessica Hahn got caught with a backsliding tele-evangelist. Merrie Spaeth explains,

BIMBOs illustrate the perils of repeating and denying a negative word. Listeners often ignore the denial and hear the opposite of the speaker’s intent.

The category was named for the woman who — after being caught in a tryst with a high profile, married man — announced to the world, “I am not a bimbo,” thus causing everyone to think she was.

Jessica was a denier and not believable. Sounding much like a line from Hamlet, “the lady doth protest too much, methinks …”

Those Jessica Hahn photo spreads in the November 1987 and the September 1988 issues of Playboy didn’t help much in her Bimbo denial.

But sometimes people are just out to get you.

***

If the question is ever, “Did you break the law?” The amateur will answer, “No, I did not break the law, I am not a crook—what do you think I am? A bimbo?”

Never repeat back the negative. Always go affirmative.

The thinking manager will answer, “Our professional team and our associates always work in keeping with the law and exceeding expectations…”

The lesson is simple: The entrapping set-up is not to be repeated. Frame the past, present and future in the positive.

***

This is more than a public relations response to avoid a trap by a journalist; this is a positive life lesson.

For example, Your Business Professor corrected his own daily Bimbo’s with his children’s lunches.

Old: “Don’t forget your lunch.”

The kids always forgot their lunches. No wonder, that’s all they heard.

New: “Remember your lunch.”

The kids would then, more often than not, remember their lunches.

Don’t get caught (bad). Know who to trust (good).

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. Psalm 91:2-3

###

“My goal was to help the reader think about communication with key audiences- employees, the media, the public, shareholders, business partners, and to offer practical and entertaining advice for today’s executive,” explains Spaeth. “It’s a crucially important skill, and almost everyone needs to do a better job communicating.”

Spaeth highlights another Clinton Bimbo, “I will not be part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans,” wrote former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her upcoming book, “Hard Choices.”

Via Politico, “Exclusive: Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi chapter,” May 30, 2014, http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/hillary-clintons-benghazi-chapter-107240.html accessed 13 June 2014

 

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5 Responses

  1. “Words Matter” is an exploration about how we communicate. It is the Spaeth approach to communication. Most listeners will remember only a few things from your conversation, presentation or interview. Influencing what the listener remembers requires a basic shift in perspective, and an understanding of why people recall certain information while forgetting other information.

    In communication practice, we studied this process and developed a philosophy and methodology that focuses on how to influence what the listener hears, believes and remembers. The next step acknowledges that your listener will communicate with others and pass along what he or she remembers. The objective is to harness and leverage this phenomenon to achieve strategic goals. Words Matter because people hear and recall a few key words, build their recollections around them, and the process can be influenced. Here are a few more communication tips to learn more about in Words Matter: Information competes for memory. Understand this and apply it. Recognize that your listener or target audience is listening in his or her own unique, personal language. Respect how he or she listens and communicate accordingly. Effective communication techniques can be taught and infused into any corporation’s culture. Communication is powerful and a necessary tool for change in the corporate world. And remember, always tell the truth. In a pinch, you can remember it.

  2. JMK says:

    Mastering the art of communication is essential and it starts by realizing and understanding its obstacles and avoiding common mistakes. One of the obstacles that we have to realize, in my opinion, is that we are living in a very busy and distracting world where effective communication is becoming harder than it was. People are not only selective of what they hear and remember; they are also distracted by many things around them that are difficult to control. Therefore, we need to improve our communication skills to successfully seize people’s attention, stimulate them, and ensure effective delivery of our message.

    Another obstacle is people tend to focus more on the negative in which influences what they hear and remember; they are most likely remember negative words than positive ones. Therefore, when we say something or answer a question, it is very important that we respond affirmatively and never repeat the negative. We have to choose our words carefully; we have to learn by denying something negative, we are actually affirming the negative. For example, when I say, “I’m not a crazy person”, I’m actually sending people’s attention and mine to the word crazy and affirming a word that has a negative sound. However, when I say, “I’m a logical person”, others and I are only going to create a focal and positive mental image of logic that is powerful and a true reflection of the message I’m sending.

    It is very important to realize and understand these communication obstacles and mistakes as this will not only allowing us to recognize them, but also helping us to avoid them and improve our communication skills.

  3. Arturo says:

    Say What You Mean; Mean What You Say
    When I was a young kid I used to play at school a game called “secret message”. In the game, you had to whisper a message to the next person on the circle and the next person passed the message along until it reached the last person of the group. It was very funny and interesting because at the end the message had no sense from the original one. Everybody misunderstood the message and chose what they wanted to hear. A simple spoken message was very distorted at the end.
    According to a study done by UCLA University. “The act of listening seems simple enough: the ears register the sounds produced and the brain interprets them, assuming the sounds reach the ears and the listener knows the meaning of the words.”
    In real life this is more complicated. You might hear the message but the person you are speaking to might not be paying attention and may be distracted with several factors. Sometimes, people are hearing you but not listening to you.
    We can always relate this in the business world. Being a good listener and a good communicator is a valuable skill in business management.. By giving the customer full attention and maintaining eye contact one will understand customers’ needs and moreover fix any issues that may arise in a more effective way.

  4. Lauren R says:

    This idea of framing your statements in a positive context really struck me and made me think about past speeches and what made them so profound. In class, we’ve watched speeches, attended in person, and have also learned about the most effective ways of communicating. When you look back, I realize that, even in the midst of delivering bad news or giving the nation a taste of what it’s like to live as a disenfranchised minority, each speech had a hopeful bent.

    Even in speaking on an individual level, couching your words (or commands) using positive or affirmative statements can be especially helpful when communicating with new people. Everyone has their own communicating style and using positive words and phrases when sharing information or making a request creates a sense of goodwill and creates a draw for continued communication because you’ve already set a positive tone.

  1. July 13, 2017

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