If you either did not watch the Miss USA pageant last night or missed the story covered in the news, there was some backlash to an answer on a question on gay marriage. Taking the brunt of the storm is Miss California, who came in second, as people were shouting in the hallways after the event demanding that she be stripped of her runner up title. Normally, I’d ignore a story like this because it reeks of fluff – a term my high school social studies teacher, the late Mr. Bob Swanson, used to describe items that were printed in newspapers but had no real value. However, times have changed and there are some important lessons to be learned here.
So you’re the richest man in the world (or number 2 depending on the stock market) and you’re giving a talk on malaria at the TED conference. How do you get the audience’s attention and keep it? Unleash a swarm of mosquitoes on the crowd and say “there’s no reason only poor people should be infected.” Has Bill gone crazy since his retirement from Microsoft?
Of course the mosquitoes weren’t carrying malaria, but I’m sure quite a few audience members were a bit antsy as the swarm of flying bugs was unleashed. Was this a good idea? In my honest opinion, yes and no.
Today is a holiday for those of us in the US – Labor Day. As a kid, I used to have mixed feelings about Labor Day: on one hand, the weekend itself was always one of the most enjoyable of the summer but it’s also the last one of the summer. Even as an adult, I still see it as the last day of vacation despite the fact that I’m excited about the fall season, which is becoming my favorite season (I love all the activities in the fall, the temperature and I’m excited about all the events I have planned).
Conservative icon and talk radio host Rush Limbaugh recently signed an eight year deal for $400 million. Who says you can’t make money speaking? Each day, an estimated 15 million people tune their radios to Rush’s syndicated talk show – talk about a large audience. Whether you love him or hate him, those of us aspiring to become great communicators can learn a lot from Rush Limbaugh (and other talk radio hosts). Here are four lessons that will help you regardless of your political leanings:
Lesson 1: People don’t have to agree with you to listen to you.
I was shocked to hear the news a few hours ago about the passing of Tim Russert. I’ve always admired Tim and the way he asks the tough but relevant questions which many news anchors are afraid to ask. I’d occasionally watch “Meet the Press” because of Tim’s unique style. In my home state of Massachusetts, Tim hosted the final gubernatorial debate in 2002 and I was impressed at his line of questioning. His questions were fair, intelligent and relevant. My personal favorite was when he asked each of the candidates (Mitt Romney and Shannon O’Brien) what they respected about each other. I think they were both caught off guard by that one.
I think even Delta Airlines is surprised with all the recent buzz over their new in-flight safety video (which you can watch at the end of this post). Katherine Lee, a 33 year-old striking redhead and actual Delta employee, is the star of the video and explains how to exit during an emergency and which portable electronic devices are allowed.
This month’s theme for Video of the Week is “Humorous examples of bad communication.” Let’s face it, people are always mis-communicating and sometimes, it can be quite funny and entertaining. But most importantly, it’s memorable so you’ll be able to retain the lesson.
This week’s video comes from the Helen Tate Show, a British comedy that consists of various sketches involving a cast of recurring characters. In this video, Helen Marsh, the “I can do that woman,” is asked by her boss to find a translator to speak to a group of people from various foreign countries. Since Helen has that “can do” attitude, she volunteers to act as the translator. Here is the clip: