What are you saying?

Did I just say that?

During a show post 9-11 I was co-hosting with my boss Dick Haefner, I said something LIVE on the radio that I could not take back.

I was supposed to ask a question of Congressman John Dingell after a commercial break and my boss Dick Haefner was going to introduce him first. He decided during break that I would do the introductions and throw the mic to Dick and he would ask the first question.

No biggie. I had about two minutes to think of an eloquent and worthy introduction of the respected congressman – so I thought.

I heard in my ear piece, “10 seconds to air,” coming from our producer.

In a panic I rushed to introduce the Congressman and said “welcome back to the show Congressman Dingell Dick.”

No pause between the word Dingell and Dick. No litany of his biography and all the wonderful things he has done while in office. No just a BIG WHOPPING SLIP UP that I could not take back.

At some point, we have all put our foot in our mouths. Hopefully, a microphone wasn’t in front your mouth at the time.

Communication is a staple in our everyday lives. From your friends to your adversaries, being able to effectively communicate often reflects how you are perceived.

This past month, communication became a focal point as a speaker for me and not just a communication strategist consulting with my clients.

These past few months, I have had media training workshops, dealing with a bully workshops and serving as a moderator for events.

The Bully

In the face of a bully, for instance, one would have to know how to navigate a conversation to not only convey their emotions, but also work towards deescalating a situation. In other words, one needs to know how to talk to a bully without stooping to his/her level of anger or pettiness.

This is exactly what I discussed at a recent event for children in the Chaldean community. Hosted by the United Family Services/Chaldean American Ladies of Charity, I had the opportunity to talk to a group of youth about communicating with bullies. I offered the below advice:

You maybe able to stop a bully from bullying you but you cannot stop a bully from being a bully. There are tactics you can use to defuse a situation and take control. Even your body language speaks to a bully. How do you walk into a room?  With you head high or looking down?

While this event was exclusively hosted for youth, the advice holds true for any interaction one may have with a bully. Communicating and doing so in a refined manner will give you the ability to circumvent any escalation or issue.

In another event, I also found the topic of communication arising as a slew of topics were discussed, including safety within schools, race, and religion.

Teen Forum and the Media

I did not speak at the event, but I had the opportunity to attend the Walled Lake Schools Teen Forum. Hosted by Walled Lake Consolidated Schools and in conjunction with The Chaldean News and Detroit Jewish News, a panel of students, religious leaders and general community leaders opened the floor to talk about topics relevant to all students. 

In what can only be described as an open and welcoming atmosphere, students and community leaders were engaging in a conversation that students are all too often excluded from, even as they pertain to them more than others.

With effective communication this panel, comprised of people from various backgrounds, was bridging gaps and offering different perspectives for themselves as well as those in attendance. This is what effective communication should do.

When used correctly, our words should hit our respective target and get our point across. This is exactly what we teach in our media training courses. With several years of experience in the world of media, I know what it takes for an individual to not only “hit the target”, but also hold their own, whether being interviewed or just engaging in conversation.

As a former reporter, I know what questions reporters will ask because I asked those very questions. We are media minded because we have to be for our clients. From preparing for interviews, news conferences, panel discussions, forums and other such appearances, our media training classes will help others communicate effectively.

Communication is key, and in this current climate, necessary.

Women in Leadership

I have moderated some events and have more scheduled in my calendar. Most of the time, the show is scripted – who I will introduce and the questions I might ask but, in these events, you still have to be entertaining and authentic.

Many of you might be asked to moderate or serve at the Master of Ceremonies for a function. I did this recently for the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce Women’s Event.  This was the second year I took to the podium. The key is knowing your audience that is true for interviews. You need to always understand who you are talking to and the issues they most care about – the ones that affect their lives.

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