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  • Hara-Kiri By Press Conference

    Japanese Finance Minister Shochi Nakagawa resigned today following allegations that he was drunk at a G-7 press conference discussing the state of world economy.

    Nakagawa now claims he wasn’t drunk but had mixed cold medicine and alcohol with regrettable results. Speaking soberly at a press conference in Japan today, Nakagawa said was falling on his sword: “To take responsibility for the trouble I caused.”

    Did Shochi hit the sauce? You be the judge in the video below:

    What are the lessons from this….beyond the obvious: “Don’t drink and drive home your points”?

    Before every media appearance — senior officials (no matter how high up in government) ought to have a prep session with a trusted member of their staff. If time permits — they should have a full blown role-playing Q&A…known as a “murder board” in the trade. But even if a press conference has been scheduled immediately following a major meeting and there is no time for a murder board, it is essential that someone on the official’s staff take a moment to pull them aside and make sure that their tie is straight, that there are no remnants from their last meal on their shirt or face, and to ask a few questions to make sure that the official is ready to meet the press.

    It would have taken a huge amount of guts for some Finance Ministry staffer to tell Nakagawa: “Boss, you’ve had a few too many sips of sake — let’s call in sick for this press conference.” But if Nakagawa had the foresight to have such a brave person on his staff — he would not be about to join the ranks of the unemployed.


  • A Weak Excuse Is NOT Better Than No Excuse

    Generally, we advocate that people who are in trouble talk to the press and explain their actions. But if their explanations are lame — they are better off saying NOTHING.

    A weak excuse is NOT better than no excuse.

    If “oops, my bad” is the best you can do — you should just shut up until your lawyer advises you what to say in court.

    Seems to us singer Chris Brown falls into that category. The wounds he caused while allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, fellow pop star Rihanna, were described by the police as “horrific.” Brown belatedly released a statement saying that he was “sorry and saddened” by “what transpired”…that doesn’t cut it.

  • Your Mom Was Right

    Sit up straight.

    OK, she wasn’t entirely right. When doing a television interview you should occasionally lean slightly forward to give the impression that you are engaged and interested in your topic.

    Leaning forward is an effective punctuation tool when answering a question..it gives force and authority behind an answer because it changes your posture for just that one answer. Using a hand or finger gesture while answering is one more way to add to your body language and make your sound bite count.

    But new Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner doesn’t lean forward just to emphasis a point — he seems constantly at risk of tumbling forward out of his chair.

    We noticed in his interview on NBC Nightly News last night with Brian Williams that Geithner was leaning so far forward there were times you could see more of the top of his head than of his face. (See at about the 3:20 mark of the video below)

    Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

    A photo on the front page of the Washington Post today of Geithner giving testimony before Congress also shows the same posture.

    So what? When adopting this posture, he is forced to have his eye roll up to the top of his head – and gives a visual impression of a baby seal about to be clubbed. Not exactly the image you want to project – especially if you are trying to restore confidence in the U.S. economy.

    We’re not saying that Geithner’s sitting there looking like he was about to lose his breakfast made the market go down nearly 400 points on Tuesday – but it sure didn’t inspire optimism.