Ten Worst Communication Blunders of 2009
Bill Lampton | SmallBizLInk
From my steady review of major news events, here are the ten worst communication blunders of 2009, and the lessons they provide for small business professionals.
1. Tiger Woods praised his wife Elin after his car crash Thanksgiving night: “My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble.”
Why this blunder was so awful: Assumes the public is gullible enough to believe anything a famous figure uses as a cover up to the quite obvious facts.
The lesson:Remember that Aristotle said our statements must be backed with logic before they will earn acceptance.
2. President Barack Obama told Jay Leno the President had bowled a mediocre score of 129 in the White House bowling alley. Obama’s lament: “It was like—Special Olympics or something.”
Why this blunder was so awful: Sounded like the President was demeaning children with special needs.
The lesson: Avoid any reference to people with disabilities, because your attempt at humor is likely to offend someone.
3. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford referred to his mistress as his “soul mate,” yet claimed he was “trying to fall back in love with my wife.”
Why this blunder was so awful: Even saying privately, much less publicly, that you are trying to love your wife again (though you will die knowing that you have met your soul mate) could prompt your wife to borrow a golf club from Tiger’s Elin.
The lesson: Wise communicators make clear choices, rather than diluting their commitments to satisfy everybody.
4. “Balloon boy” Falcon Heene explained on national television why he had not emerged when searchers called his name. Glancing at his parents, he answered: “You guys said we did this for the show.”
Why this blunder was so awful: Falcon’s honesty exposed the family’s hoax, designed to generate fame for a new reality show.
The lesson: As an old saying goes, make sure everyone on your team is “singing off the same page.”