Richard Sherman Controls an Interview

Richard Sherman Wins the Interview.

I regularly advise my colleagues on how to perform well in an interview.  Among the most important points I make is that the interview is not controlled by the interviewer.

Those who believe an interview will go where the interviewer takes it: a. have not seen this video and b. do not understand today’s media environment.

There was a time when the ‘news media’ controlled or influenced how people perceived you or a given subject, but those days are gone.  There are now ample mediums for you to do define yourself and share your message.  You are not beholden to the questioner. You control the microphone.  To get back on point here,

“when engaging in an interview be more aware of the message you want to communicate than answering the questions.”

For an example on exactly how to do that I refer you to Richard Sherman’s brutal take down of ESPN’s Skip Bayless.

Mr. Bayless offered that Sherman didn’t belong in the same “class as Darelle Revis.”  Sherman believed that Mr. Bayless wasn’t backing up his argument with facts. That he was merely offering opinion, more precisely conjecture.

As such, he ignored Mr. Bayless’s questions as to Mr. Sherman’s own, larger motives, and re-framed the debate as an assessment of Mr. Bayless’s argument, and to a large extent a referendum on Mr. Bayless’s journalistic and personal character and integrity.

This is an excellent example of verbal judo. Some might call it truth to power, but I like to think of it as judo because Sherman flipped a malicious adversary (Bayless) on his arse, and the facts and figures would seem to say rightfully so.  He didn’t shout. Calmly and eloquently he stated the facts, called Bayless out and most importantly defined himself (All-Pro, Stanford graduate).

Good for you Mr. Sherman. Good for you.  And for anyone looking for tips on how to perform well in an interview with the news media, watch this clip.

As for you Mr. Bayless, Break Dance Kitten Agrees: You Got Pawned.

Brendan Stanton, PR

good p.r. is consistent, innovative sophistication in communication.

Innovative. In order to be consistent in p.r. you must remain innovative.  It’s an industry based on predicting the future and, in the worst cases, reacting with lucid speed to the present.

Moreover, human communication is by nature saddled with a half-life; a half-life being the amount of time required for a quantity [media placement] to fall to half its value as measured at the beginning of the time period. Anyone who has handled the “clips” knows this to be a verifiable observation.

So I repeat, in order to be consistent, you must be innovative; you must be aware and active in the changing mediums of communication.

Take The Bible for example (Lord forgive me).  The earliest writings of The Bible were set down nearly 3500 years ago.  Meanwhile, my earliest memory of a Biblical story comes from watching Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” as a small child.

In short, even The Bible must be innovative to consistently deliver it’s message; a message that has transcended human oration, stone, paper, radio, film, TV, the internet, social media and smart phones.*

Put another way, in p.r. the communication is the product and as our methods of communication evolve the communication itself evolves.

As such, good p.r. inherently requires innovation and is limited in its creativity only by our ability to communicate

(In fact innovative p.r. can literally be out of this world).

good p.r. is innovative


good p.r. is consistent, innovative sophistication in communication.

Consistent. PR legend Dan Edelman (TIME OUT: If you don’t know this name stop reading now. Please go do something else, or pause and do your homework. TIME IN) founded the eponymously-named Edelman in 1952. He did not retire until 1996 at the tender age of 76. He conducted public relations for 44 years.  Then there’s PR legend Howard J. Rubenstein (TIME OUT: You should know him too. TIME IN), who founded Rubenstein Associates in 1954. At the moment of this publication he remains President and Chairman of the firm that bears his name.

You might think these are examples of longevity, but you’d be wrong.

The thing about public relations is that more than most professions, save the U.S.M.C., you are judged daily by what you produce.  So to be that successful, for that many years strikes me as a towering model of consistency. Those who survive and prosper in p.r. are those who can pitch, dream, think, write and create on a daily basis — no matter what’s going on around them, and do it for the benefit of others. Let that last part sink in for a moment.

That is a rare type of consistency and what I mean by ‘good p.r. is consistent.’

*Also, good p.r. is, of course, consistent in the most basic sense of the word.

good p.r. is consistent


Forgot Your Business Cards…? So What.

Here’s a nice aphorism for what p.r. is really all about and some good networking pointers (I warn you I’m going to go rather far afield here, but we’ll come home in the end). If you don’t want to read all the way through, here is the takeaway: You Are Your Own Business Card.

I work with some incredibly brilliant people.  Super LawyersBest Lawyers, Harvard Law grads and people with as many as four degrees (and we are talking M.B.A., M.A., and LL.M. here).  So today when one colleague of mine, an extremely high-tech lawyer and widely regarded as a top tech lawyer in NY, called and asked, “I have to go to a networking event tonight, but forgot my business cards, what do I do?” I had to laugh at their overlooking some rather obvious solutions.

Now, in the person’s defense I think they were expecting me to come up with a high-tech solution to this rather common problem.  After all we are constantly exchanging recommendations about ‘this app’ or ‘that app’ as solutions to life’s regular challenges. The challenge there, however, is even with most high-tech solutions, iPhone apps, etc., one must still engage in the common refrain “what’s your contact information?”, which after all was what he was shy to ask because he had left his business cards at the office.

So I gave him these ‘tricks’ that I have found very practical in the networking arena:


Go to the venue early, grab the business card of the restaurant or hotel where the networking activity is being held, and write your information on the back. Presto! Instant business cards.

Next lead with a joke, “I’m not a salesman for the Four Seasons, but I’m fresh out of business cards. My information is here on the back. I hope you don’t mind.”

Then the important part, if you can hack it, along with your hand-written contact information pen a brief note right then and there pertinent to your conversation.  Believe it or not, in a very low key way, you now stand out from the pack; which is also the point isn’t it.


Carry on as if you do have your business cards with you.  Then at the moment of the exchange, reach for your wallet and use the old, “Oh, gee, I just ran out of business cards.” If you time your delivery right the other person should already be in the act of taking out their business card and by then they are committed to the exchange.

Look I agree, it’s not the best approach and is even a bit sneaky, but when in a pinch it works .

Besides, the point here is not to exchange business cards for the sake of exchanging business cards, but to undertake a valuable exchange of information and make an actual new contact.

So as long as one of you goes away with a means of contacting the other: mission accomplished.  If there has been a genuine connection the person will be pleased to hear from you – and receive YOUR contact information – at a later time.

(P.S. Don’t do this often. Only in emergencies.  Being spotted doing this multiple times, or in a group of people could be a little embarrassing, and if that happens you’ll just have to roll with the punches, but to me it’s better than not going to an event because you don’t have business cards)


Calling Captain obvious.  Instead of reaching for a wallet empty with business cards, reach for your phone and suggest that they just provide you a business e-mail right then and there so that you can e-mail them your contact information.

To me this was all a no-brainer, but to the attorney I helped I think he laughed and thought what a simple solution.

In the end I just had to remind this rather intelligent person that just because exchanging business cards is the ritual that does not mean it is the only solution. Just pick a solution and go for it.

The p.r. point to be made:

Really, I had a good laugh about this problem, but then it dawned on me, how many people have gone to a networking event and used “not having business cards on them” as an excuse not to network.  I think this happens more often than many care to admit. And here comes my overarching p.r. tie-in…if you’ve got a good message just go for it.

Stated another way, what this humorous exchange reminded me was what Twitter, Facebook LinkedIn, cold-calling, press release, YouTube, press conference and business cards all have in common. In the end, they are just a vehicle for information, but you are your own best messenger.

The day belongs to the people who make the calls, say hello and show up.  So if your message is right, stop stalling and tell your story…you can always follow up with a business card later.

(DISCLAIMER: None of this is to say don’t be prepared, just don’t lose the message in the trees…or something like that.)