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The Grossman Group CEO and communications expert David Grossman shares his insights on the importance of meaningful leadership communication in today’s business climate. With high level tips on engagement and connection, insights into employee motivations and behavior, and firsthand stories from the frontlines of America’s leading companies.

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Michael Bay’s CES Fail: Why Communication Strategies Can Make or Break You


michael bay ces

Until a few days ago, Michael Bay made headlines for the movies he directed, mainly blockbuster, action flicks like those in the Transformers series. But now he’s making headlines and trending on Twitter for a very different reason: his embarrassing moment at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES).

Bay was hired by Samsung to speak in front of CES participants and media to promote Samsung’s new curved HDTVs. When he went to deliver his speech, the teleprompter failed. Thrown off, flustered, and unable to ad lib, Bay walked off stage, leaving Samsung Executive Vice President on stage to apologize for him.

Both Samsung and Bay are being pummeled with criticism and are in major clean-up mode.

What went wrong from a communications perspective?

Bay’s speech was entirely scripted, so when the teleprompter failed, he lost his crutch. He initially said “I’ll just wing this” but clearly proved unable to do so. The problem with scripted speeches that either haven’t been practiced or that rely on technology to be delivered is that there’s little room for error. While the teleprompter structure can be helpful, it’s very constraining and not forgiving when issues arise.

What can we learn from this very public communication incident?

  1. Speak from a frame or structure so you can be as much of yourself and “human” as you allow yourself to be. (Whenever possible, don’t speak from a script.)
  2. Prepare and practice your presentation. Practicing communication and being able to speak from the heart and from a platform not only ensures that you don’t need a script, but that you are more likely to recover when you face a snag. Plus, audiences are forgiving when presenters speak from the heart.
  3. Be prepared to make a call in the moment if and when something goes wrong: do you say something or do you just keep going? If the audience may be aware of an issue, it’s always better to acknowledge what’s happening and then move on. Faced with a technology glitch? Defuse the situation with humor and a comment like, “Must be the gremlins in the technology.”

I can empathize with what happened to Bay—the teleprompter glitch, and how he must have felt. That said, there were a number of ways to have handled the situation in a way that won the audience over, and to have possibly avoided the whole issue in the first place.

Do you need to re-think how you make presentations? If so, what changes might help?

- David Grossman


Image source: iVillage


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master messaging, corporate messaging, message methodology, david grossman, messagemap, message map


Great points! Stage fright is certainly understandable, and can actually work to a presenter's advantage by making the speaker more endearing and "human" to the audience. (Most audiences and media reps can identify with tech glitches!) It's disappointing that Bay's support staff didn't encourage him to gather his thoughts, go back out and apologize with a bit of the humor you mentioned. The story might have still made headlines, but the situation would've likely been characterized as a "temporary glitch" or "hiccup," vs. a "meltdown," which sounds much more negative and sensational.
Posted @ Thursday, January 09, 2014 11:30 AM by Kristi Hinck Mills
Regardless of who you are, always be prepared to share "what you are working on." 
Given Bay's successes, I'm sure the audience would be perfectly happy hearing about "what's next."
Posted @ Thursday, January 09, 2014 12:01 PM by Tom Smith
this article very nice and amazing..
Posted @ Thursday, June 12, 2014 1:46 AM by Obat Leukemia
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