How to Overcome a Crisis Situation

By: Jeff Heisner

So you opened up your mouth and let something slip out you should have kept to yourself.

Or maybe you said something that wasn’t very PC and now your paying for it in the press.


The good news is you can resurrect your image.

Golfer Phil Mickelson recently ticked off a number of people with his comments on taxes in California.

Mickelson complained he would have to pay 62 or 63 percent of what he made in taxes.

According to Forbes, Mickelson made nearly $50 million in 2012.

The last thing people want to hear is a rich guy complaining and whining about his plight and what he owes Uncle Sam.

Mickelson was blasted by the press and killed on message boards for a couple of days, until he got in front of the media.

What he did next was brilliant.  Take a listen to the link below…

Mickselson Apology, Courtesy: ESPN

Here are three things you can learn from Mickelson on how to handle a crisis situation.

1. Admit mistakes and apologize – He accepted responsibility by stating “I’ve made some dumb, dumb mistakes and talking about this was one of them,” and went on to apologize saying it was, “insensitive to those without jobs and those who live from paycheck to paycheck.”

2. Poke fun at yourself – Mickelson the  made the entire press tent laugh by comparing this mistake to one of the most infamous choke jobs in golf, his collapse at the U.S. Open.

3. Make yourself likable.  With his smile and self-effacing humor, Mickelson disarmed and charmed a room that was ready to pounce on him for his comments.  Coming off defensive in this situation would’ve been disastrous.  He knew that and was as slick in the press conference as one of his improbable and extraordinary flop shots.

An ill-timed rant or slip of the tongue doesn’t mean your image has to walk the plank or even wind up plugged in a bunker.  Surviving and transforming that crisis situation can happen.

What Separates Melba Toast From Some Great Football Coaches

By: Jeff Heisner

Watching a number of football games over the holidays (or as sports fans like to call it “The Bowl Season,”) prompted me to write this blog.

As the clock wound down to 0:00, I saw one head coach so over-joyed he was high steping to mid-field after being drenched by a gatorade shower and seconds later dead-pan, refusing to make eye contact with the reporter and even frowning during his post-game interview.  And this was the winning coach.

I went from feeling good about his team and what just happened to wondering what’s wrong with this guy?


Whether he likes it or not, the coach is a salesman for the university.

He needs to bring in the donors, and players to have any kind of success.

The monotone and robotic answers while staring at the ground at one of the highest moments he could have is not going to sell his program.

This situation was awkward and the lessons you can learn are limited to the sports world.

When you get interviewed or give a speech, you are representing yourself and your business.

You want to be likable and approachable in public, a pleasant smile and eye contact go a long way.

A smile during an interview or a speech can usually take care of a lot of problems you might have.

It will make you look and sound better, as well as bump up your energy level.


While some football coaches like Nick Saban, Chip Kelly, and of course Bill Belichick have enjoyed great success on the field, their media interviews are as boring and bland as melba toast.

Don’t make melba toast seem exciting, SMILE!

Paul Ryan’s run in with my old station

By: Jeff Heisner

A station I worked for in Flint, Michigan is in the news for what took place during the final moments of an interview involving Mitt Romney’s running mate.

Paul Ryan and his people took exception to a question in this video.

They stopped the interview and Ryan told the reporter, “that was kinda strange, trying to stuff words in people’s mouths.”

Ryan is right, the question and reporter’s leap from gun laws and public safety to tax cuts was not done well.

Paul Ryan

Here are three things we can learn from Paul Ryan on how to handle a situation like this…

  1. 1. Not every question is going to be wrapped up with a nice little bow and is easy to answer.  You are going to get questions that might make assumptions or they may be coming from way out in left field.  What you consider, a bad question can easily turn the focus on you, if you don’t handle it the right way.  Ryan did a nice job deflecting the assumption back to the reporter calmly, which was a smart way to handle this exchange.
  2. 2. Ryan has been outspoken about what he believes is a biased media.  That is not a myth.  Reporters are biased.  Whether it’s right or left leaning, or for or against a specific cause, often a reporter will come into the interview with preconceived notions and loaded questions, so be prepared and know how to handle these situations.
  3. 3. Ryan did a nice job keeping his cool during interview, but was caught on camera being combative when the interview was “finished.”  What Ryan did was not terrible, but it could have been worse.  The interview may have been over, but the camera was still rolling.  Had Ryan gone a little farther, it could’ve been a PR nightmare.  It is disaster for anyone caught lecturing, scolding, or yelling at any reporter.

Learn How to Communicate to a Middle Schooler

By: Jeff Heisner

If you want your message to be well received the next time you are speaking channel your inner-middle schooler.

I’m not asserting you should bust out OMG, LOL, or BFF in your next speech or media interview, however I am saying you need to make sure your message is understandable to as many people as possible.


Courtesy: Mytown Mercury News

Don’t think of this as dumbing your down message, nor that your audience is stupid.

Newspapers aim their writing at an 8th grade level.

Network TV shows aim their programming at a 6th grade level.

They understand the message needs to be simplified with relevant and relatable references and analogies.

Remember Dennis Miller?

The comedian made his living on obscure references that made you laugh out loud like, “one man’s Voltaire is another man’s Screech.”

Other times it was just plain confusing, leaving you wondering “what did he just say.”

Some of Miller’s analogies were so obscure the old Britannica (encyclopedia) couldn’t help.

Somehow, Miller made it work, but he may be the last person to employ so many cryptic jokes.

For your next speech or media interview leave out Millerisms, you don’t want your audience scratching their heads.

It’s also a good idea to get rid of the jargon, and technical talk.

And if you are thinking about trying to impress your audience with an expansive vocabulary… don’t!

You should be looking for mass appeal, so break it down like a middle schooler.

Cooking Segments Aren’t as Easy As You Think!

By Jodie Heisner

Perhaps it’s thanks to the Food Network, everyone seems to think doing a TV cooking segment is as simple as pie. Think again my friends. Television cooking segments are among the most difficult to pull off. They require 10x more preparation and practice than your average television interview.

Associated Press


So before you Restaurant owners, Chefs, cooks, RD’s or Nutritionists put yourselves and your food in front of the camera, here are 5 tips that will give you a start at creating some delicious television.

Where to Look: Look at the host or the food you are working with, don’t look at the camera or the crew or off into the studio.

Presentation: If you think your presentation is “pretty good,” go back and add more. Creating an amazing layout is 1/2 the battle in getting the producers to love you and book you again. Bring the ingredients you’ll need plus extra to create a display on the counter. Use clean white plates and clear glass dishes for your presentation. HEY RESTAURANTS; PRODUCERS HATE STYROFOAM, FOIL & PLASTIC!!! Add to the display with flowers, candles, a bottle of wine poured into a beautiful glass. The bigger the better!

Take The Lead: In most interviews you should wait for the questions to be asked. Cooking segments are an exception to this rule. You are teaching the host and the viewer, so take the lead. Let them know what comes next, and interesting fact or tidbit about that ingredient, ask them if they’ve ever used it before then move to the next step.

Talk and Cook, at the same time: While you will be taking the lead the host will obviously have questions too, so answer them, while you are cooking! Too often I watch Chefs completely stop what they are doing to chat with the host and then run out of time. If you can’t walk and chew gum, a TV cooking segment isn’t going to be your thing.

The Recipe Will Be on the Website: Don’t worry about hitting every single ingredient, measurement & technique needed for the recipe. It will be on the website, no one at home is cooking scallops along with you at 8am. You are there to entertain. So share some interesting facts on the ingredients, an anecdote on how you discovered it or just have FUN with the host.

I could go on and on and on. My last tip for today is this, practice. Seriously, out loud in your kitchen; do the segment, get a feel for how it will work and how long you will have. Of course if you plan to regularly do these segments or have your chefs do these segments, media training is a wise investment.