At a recent press conference, Anthony Weiner lost all control of reporters and resorted to begging them to listen to him. His 800-pound gorilla was off its leash and it started smashing everything in sight. Anthony just stood there helpless, losing complete control.
Running for mayor of New York, there is no doubt that Weiner has important issues he would like to talk about. Reform that would benefit the middle class, budgets, and maybe even new subway schedules, all were ignored. All because of a gorilla that has twice been national headlines and the butt of late night TV jokes.
Sure he had held a press conference to deal directly with the gorilla already, but like anyone who has poured cream into coffee, you can’t just separate things that easily once they’ve been mixed.
The press wanted to get comments on the more recent exploits of Carlos Danger, Weiner wanted to talk about the issues of his campaign. He was getting more and more agitated with every question, the press loved it. The more the press poked at the 800-pound gorilla, the crazier the whole scene became.
All Weiner had to do was acknowledge the gorilla, be willing to deal with it right up front, so he could then, and only then, redirect the reporters to what he wanted to talk about. Instead, Weiner tried to ignore the 800-pound gorilla, the reporters could see only the 800-pound gorilla, and, in the mess and frustration of all that, the 800-pound gorilla took center stage once again. Not exactly Anthony’s desired result.
If you have a distraction – a well-known issue, an obvious troubling situation, a persistent question – deal with it. First. Upfront. Right off the bat. If you don’t, the gorilla will get loose and destroy everything.
Communications Coach at SmartMouth Communications
SmartMouth Founder and Principal Beth Noymer Levine is a Communications Coach who is emerging as one of the country’s leading voices on how to prepare and deliver speeches and presentations that actually work for both the audience and the speaker.