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Words have meaning - Behaviour determines creditility

If you think that giving great interviews hinges on what you say, think again. Without doubt, the literal meaning of the words you use in written or oral communications will have an effect on the people you are trying to influence. But equally – if...More

What Burkhardt could, and should, have done differently

Edward Burkhardt, the chair of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railways, held an impromptu news conference following the train explosion that killed 47 people and devastated the Quebec town of Lac Megantic on July 6. The media encounter took place on a ...More

To probe or not to probe when a reporter requests an interview

It makes perfect sense to want to know what topics a reporter will raise in an interview so that you can properly prepare. The question is: What is the most effective way of getting that information? The most intuitive answer, and the course of a...More

Resolving the marketing v. PR divide

An engrossing discussion has been unfolding on LinkedIn ( on the question: “Should PR be underneath the ...More

A pithy comment about persuasion

For those of you who have perused this blog before, you know of two of my long-held beliefs. The first is that most of us are driven, at least in part, to make decisions or adopt points of view, not so much by demonstrable fact and cold logic, but...More

"But we're not gouging our customers"

Imagine this: A harried spokesperson, whose visible anxiety hardly conceals a welling inner panic, blathers into the microphone, “but I’m not being defensive and we’re not gouging our customers.” Not a pretty picture! Neither would be the post-int...More

Analyzing video clips: A useful tool, if used properly

Analyzing video clips of other people’s media interviews can be an enlightening educational experience . . . if done properly. The benefit accrues from identifying both desirable and undesirable behaviours. You will want to project such qualitie...More

New application of an old idea

Back in the pre-digital world when I was a journalist based in Copenhagen, I’d often get requests from a US radio network for a package of 15-30 second spots, with each one telling another side of a major breaking story, such as a general strike or n...More

Friendly advice to Iggy

Policies and promises are the trappings of illusion that most of us cite to explain - or rationalize - our political choices. In the end, however, victory will likely go to the leader who pesents himself most effectively as sage, knowledgable, capabl...More

Speech by Ed Shiller to Ontario Hospital Association convention

For any one of you who, like myself today, have had to deliver a public address, the words of former U.S. president Woodrow Wilson might strike a sympathetic chord. “If I am to speak ten minutes,” he mused, “I need a week for preparation; if fifte...More

Don't run government like a business

(The following article was published in the November 11, 2003 editions of The Toronto Star) Running government like a business may sound like a good idea at first blush. It certainly seems to have the ring of success. Just look at all those busine...More

An argument against boilerplates

Boilerplates - the often self-serving, general-purpose descriptions of organizations and their primary activities and achievements - aren’t exactly the stuff that dreams are made of; nor does proficiency in writing them rank high on any list of res...More

A crisis by any other name . . .

Crisis communications looms large in the public relations body of knowledge, and theories abound about what constitutes a crisis and how crises differ from other challenges with which the PR practitioner must cope. We are told that when the prese...More

A new approach to media training and fielding difficult questions

You’re nervous about facing the media, especially those tough reporters who always seem to ask loaded questions, twist your words or misrepresent your meaning, and you want to get media training that will help you avoid these pitfalls. All well and g...More

Dealing With 21st Century Media: It's Back to Basics . . But What Are the Basics

Following is a presentation by Ed Shiller to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce Speakers Corner Luncheon on October 30, 2001. Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen: I’m an American by birth, and when I was growing up in New York in the 1950s, I used...More

Art and text: Making the medium fit the message

Hiring a clown to deliver a news release may be alright - if you're publicizing a circus - but if it's to get the media to cover an IPO, you'll be sending the wrong message. It's the same with design: Flashiness might attract, but it could also disto...More

Building 'residual goodwill'

The general news media are more impressionistic than didactic. It's more likely that a person will walk away from a news story with an opinion of, or attitude about, the subject matter rather than with a compendium of facts, figures and process. M...More

'It's before the courts'

What's your first reaction to a corporate executive or other public figure who refuses to comment about allegations of wrongdoing because "the matter is before the courts"? Be honest! Can you truthfully say that you'd accept the explanation and su...More

Negotiating with the media: Debunking the myth

A reporter calls you for an interview with your new CEO. She'd like to do a profile for the weekend business section and was wondering whether it would be convenient to come to your office next Tuesday or Wednesday. "Okay," you say tentatively, "w...More

Aping George W. Bush

The more things change the more they remain the same - or so it seems in the realm of media training and interview performance. Ask just about anyone what he or she thinks of the way politicians handle themselves in front of the media, and the lik...More

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