Tips for Avoiding Celebrities

Welcome back!
Autumn has finally arrived - my favorite time of the year! Maybe it has to do with the crisp weather (a bit crisper than I would ideally want so far); the trees changing colors (which my two teenaged sons are looking forward to raking....not!), and the ramping up of highly partisan vicious politics, which takes no prisoners. 

Speaking of the tone of our politics today, it brings to mind one of my favorite lines: "If you don't have anything nice to say, make sure you speak clearly into the microphone." 

Every once in a while we are handed a juicy story which just begs for a little jab. Check out my op-ed piece for the Ottawa Citizen today: Tips for avoiding celebrities

Until next time.... enjoy the season!


Eight tips for every politician

Welcome back!
Well politics is in the air almost everywhere. Whether voting for mayor, city councillor, Congressman, Senator, Governor or Premier, there are some key communications concepts that every politician asking for your vote should keep firmly in mind.

Eight Tips that Every Politician Should Keep in Mind
1. Know what your message is. People have 'been there and done that' with blather. In one sentence, where do you stand on each of your key issues?
2. What do you stand for? In other words what is your positioning on the political landscape? For example, do you represent 'change vs. more of the same?' This should be wrapped into your 'doorstep pitch' or your positioning statement. If you can't say it in 30 seconds then you can't grab and hold the attention of the voter.
3. Always ask for their vote. Don't assume anything. Whether door-knocking, tweeting, at an all-candidates debate or at a speech, ask for their support, help, funds and VOTE.
4. Politics is about people. So don't hide behind technology. Get out and meet people. Be visible - even if you can't be there, make sure your surrogates are. I was in Palo Alto a few weeks ago, and Jerry Brown's team had a table at a street fair - signing up voters, selling campaign paraphernalia. Jerry wasn't around but that was okay. Meg Whitman didn't have a table there. Why not?
5. Make all your enemies deliberate. The above named Jerry Brown put his foot in it the other day - accusing Meg Whitman supporter Bill Clinton of lying about his record of cutting taxes. [Accusing Clinton of lying not only alienates Clinton supporters needlessly, but it's redundant!] Take a look at the video and read the critique by Time Magazine's blogger below it:  Jerry Brown's gaffe
6. Everything you say and do will be captured and multiplied in the media. Just ask Ottawa's Mayor Larry O'Brien who right in the middle of his election campaign had to deal with this story: Mayor O'Brien caught on cellphone while driving
7. It isn't about you: it's about the voter. Speak from the voters' perspective - not your own. It's a lot better to find out where your voters are going, and jump out in front of the line than trying to create your own line. [Just ask former B.C. Premier Bill Vander Zalm who has re-emerged from oblivion to lead the anti-HST tax campaign in British Columbia]
8. Try not to come across as a pure partisan. Most people don't wrap themselves tightly in a party banner. They get that you may represent a political party, but in the end you have to resonate with them.

So watch carefully to see if the politicians asking for your vote are paying attention to any of the above. And remember, ask them questions, demand answers and get out to vote. It's a privilege that we should all hold dear.
Until next time!


Back in the saddle again....

Welcome back!
I hope you had a great summer! I decided to take the summer off from blogging just to see if the world would improve while I was gone. Guess what? It hasn't! Coincidence? I think not!
The summer is a great time to reflect on one's life, one's community and one's world. Fortunately....I didn't do that.... Instead I can say that I did learn a few things, and in this posting I will share them with you, my faithful readers.
Things I learned from summer vacation
1. Some people not only have no shame but will always try to inflict themselves upon us. Case in point: Parker-Spitzer
2. Who says actions speak louder than words? Sometimes you can go far by doing nothing. Case in point: The Republicans are on track to win a minimum of 40 House seats this November. Go figure.
3. All leaders get too much credit when the economy does well (Clinton, Chretien) and shoulder most of the blame when it goes off the rails (Mulroney, George W. Bush, Obama). In the end, leaders just have to do what they think is right without the illusion that it's going to get them any votes.
4. Some people will believe anything. I mean ANYTHING. I don't care what you say that wasn't Paris Hilton's purse. I know it was mostly her stuff in the purse but still it wasn't her cocaine!
5. Airlines can track your luggage within seconds on their computers. They just can't guarantee you're going to get it on the same flight as you. [thank you Delta]
6. California is a beautiful state with great people, cities, technologies and natural resources - yet how come it's so bankrupt?
7. Flying from Charlottetown to San Francisco isn't nearly as bad as it sounds. Honest! [thank you Air Canada]
8. I would love to live in Palo Alto, teach at Stanford, and have dinners in San Francisco. [all in the same day]
9. There is no one I know who spends more on wireless infrastructure in his home without actually getting any signal than me! [thank you Nova Networks]
10. When your hydro and gas companies owe you thousands of dollars due to overpayments, they will not rush to give it back to you. But in reverse? Well that's another story and I'll see if someone can get back to you.
Oh...here's one more...
11. If you have a mental meltdown, try not to do it in the middle of a campaign debate. Check this out:
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Melt-down  Maybe it was an illegal alien distracting her off camera?

Until next time....to paraphrase Bono and U2, we'll all go crazy if we don't go crazy tonight!