(Bradley) Chelsea Manning & Emojis

Bradley Chelsea Manning is in the news again.

Not for leaking 750,000 classified military docs to WikiLeaks and being court-martialed, but for the awkward acceptance to and very quick dismissal from an esteemed Harvard fellowship.

Manning took to Twitter to voice disbelief and outrage with the help of 17,000 emojis.

Don’t get us wrong, DMG loves a well-timed emoji. As they become more mainstream, using emojis in your online message can be a great way to emphasize your statement.

But it’s a careful balance. The setting matters, and you’re doing it wrong if you use more emojis than words to communicate a serious message.

Manning’s over-use of emjois weakened the “I should be a Harvard fellow” message, and legitimized Harvard’s decision to revoke the fellowship.

A good rule of thumb for you and your online communication? When you use more emojis than words, you’re not communicating.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

TUESDAY TIP: How Not to Apologize

Hillary Clinton’s latest book drops today, but we’ve already been blessed with various audio samples and memes:

The content is no surprise – Hillary takes very little credit and passes most of the blame to Trump, Sanders, Comey, Putin, etc. IT’S NOT HER FAULT, ok?

Except most Americans believe she is to blame for certain things, like that pesky email server. So let’s take a minute to review Hillary’s un-apologies and suggest a better way forward. It’s a case study in what not to do.

Email Server

Hillary’s un-apology: “Mostly, I was furious at myself. It was a dumb mistake. But an even dumber ‘scandal.'”

So close, Hillary! So close. A better response would’ve been…

“Mostly, I was furious at myself. It was a dumb mistake, and I’m deeply sorry for my oversight. But I’m thankful for the lessons I’ve learned…”

Admit fault, total and complete fault, and focus on the future and what you’ve learned. You may think it’s a dumb scandal, but a lot of people disagree. Just apologize and move on.


Hillary’s un-apology: “I regret handing Trump a political gift with my ‘deplorables’ comment…[I’m sorry that people] misunderstood me to be criticizing all Trump voters.”

So, you’re not sorry for calling Trump supporters a nasty name. But rather, you’re sorry they misunderstood your intentions?

Help us, help you, Hillary. An actual apology sounds like:

“I regret calling Trump supporters deplorable. American voters are hard-working, well-intentioned people who contribute to this great nation. I’m thankful to live in a country where we can disagree on political issues, but still enjoy the freedom to do so.”

DO NOT alienate a segment of the voting population by calling them names. You may need their support in four years.

In case you ever have to make a public apology, here’s how we suggest you do it:

1. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. DO NOT follow Hillary Clinton’s lead.

2. Admit fault – total and complete – and promise to do better in the future.

People just want an apology. If you attempt to pass blame, it weakens your apology.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

TUESDAY TIP: Are you ready for some football??

As the NFL season kicks off on Thursday, we recommend you take a brief timeout from your fantasy draft to craft a few talking points. Why?

Thanks to ESPN’s commentator-gate, the increasing regularity of National Anthem protests, and Colin Kaepernick’s free agency, football is no longer a politics-free zone, which means you should anticipate a question or two in your media interviews. Are you ready?

Here’s this week’s likely question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:


Q: “Do you think NFL athletes should be applauded for making a statement by kneeling for the National Anthem?”

B²: “I agree that these are important conversations to have. And while football players have the right to stand or kneel, I don’t think the football field is the most effective place to discuss these issues. <Insert talking point.>”


Wherever you take the conversation next, first acknowledge the importance of the conversation, but reiterate that kneeling in protest during the National Anthem might not be the most effective solution.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

TUESDAY TIP: Moderate like a pro

We outlined how to be a good panelist last week, so it only makes sense that we’d talk about how to be a good moderator this week. Because let’s be real – it takes both cooperative panelists AND an effective moderator to pull this off.

Moderators have a tough gig. It’s your responsibility to create smooth transitions between the audience welcome, panelist introductions, panelist presentations, and Q&A. You keep the trains running on time all while dodging the spotlight.

If you’re staring down the responsibility of “panel moderator” this conference season, keep in mind that not all heroes wear capes. Here’s our best advice on how to moderate like a pro:


1) Start with a hook. Think: Why is this topic relevant? And then open your monologue with a recent data point, example, or quote to illustrate why this topic is relevant.

2) Ask the panelists for a preferred bio. Website bios are often too long, so you need to figure out what highlights to read. As you choose the highlights, check with the panelists ahead of time to make sure they approve your edits. Also, if you have a personal connection to the person you’re introducing, or just read their book, or saw them speak, or watched them nail a media interview, mention it.

3) DO NOT let an audience member hijack the Q&A. Really, this is your one job. If you do nothing else, everyone in attendance will be grateful for your ability to prevent this from happening. Make it clear that you will only take questions (not comments!) and they better be brief. And if someone decides to break these very easy to follow rules, you have the power to interrupt them and restore order.


Keep these three points in mind and you’ll knock this opportunity out of the park. Here’s to a great conference season!

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

TUESDAY TIP: How to be a successful panelist

It’s (almost) the most wonderful time of the year: CONFERENCE SEASON!!

With only a few weeks to go until we travel to far-off places to network and learn things, let’s take a minute to address one of the trickier situations you may find yourself in.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been asked to speak on a panel.

Not as easy as it seems, right?

Panels involve a lot of moving pieces: you’re introduced, you present, you sit quietly while the other panelists present, and then you field questions from the audience.

Beyond your prepared remarks, there’s a lot to remember about who to look at and when, what to do with your hands when you’re not speaking, etc.

But we want you to survive (and thrive!), so we’ve laid a few ground rules:


1) Eyes. The rule is to look at whoever is speaking – fellow panelist, moderator, audience member. And if you are speaking, look at the audience.

2) Hands. Rest your hands on the table. Doing so will help you sit up tall and make it easier for you to take notes.

3) Voice. Even though you’ll have a microphone in front of you, it’s always a good idea to project your voice. The audience will be better able to hear you and you’ll seem very confident in your delivery.


A panel invite is an exciting opportunity. It means someone considers you an expert! So as you prepare to travel to a conference (or three) in the next few months, don’t forget about the visual aspect of your participation as well. How you look and move matters just as much as what you say.

Need more messaging help and/or media polishing? Become your best self and contact us today.

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