ANTICIPATE: Preparing to Communicate Your Messages and Counter those of Critics or Competitors

Even the best plans and messages must be managed and controlled. One way to do that is through coaching and training of your spokespersons so that they will deliver your messages effectively no matter what the occasion or venue.


challenge #13

A wonderfully innovative research-driven client approached Tom to develop a website that truly characterizes its work.
Tom created a universal theme and core messaging, and working with his frequent collaborator, In House Creative (link), created a dynamic and interactive website that clearly demonstrates the company’s vision for cutting-edge research and its focus on a positive workplace environment and value to the customer.


A clean, professional website, with flash, on a very small budget.


challenge #38

Re-connecting disconnects
Tom Goodwin was retained by the president of a nationally-known university for help in addressing large student audiences. Despite the president’ stature and experience, this person was highly unconfident and uncomfortable about addressing large student audiences. Likewise Tom worked with a United States Senator who, while accustomed to speaking in front of his colleagues on a daily basis, was nervous and hesitant about addressing his daughter’s commencement exercises.


In both cases, Tom worked one-on-one with each of the clients to build their awareness and understanding of presentation and speech delivery techniques. Then, Tom arranged a session in which the client presented the remarks in front of a small group of students. The students were encouraged to challenge the speaker by reacting verbally and facially to the remarks, laughing out of place, moving around the room, etc.; while Tom coached the client in how to react (or not).


Both clients delivered their remarks to audiences of thousands of students successfully and without incident. We have done speech writing for corporate executives, government officials, individuals, and message and media training for the CEOs of such companies as Aetna, Eli Lilly & Company, Procter & Gamble, G.D. Searle; foreign bankers and politicians, trade association executives, small business owners and every day citizens.


challenge #16

Plan for the worst, hope for the best
We worked with leading scientists, engineers and researchers to plan for the launch into space of an unmanned aircraft designed to fly long distances at hypersonic speeds, an attempt fraught with over 50 possible outcome scenarios, including global political implications.


We designed a contingency plan to address all the known outcomes of the launch and flight — including success — and trained the key personnel about them.


The client is highly confident that it can manage successfully any outcome associated with the launch and flight.


challenge #11

How does a national religious leader reach his flock after a gut-wrenching internal battle within his church?


After a schism in a national religious denomination left doubts and confusion about the future course of the church, Tom Goodwin was called in to help. Tom met at length with the national spiritual leader in an effort to reduce many complicated and diverse theological issues to messages that could be absorbable both by those within the church, or observers on the outside.

Tom shared with the leader his proprietary concept of effective message delivery, and helped him and his associates to craft a simple but profound message that at once expresses the inner strengths of the denomination. Tom also help the church edit a forthright and outspoken opinion article for publication in religious magazines and on the religion page of general newspapers.


challenge #41

It's Not Human
The work of a researcher who wants to develop a new machine that can replicate some functions of a biological brain was challenged because the unprecedented nature of the research precluded an accurate description — or even a guess — about what the finished product might look like. Despite remarkable progress in his research, he struggled to define his research on his own terms, thus allowing others to do so in ways that were inaccurate.


We created a strategic plan for communications and targeted media relations that allowed him to reclaim ownership of the messages about his research.


Public discourse about the project has moved from skepticism and ridicule in favor of recognition that the scientific progress made to date has been both unprecedented and substantive.


challenge #17

How do you make an effective spokesperson out of someone who is a prisoner to her own jargon?


A special assistant to a former U.S. president had among her responsibilities the obligation to welcome business leaders and other visitors to The White House. A long-time Washington operative, the assistant — while otherwise articulate — had difficulty expressing herself without resorting to “inside Washington” jargon and phrases that, she herself feared, could be a turnoff to the guests.

Among Tom’s coaching techniques were to “force” the client, during a simple back-and-forth conversation, to stop, define and explain her phrases and jargon each time she mentioned them. This caused her to realize that there are better, more effective ways of communicating important ideas other than jargon.