Thursday, December 4, 2008, 5:11 PM

Beware the open microphone

The next time you schedule a media interview or a speaking engagement, remember Ed Rendell.

Rendell, the Governor of Pennsylvania, landed in hot water this week when a live microphone picked up his colorful comments about Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, President-elect Obama's nominee for Homeland Security Secretary. You can hear the episode on CNN below:

The lesson is unmistakable: if you don't say it, they can't print it (or air it on national cable news.) Being a good speaker and giving great interviews requires more than just memorizing talking points. A good communicator is mindful of his or her environment and audience. With the proliferation of cell phones, hand held video cameras, and digital voice recorders, virtually anyone can get caught making the wrong comment at the wrong time.

Companies are well advised to consider one-day media training exercises to prevent such self inflicted wounds and the public relations headaches they create. Womble Carlyle's Emmy-Award winning communications consultant Greg Massoni leads our media training exercises. They can be an eye-opening and rewarding experience for those who want to test their mettle in "live fire" scenarios. As Ben Franklin once said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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