The Verdict. The verdict has come in from the jury…George Zimmerman is not guilty of murder. Though we, the public, must rely on the jury’s decision, clearly there is much angst and confusion over the verdict around the US. Protests are taking place in many cities where people cannot believe a man could be released after shooting a teenager.
We remember images of a young Trayvon Martin in a hoodie. We remember the stories on the news of how he was unarmed and carrying only a bag of candy. We remember how George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch person (who was not an officer of the law) was allowed to carry, wield and use a gun.
24 Hour News Cycle. What is clear here is that today’s society has a voracious appetite for news. In this 24 hour news cycle which is available by television, Internet streaming, blogs, radio and other methods, the same media messages are repeated over and over before a verdict is made. Because of this, in some ways, the public, or “the 24 hour people’s jury” has been programmed by these media sources regarding “the facts.”
We interpret this information as if we know the case, but only the 12 members of the official jury are the ones who were able to get all the information and ultimately make the final decision. The Zimmerman and Martin families will never be the same after this media frenzy, and in this world of 24 hour news cycles, it’s something that we all have become accustomed to in our daily lives.
1) If there is a photographer taking your picture, always pose for your best shot. My friends and colleagues laugh when they see me pose for a picture while I’m speaking to an audience. Sometimes I’ll be in the middle of a speech, and then I’ll acknowledge that the photographer is in the room so I’ll pause in order to allow the person to take my picture. I know that it is very difficult to get a good shot of me while I am speaking. As such, I take a moment to pause for the camera, as it doesn’t take much time and the audience will likely laugh with you because they are in on the plan.
2) Hire professionals to help you with images on stage and off stage. Whether you hire a social media expert, a public relations person, a staff photographer or a personal stylist, make sure your image is consistent and conveys the impression you want. For the 1000 Cranes business, the company invested in an artist to develop the logo and create business cards. 1000 Cranes invested in lawyers to ensure that the brand was registered properly with the US Patent and Trademark Office. The company invested in setting up its website to align with the images of the business cards. 1000 Cranes invested with photographers and video developers to ensure that headshots, action shots and other outward facing images conveyed a professional image. All of these steps were important investments to maintain the integrity of the brand.
3) Be authentic. No amount of image management will work if you are not congruent with what you portray to the public. I recently gave a speech to my Toastmasters club which was an interpretive reading exercise. I read “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe. I did my best to portray vocal variety. I did my best to deliver a speech that demonstrated the tense and suspenseful nature of that story. I found in the end that many people could not make the leap from my personal life to the one portrayed and demonstrated in that Edgar Allen Poe piece.
In fact, one person said that my voice was too cheerful…that is me being authentic to myself, but perhaps my voice does not lend well to reading that kind of passage. My evaluator said that a James Earl Jones voice would have been perfect. I must admit, when I say the phrase “Luke, I am your father,” it just cannot be delivered with the same panache as James Earl Jones.
How About You?
- How do you control your image and the stories that are associated with you?
- What actions and investments have you made to ensure you have your best foot forward and up-to-date image for your clients and prospects?
- How can you create your own “news story” that reflects your authentic self?
I look forward to reading your comments below.