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Digging Out from Political Turmoil: A Case Study

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What happens when the media spotlight turns and you find yourself having to defend your actions but are constrained in what you can say? 

This was the situation a private bank found itself in when, at the center of a highly charged political environment in Malta, it became embroiled in government money-laundering allegations and had its banking operations called into question. 

Background 

Malta assumed the EU Presidency in early 2017 and had a high international profile. However, allegations of financial wrong-doings involving one of its newly established private banks, led many to question the country’s due diligence approach and appropriateness as a banking global hub; ultimately contributing to a hastily called government election later that year.

As a financial institution and regulated entity in Malta, the bank operated to strict financial and regulatory disclosure rules which prohibited them by law from commenting on any clients, transactions or regulatory interactions. The banking allegations led to the bank coming under huge public scrutiny, receiving unsubstantiated accusations and a crisis of credibility.

Media Spotlight

This proved a testing time for the bank’s executive team. Despite voluntarily participating in a magisterial inquiry as a witness to provide regulatory and independent auditor reports and confirm compliance with all financial laws and regulations, the bank was constrained with what it could say in public.

It also had to re-assure correspondent banks and investors, address employee concerns and continue to operate in line with regulatory requirements while trying to stem the flow of negative headline news. 

Spoken Word Communications was engaged to develop a communications strategy to help restore the bank’s reputation and position it positively with key stakeholders in Malta and abroad by:

– creating a new company narrative

– producing position statements and QAs

– establishing social media channels

– filming executives to provide a ‘human face’ for the bank

– implementing a proactive media relations program

– undertaking media refresher training for executives

– strengthening the bank’s internal communications 

– monitoring media coverage and addressing inaccurate reporting

Communications Step-Change

Over the next few months, the bank saw a positive change in its communications delivery with more balanced media reporting, greater positive interaction with key stakeholders, and stronger employee engagement – all contributed to help restore trust with key stakeholders, rebuild its image and sense of pride in the bank.

The Bank’s Chief Operating Officer summed up: 

“The crisis management and communications training provided by Spoken Word proved invaluable to ensuring our team was prepared to communicate clearly and effectively with various stakeholders and media outlets. Their expertise was instrumental in bringing structured methods and strategies to what otherwise were unstructured and unpredictable events. I highly recommend them for proactive communications training.”

Next Step

To learn more about how Spoken Word Communications can help you in a crisis situation, contact us at Dave@SpokenWordGroup.com

How TED Talks are influencing the way organizations communicate

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How TED Talks are influencing the way organizations communicate

The golden rules for delivering a powerful presentation are to know your audience, know your material and make your delivery memorable and real. These certainly come into their own when presenting a TED Talk.

TED Talks were developed thirty-five years ago in California by Richard Saul Wurman as a way of delivering an idea or view in a short, enticing and thought-provoking manner.

TED is not a person but a way of presenting. The title gives a clue to the content (Technology, Entertainment, Design) – with an emphasis on entertainment. The presenter will talk, without notes, on a core subject they are passionate about for a total of 18 minutes (considered to be the optimum attention-span) using simple, powerful imagery and visual aids to get across a key point they want to make and leave the audience wanting to know more.

This has become an extremely popular form of address, with TED Talks being delivered across all corners of the world and attracting many millions of views online. A masterclass TED Talk was given by Bill Gates to raise awareness of Malaria and public health in Africa: https://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates_mosquitos_malaria_and_education.

However, there is also a body of opinion questioning the effectiveness of a TED Talks format and its appropriateness to explain a complex situation, versus the more business-like presentation we are all accustomed to.

So, what is the right approach for business?

We believe there are more similarities than differences between the two styles. This makes the “TED Talks” style a viable option for delivering a business presentation as it adopts many of the same disciplines and techniques required for a business-style format – audience engagement, content structure, presentation delivery and use of strong imagery – in order to deliver an engaging and memorable presentation.

We are seeing increasing interest from organizations wanting specific TED Talks-style training. If you want to learn more on how to develop a powerful TED Talks-style presentation, please contact Dave Scallan.

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Destinations with Dave: Island Hopping in Greece

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In the dreary days of winter, I’m dreaming of where most of Europe goes during the month of August: the Greek Islands. When you marry a Greek, as I did back in 2003, you quickly learn that trips to Greece are part of the package, and no trip to Greece would be complete without a little “island hopping” while you are there. Now while there are dozens of islands that cater to tourists, one stands out as the most iconic and the most beautiful: Santorini.

Santorini is believed by many to be the lost city of Atlantis. Formed around an ancient volcano or caldera as they call it, the island is shaped like a half moon. The main town (for lack of a better word) on the island is Fira. That’s where the cruise ships dock and where you will find the most shopping and restaurants. Fira is built high upon a cliff looking above the Mediterranean with some of the most amazing views in the world. Now if you come by boat you will have two options to get up to Fira; either by cable car, or by donkey. Yes, mule. Adventurers will choose the latter, and what a trip it is. After reaching the top of the island, those who survive (to my knowledge no one has ever been injured) will certainly want to stop into the nearest restaurant or taverna as they are affectionately called, for one of Greece’s many signature dishes. These include gyros, moussaka, souvlaki, dolmades, spanakopita, or my personal favorite, pastitsio.

Once you’ve filled your belly and got some shopping done in Fira, it’s time to go exploring the rest of the island. Your first stop will most definitely be the picturesque city of Oia. Oia (pronounced “Ia”) is legendary for its iconic white buildings with blue roofs. Bring your camera because the next amazing picture is only footsteps away with the Mediterranean bounding endlessly in the background of every shot. Like Fira, Oia too features boundless opportunities to eat and shop. It also claims the most exclusive resorts on the island.

Other spots on the island are easily accessible by car, but the preferred mode of transportation for most tourists is the 4-wheel ATV. They are available for rent at a low cost of 10 euros per day and open up the entire island for adventure. By ATV you can visit the famous black sand beach of Kamari, or the red sand beach of Akrotiri. Another benefit of the ATV is being able to take the back roads for some of the most stunning drives anywhere in the world.

I hope you get to visit Santorini one day. When I’m asked by people where the “prettiest” place is I’ve ever been to, my answer is always Santorini. I hope your adventure there leads you to the same conclusion. Until next time, safe travels!

Spoken Word Adds Sports Division

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For Immediate Release

September 3, 2019

HOUSTON – Since 2014, Spoken Word Communications has specialized in media, crisis, and presentations training for the oil and gas industry. Now it is pleased to announce it will be bringing those same proven techniques to the sports world. The goal remains the same: teach skills to communicate effectively.

Whether it’s dealing with the press in an informational sit-down interview, or interacting with them in a crisis setting, Spoken Word’s media interview strategy methods aim to prepare participants for any type of encounter. The company is set to offer both small group and full-team classes, depending on the needs of each team or athletic department.

Chris Mycoskie joins the Spoken Word Communications team as a senior counselor, heading the company’s newly formed sports division. Immediately prior, he served eight years with the NCAA Division I Southland Conference, including the last two as an associate commissioner. Before working with the Southland, Mycoskie spent a decade as an on-air personality for local television and radio affiliates.

Small group classes can include team captains, coaches, or administrators. The full-day training centers around three principals: preparation, pitfalls, and powerful messages. Through a sharing of ideas, multiple on-camera interviews, and a review of past examples, participants walk away with the skills needed to have a successful experience, whether it’s media day, mid-week or post-game.

For full teams and larger groups, Spoken Word Communications offers a 90-minute presentation that features news clips of former players and coaches doing things right and doing things wrong. The seminar also includes brief tutorials on the bridging technique and preparation procedures to assure success moving forward.

More information is available via spokenwordgroup.com.

About Spoken Word Communications

Spoken Word Communications is a media, crisis communications, and presentations training company that advises on how to communicate effectively, build confidence and credibility in any type of interaction involving the spoken word. Former journalist Dave Scallan is the founder and president of Spoken Word Communications, a global media and crisis communications training firm located in Houston. He has provided counsel to executives in over 25 countries around the world and worked with five of the Top 10 Fortune 500 companies. The company maintains offices in the U.S., U.K., and Singapore.

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