Brain freeze or simple misunderstanding?

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Maybe Herman Cain's brain freeze came from misunderstanding  the question.  Maybe he thought the reporter wanted to know what he thought of President Obama's handling of Lydia, Here's what he may have been thinking:  "Dang it, Obama harassed a woman named Lydia?  How did he handle it?  Trot out Michelle?  Better look that up; he seems to have gotten out of it." 

What is remarkable about this news event is that Cain has actually written a book on public speaking and media interviews.  Must read. 

Link to brain freeze moment:

Client doing a smart thing

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I've recently begun working with Medata, which pioneered automatic bill review in workers' compensation.   Now they are the first to integrate medical and disability guidelines into the bill review system.  Why is this important?  Instead of having to get out of the bill review program, open a guidelines database and find the guidelines, the demographic/diagnostic-based guideline pops up on the screen just when the reviewer needs it.  This encourages reviewers to check guidelines - should the patient take six weeks to recover?  What is appropriate treatment for this injury for a guy this age?  What if he has co-morbidities - like diabetes?  How does that affect recovery time?   Having this info at their fingertips can help claims managers identify the tough, potentially expensive claims faster - before they spiral out of control - and give them more attention. Guidelines can also be shared with physicians, many of whom are overworked and located in rural areas and unable to keep up with the nuances of every single injury and best- practice. For more info, see the release.  
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Concise Writing

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Good tips on concise writing in Mark Nichol's piece.  I learned new word: "nominalization" (smothering a verb).

Fighting Internet Rumors

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Forbes' Christopher Barger has good advice on squelching an Internet rumor.

What's interesting is how short the public memory is.  This rumor has been around, yet new or forgetful folks still believed it.

More filler

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I can really talk. 

In fact, my parents used to pay the 5-year-old me to be silent for 15 minute segments. 

So much of what we say is useless filler. I'm working on self-edits & appreciate the tips in Robert Geline's post on content-free speeches.

Risking Reputations

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Some research shows that people with more to lose may be more likely to engage in "risky, socially unacceptable and self-destructive behavior," according to a New York Times article by Catherine Rampbell.  That would explain the rash of politicians caught up in sex scandals.  I remember thinking how stupid Gary Hart was to challenge the media to catch him, which of course they did, in the late 1980s.  What are they thinking?

Extra words do not make it better

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This piece from addresses the overuse and common misuse of words that weaken copy.  An excerpt:

Justina Chen warns of these bloodsucking terms.

"The most deadening of terms in any writing--corporate or creative--have got to be techno-jargon and business-speak," she writes. "Spare me the 'leverage' and 'optimize' and superhighway of meaningless acronyms..."

Having worked for technology clients, I love the "superhighway of meaningless acronyms" line. 

Good news, though.  One major (you'd know the company) has banned the use of the word "leverage" from its marketing materials. Lord, please let this be a trend.

Weiner's Wiener Lesson

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It's just getting worse.  First he sends crotch shots via Twitter then he takes a press tour to lie about it, suggesting his computer was hacked. 

Only after evidence is produced, he admits to sending the photos. 

Now, it turns out he has sent X-rated photos (presumably the wiener sans boxers).

But the good news is he and his wife are receiving PR counsel from the Clintons.

So what have we learned? 

1) Don't send explicit photos over the Internet to anyone - ever.Especially if you're an elected official holding a national office. 

2) Pay attention to the news.  Your fellow congressman resigned over emailing a picture of his bare chest! 

3) Don't lie to the media. It irritates them and inspires them to dig harder.  If you do lie, go all the way.  Don't insist you didn't send the photo and refuse to answer the question:  "Was that your crotch?" Prevarication raises more questions.  "So, Mr. Weiner, how long have you been photographing your boxers.   And why exactly? 

5) Confess your sins and take the hit.

6) Consider another line of work.  Underwear model, perhaps.

One definition of public relations is "good behavior, well communicated."  Yeah, that good behavior thing can be a problem. 


Smoking Kills Equipment, Too

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Total Medical Solution's Zack Craft describes the damage cigarette smoke causes to durable medical equipment in this piece published by WCEC and PropertyCasualty 360.



Susan Toussaint, co-founder of The WorkComp Advisory Group has built an ongoing relationship with, a web-based publication for agents.  Her columns run at least once a month.  This one addresses capabilities agents need to win and retain larger accounts