Bimbo Banter

The Super Bowl of Communication

  • Leadership
  • February 8, 2016
  • by Laura Barnett

Peyton manning super bowl

Let’s just say you’re a star NFL quarterback. You’re a household name nearing the end of your career, ready for retirement. But if the right offer comes along, you may decide to don a new jersey for a season or two. That’s exactly where Denver Broncos’ Peyton Manning finds himself.

In addition to being an NFL star, Manning has become quite the pitchman. Yep, that “Nationwide is on your side” jingle will be stuck in your head for a while. Peyton also pushes pizza for Papa John’s, and he’s on payroll for Nike and DirecTV, making him the highest-paid quarterback/spokesman in the league.

He’s a marketable commodity and will have plenty of options post-NFL. While CBS Sports President Sean McManus may want to keep watching Peyton on Sunday afternoons, he didn’t do a great job communicating that in a recent interview with 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. When asked if CBS would hire Peyton as a commentator, McManus said, “We’ve talked to him about it. Peyton’s one of those guys who likes to live in the present, doesn’t think about the future. But if he really wanted to work at it, and put the time in, I think he’d be really good at it. Yes, we would have interest in talking to him, absolutely.”

All I could think when I heard this interview was “No! No! No!”

Our clients know that the first question they need to answer is: who’s your audience? If you’re given the rare opportunity to be interviewed about someone you want to hire (or gain as a client, business partner, etc.), you must realize there’s a good chance that your intended prospect will eventually listen to what you say.

Focus on what you want that listener to hear and remember. Instead of saying he “doesn’t think about the future,” McManus should have talked about how he “admires Manning’s laser-focus and commitment to excellence.” The revised statement features much more favorable words to endear McManus to Manning. Words are strong drivers of memory, and Manning wants to hear why a potential employer sees him as an asset.

McManus’ statement, “If he really wanted to work at it, and put the time in, I think he’d be really good at it,” sounds like a backhanded compliment. Of course he would improve with time and repetition. Instead, Manning needs to hear, “He’s already a popular TV personality, who is dedicated to working hard. Combine those two strengths and you have a dynamite commentator.”

Few people get a megaphone to share their message, but when they do, they need to use the right words to get the right results. Make sure you’re speaking the way your audience listens and saying what they want to hear.

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