Are you a professional speaker, business person, husband, wife, son, or daughter? How would you handle a situation like Tiger Woods?

Tiger Woods spoke today for the first time in three months. Media outlets like CNBC, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, covered the event.

Reactions varied from “he was robotic. He read from a script. It was rehearsed. He is a phony. It was drama. It was real. He apologized.”

Whether you like Tiger Woods or not, some facts need to be stated.

• He has not been seen in pictures for three months-amazing in today’s world
• He had to speak in front of 100 million people
• He took total responsibility

Tiger Woods did something today that not many celebrities or politicians do. He accepted responsibility without blame. His statement can be interpreted differently depending upon your vantage point: Were you listening, watching on TV or live in person.

My belief, from watching, then listening, then watching again, is he was genuine. His eyes were red, teary, lip quivering, all signs of being genuine, hurt and humility. He the FIRST sports celebrity I have ever heard to admit “I did not think the rules applied to me.” Roger Clemons, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez? I have never heard them take total responsibility and admit they broke a rule.

Friends and media have suggested that Tiger should not have had notes. It was rehearsed. Would it be better to be “off the cuff, unprepared, rambling, and arrogant?” Those are the opposite of the criticism thus far.

Effective communicators use notes. Professional speakers use an outline and rehearse. I have been a professional speaker for ten years, and always prepare in advance. When I have had to apologize, I sure have had to think and rehearse how I wanted to say what was on my mind. Off the cuff in emotional moments may release terms, phrases and emotions you cannot take back.

It is difficult for anyone to take full responsibility when they make a major mistake. Add the publicity, media pressure, sponsors and a family crisis; I think Tiger did pretty well. (I am speaking of today, not the last three months)

I’m curious what you think of Tiger Woods and his mea culpa today.
E-mail comments, or if you would like help in how communication scripts may help your business or personal communication to DrBrian@Drbriangrossman.com

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