July 28th, 2017 .

How to Succeed in Business

Pat Morden

Memo to Students of Corporate Communication

From the Office of the Dean

Subject: How not to succeed in business

Dear students,

In light of recent news reports, I feel it may be timely to remind you of some basic rules of engagement.

1.    Nothing is off the record.

Repeat this phrase to yourself every morning as you get ready for work. Say it on the subway. Engrave it on your cellphone. Remember, what comes out your mouth at 7:15 after a tough day at the office lights up the online world at 7:16. Yes, some reporters are really nice guys, and yes, this rule applies to them too.

2.    Profanity is unprofessional.

If you need to swear (and you will), go into the broom closet and let it all out. Then come back to the office and answer questions from the media in the voice of a country curate. If you must swear because you’re “passionate” about your job, never utter the two or three most taboo expletives. (And if you don’t know which ones they are, you may wish to withdraw from the program.)

1.    Keep internal politics internal.

You will sometimes have to represent your organization to the wider world at a time when chaos reigns internally and meetings have come to resemble cage matches. You must be the face of calm, unity and clarity. Not easy, but it’s your job.

2.    Block that metaphor

Sure, it’s great to give colorful quotes – the media eat them up. But before you pepper your speech with amusing metaphors, be sure you’ve thought it through. And biblical references? Just don’t go there.

I urge you to follow these rules in your future careers. If you don’t, you can’t expect to move upward and eventually achieve the coveted role of Director of Communications.

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