The president used his last White House Correspondence dinner to do something that some saw coming but the majority did not.
Towards the end of his speech, he pulled a copycat trick out of his "sleeves." In his parting words, he "stole" the line from Kobe Bryant's retirement speech - Mamba out - and inserted his own name, "Obama out."
This was a classic and a reflection of his ability to connect with his audience. There's no question that he is a very effective communicator.
It caught the audience off guard. It became the highlight of the evening. It was masterfully done.
There are 3 lessons I believe every business can learn from what the president did.
1. He created distraction
2. He changed the conversation
3. He rallied his base
Most business that want to create a public image and control the tone of the conversation can learn these lessons.
First: Find a way to create a distraction
If your business have been having problems with public perception, doing something unexpected will take the spotlight off your current situation.
This is important to "buy time" for the spotlight to be placed something else. During this time you can be strategizing to possibly launch a product or do a deed that will hopefully be spotlighted.
The president dropping the microphone became the spotlighted subject matter.
Second: Find a way to change the conversation.
Sometimes giving people what to say is better than having them deciding what to say. Not only that, if you know that most of what people is saying about your business is not helpful, you creating a stir of some kind will give them a new conversation to have.
The energy around that, can cause a ground swell that gobbles up the previous conversation.
The president knows that a lot of people are concerned about the economy, healthcare, terrorism and so on. By him throwing doing the microphone was unexpected and un-presidential. This action immediately evoked emotions on both sides of the aisle.
On one side will be those who see it as un-presidential and will make all kinds of statements against the behavior. On the other side, will be those who see it as "cool" (I say more about that below) and will make statements for his behavior.
Both sides will now be consumed by a new conversation, where the other issues are sidelined.
This is something that as a business person, you may want to consider. How can you change the conversation of the day?
Third: Find a way to rally your customer base.
There are some customers who will love you as a business person, no matter what is said about your company. They live and die by your products and services. They have benefited personally from doing business with you over the years. These people are true fans. You cannot do wrong in their eyes.
This is what president Obama was able to do.
He had a crowd that believes he can do no wrong but not only that, he knows the younger generation loves him.
By him doing something that they would see as cool, gives them one more reason to think that he is the coolest president ever.
It doesn't matter what the state of the country has become under his presidency. All that matters is that he is cool.
"Cool" rules the day.
If you could find a way to give that impression to your customer base, they will overlook the things that may have happened negatively, becasue you are still "cool" in their eyes. They will make the case for you as well as be your greatest defenders.
That's what the president did by that one simple act.
What are some ways business leaders could change the conversation when facing public scrutiny?