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Leadership: 2007 Communication Faux Pas Hall Of Fame

As of this post, I will have been a Fast Company blogger for exactly a year. It’s been a great ride, working with the folks at Fast Company, especially Lynne d Johnson, who has been an enormous help from he very beginning. It’s also been fantastic, eye-opening and enlightening to hear from so many readers. This is the kind of dialogue people like me dream about. Thank you all and I’m looking forward to another great year.

As of this post, I will have been a Fast Company blogger for exactly a year. It’s been a great ride, working with the folks at Fast Company, especially Lynne d Johnson, who has been an enormous help from he very beginning. It’s also been fantastic, eye-opening and enlightening to hear from so many readers. This is the kind of dialogue people like me dream about. Thank you all and I’m looking forward to another great year.

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Now for my 2007 Communication Faux Pas Hall of Fame. Throughout the year, I tried to be on the lookout for the most egregious errors. There were many, some of which I wrote about and some I did not. Following are my picks:

1.Steve Jobs for his iPhone (non) apology.
2.MoveOn.org for their ridiculous and unproductive “General Petraeus, General Betray Us” campaign.
3.Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University for giving the most unwelcoming welcome speech in history to President Ahmadinejad of Iran. This was completely self-serving, missed the mark and while Ahmadinejad may be a demagogue, enemy of the United States, and undeserving of even the time of day, they invited him which presented an opportunity to be much more effective.
4.Hillary Clinton for her staged laughing on all 5 Sunday morning news programs one Sunday in late September.
5.Rudolph Giuliani for his staged phone call from his wife, Judi, during his NRA speech.
6.Isiah Thomas and James Dolan for their arrogant performances during the Anucha Brown Sanders sexual harassment trial.
7.President Bush for many, many things including saying to Queen Elizabeth she had helped the United States “celebrate its bicentennial in 17…1976.”
8.Interference, Inc.’s leadership for their silly stunt that had the people of Boston thinking they were under attack and, worse, its handling of the ensuing brouhaha by hiding.
9.Barack Obama for every speech or appearance that is not planned or before a friendly audience.
10.The entire roster of presidential candidates for thinking and behaving as if voters are stupid.
11.Toymakers who failed to get in front of the lead paint debacle.

If you have any that I neglected to mention, please let me know. If appropriate, I’ll add them to the column with attribution.

Next week, my 2007 Communication Successes Hall of Fame.

Ruth Sherman • Ruth Sherman Associates, LLC • Greenwich, CT • www.ruthsherman.com

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About the author

Ruth Sherman, M.A., is a strategic communications consultant focusing on preparing business leaders, politicians, celebrities, and small business entrepreneurs to leverage critical public communications including keynote speeches, webcasts, investor presentations, road shows, awards presentations, political campaigns and media contact. Her clients hail from the A-list of international business including General Electric, JP Morgan (NY, London, Frankfurt), Timex Group, Deloitte and Dubai World.

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