We’ve had a run recently on words that come back to poke the senders, top execs in the sports realm. There’s that guy who heads the Russian Tennis Federation, who labeled the tennis super-stars Venus and Serena Williams as “the Williams brothers” and “scary” to look at. Shamil Tarpischev made that comment on Russian TV and got heavy flak from Serena and the press. He said it was intended to be humorous, and later apologized. For his comments, he was fined $25,000 and suspended from tour involvement for a year.
Then there was a tweet and Facebook post comment from the president of the PGA – Professional Golfers Ass’n. Ted Bishop was not pleased with some comments British golfer Ian Poulter had written in his autobiography and made comments about Poulter that were immediately jumped on as insulting to women. Bishop wrote on Facebook: “Sounds like a little school girl squealing during recess. C’MON MAN!,” Goodby Mr. Bishop, as the PGA ousted him from his top office, and yes, he did apologize to Serena.
Way back a few centuries a chap named William Shakespeare wrote an alert to message senders that might have been helpful to the above comment makers. Othello’s advice was “Weigh’st thy words before thou givest them breath,” or in common modern usage “Put brain in gear before mouth.” Probably most of us have ignored that advice (and later said “oops, blew that one”) but when high-visibility people do that, it hits the press fast and strong, and per the above there is often a price to pay.
Lots more time-tested and valuable wisdom can be seen in SAY IT LIKE SHAKESPEARE: THE BARD’S TIMELESS TIPS FOR COMMUNICATION SUCCESS. My recently-updated 2nd Edition of McGraw-Hill’s original widely-praised book provides proven, practical advice for communicating well with others in both business and personal engagements.