Category Archives: News & Commentary

Tiger Woods Grows ‘Low Rent’ Breakup Goatee for Masters Golf Tournament

I was recently quoted in this StyleList.com article re: Tiger Woods:

Tiger debuted his "breakup goatee" (left) at the Masters press conference on Monday. At right, a shot of Woods in mid 2009, sporting a cleaner cut face in more innocent times. Photo: Getty | MCT

A reformed Tiger Woods debuted his new image at Monday’s Masters press conference, shedding some insight on his improved self: “When you live a life where you’re lying all the time, life is not fun,” he told reporters. “Now that’s been stripped all away and here I am. And it feels fun again.”

There he was indeed, looking calm, cool and collected…with a Larry the Cable Guy-esque whisp of facial hair.

As the golf legend prepares for Thursday’s first round at Augusta National, we couldn’t help but wonder if the trendy, bad-boy goatee, not to mention the noticeably lighter and brighter Nike ensembles he has sported during practice rounds this week, were simply part of the new “fun” Tiger — or was this just another ill-fated publicity attempt by Woods’ camp to craft a less arrogant, more mature and “relatable” Tiger?

One that says: “I regret sleeping with porn stars — sort of?” in an effort to garner cheers from the galleries when he tees off tomorrow?

Because, in our humble opinion, the whole look just isn’t working.

We would be more understanding if Tiger’s new half-beard was in fact a means to boycott Gillette, which was one of the first brands to bench Woods after news of his extra-marital affairs surfaced. Apart from that, there is no legitimate excuse for the weird facial hair. It looks contrived and even a bit dirty, which makes us think of all the dirty things that the old Tiger was up to.

And frankly, it just makes poor Tiger look too much like the man he is trying so hard to not be.

“I think the goatee looks kind of low rent,” says image consultant and author Frances Cole Jones, who wrote the book The Wow Factor. “It makes you think of the kind of girls he was with, when I imagine it was really meant to make us think he was more relaxed, in the hopes that we would become more relaxed. But it backfired, because he’s still disgraced in our eyes.”

Dear Tiger, “I’m sorry’s” Only Please

We’re all familiar with the phrase, “Regrets Only,” on invitations: it’s the fast-track way party planners of sought-after events let us know that since it’s likely we’re coming, there’s no need for further action unless, in fact, we aren’t.

Perhaps this is the reason I find Tiger Woods’ use of the phrase, “I regret those transgressions with all of my heart,” so soulless—it distances him from genuine remorse.

What would I recommend instead? To me, “I am deeply sorry for my transgressions, and regret them with all my heart,” would have read as far more heartfelt. For starters, the use of “my” rather than “these” takes ownership for what’s occurred. And, as stated, earlier—thanks to its frequent use in a social context– “regret” feels like a sanitized version of “sorry.”

For whatever reason, however, “I’m sorry,” seems to be off the table when it comes to apologies of this kind. As I noted at the time, not once during the course of his sixteen minute and thirty-four second apology did John Edwards utter those magic words. Instead, he “made a mistake he is responsible for,” and informed us, “It is inadequate to say to the people who believed in me that I am sorry, and it is inadequate to say to the people I love that I am sorry.”

I guess I’m unclear on when “I’m sorry,” became inadequate. Did anyone you know get a call about it?

(Apparently Mr. Spitzer did, for although he stated that he, “acted in a way that violates his obligations to his family,” he did not, in fact, say he was sorry.

Now I understand there are people out there who feel I’m being too nitpicky about this—that I should look at the intention behind the words of the apology, and I do. But the fact is I find the accountability inherent in “I’m sorry,” a far more powerful choice, and I want those of you seeking the biggest WOW Factor to make the most powerful choice in any and every situation—regrettable or (hopefully) otherwise.

I look forward to your thoughts.

-Frances

If You’ve Really Got to Go: Your Guide to a Stress-Free Family Thanksgiving

This past week, I was lucky enough to leave early for my Thanksgiving holiday. As I stood waiting for a vacant bathroom on the plane, the flight attendant said to me, “There’s another bathroom in the front if you’ve really got to go.”

If you’ve really got to go?

Suffice to say while I applaud her initiative, my experience would have been very different had she said, “If you’d prefer not to wait.”

Am I being picky? You bet. But, as noted in The Wow Factor, we’re all on a razor’s edge these days: it’s these small choices that set you apart from those around you.

I bring this up today as many of us are heading into that compound oxymoron: a “family vacation” full of “family fun”: and sustained interaction with loved ones often brings out our own tendency to go rogue.

Consequently, a quick primer for your holiday:

“I was just trying to help.”  This too-frequent fallback has a guilt-inducing overtone that can send those around you straight to Crazytown. Far more effective is, “What can I do to help?”: a call to action that allows the family-member you’re attempting to work with to remain in control of the situation.

“Don’t get angry.” Let’s face it, “Don’t get angry,” only ramps up a situation. Instead, you might substitute, “I’m sorry—what’s the fastest/easiest way to fix this?”: a combination of accountability and request for forward motion that I’ve found particularly effective.

Any sentence that begins with, “You always/you never,” rarely ends well. Instead, I suggest, “When X occurs, I’m left thinking/feeling Y. Is that your intention?”: a non-accusatory, fact-based formula that takes the other person’s personality out of the equation, lets you speak your piece, and leaves room for additional clarification by everyone involved.

With all best wishes for happy, harmonious holidays!

Frances

Mic Snatching Aside, Kanye’s Apology Didn’t Wow

taylor-swift-kanye-west-vmasAs has been endlessly discussed, Kanye West snatched the microphone from Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech at the Music Awards. What has received less press is his apology on Jay Leno, and I’m here to say he did not wow: had you been watching with the sound off, there is no way you would have guessed he was contrite. Slouched in his seat, gaze averted, he looked anything but anxious to make his point.

What else am I basing my thoughts on? Well, while he said he was going to apologize to Ms. Swift, he hadn’t done so as of her appearance on The View the next day. And while I understand he called the show while she was on, I am guessing it was at the insistence of his publicist, who was likely watching The View and as appalled as I was that he hadn’t followed through on his very public claim to want to be in touch.

I also find Mr. West’s choice of language interesting. “It was rude. Period.” doesn’t leave a lot of room for anyone to say anything more– including Mr. West.

Here’s the thing: when you apologize, you MUST exude authenticity. Kanye West shouldn’t have spoken up until he could do so with grace. We all make mistakes– how we clean them up is when our character is revealed.

Who decided "I’m sorry," wasn’t adequate?

Although I sat through the sixteen minutes and thirty four seconds of John Edwards’ “apology,” I regret to say that at no time during that interview did I hear him utter the words, “I’m sorry.” Curious ommission, deliberate choice, or subliminal refusal to be accountable– despite multiple repetitions of ‘having made a mistake he’s responsible for’?

Here at didtheywow, we’re going with subliminal refusal. Why? Because if you read his AP Newswire “apology,” although you see the words, “I’m sorry” appear, they appear as follows, “It is inadequate to say to the people who believed in me that I am sorry, and it is inadequate to say to the people I love that I am sorry.”

Really? I don’t remember being polled as to what I feel is adequate or not. Anybody else get a call?

Mr. Edwards goes on to claim that the choices he made were due to a belief that “I was special” and that he “became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic.” Perhaps. The larger question, however, is does he continue to feel ‘special’? From where I sit, the answer is, yes. His decision regarding what is adequate for others to hear in terms of an apology–to me– contains a distinct stink of egotism and narcissism.

Your thoughts?

P.S. and b/t/w: didtheywow wants to go on the record as saying Mr. Edwards’ assertion that his marriage will survive this is likely to be a falsehood. Watch his eyes when he says it– their downward shift tells another story.

Should we listen to Bill and chill?

Mr. Clinton’s consummate storytelling skills were evident during his “Chill Out” speech yesterday in Missoula. He chose the forum to educate Democrats regarding the current “vigorous debate” over whether Senator Clinton’s refusal to withdraw from the race is hurting the Democratic primary.

As children, we were imprinted with the “Once upon a time” formula, and Mr. Clinton worked that formula to perfection yesterday. In this case, his “Once upon a time,” was, “On June 2, 1992, when I won the Democratic primary, I had been so chewed up…” etc.

At this point we are told how the big bad wolf, — in this instance Ross Perot– entered the forest.

Thankfully, however, the situation was saved. But not, he notes– and this is really where you see his gift– not by Candidate Clinton, the hero, but by YOU: “Six weeks later when the Democratic Convention opened– thanks to you, and many people like you– Al Gore and I were in first place.”

That pause before “thanks to you” is what’s known in my business as ‘the reveal’– our hearts swell as he lets us in, and makes us one, with his victory.

Did Bill C. unveil the right idea, in the right way, at the right moment– or was it too little, too late? I look forward to your thoughts.

Eliot Spitzer’s apology

According to UCLA professor emeritus Albert Mehrabian, when evaluating public speaking people only remember 7% of the words you say; 38% of your impact comes from your tonal quality and 55% from what your body is doing while you are speaking.

As the author of “How to Wow: Proven Strategies for Presenting Your Ideas, Persuading Your Audience, and Perfecting Your Image,” the first thing I noticed was the disconnect between Mr. Spitzer’s overuse of the word[s] “apology/apologize,” and his lack of eye contact, rigid physicality, and flat delivery. Turn the sound on your YouTube down, and it’s unlikely you would guess you were looking at an apology.

Should you wish to parse his delivery further, I found it fascinating that although he didn’t stumble before saying, “I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family,” he did when he reached, “and that violates my, or any, sense of right and wrong.”

This was, to me, an interesting moment to choke…is it possible Mr. Spitzer wasn’t heart whole in his feeling of having violated his sense of right and wrong?

Finally, when Yale University studied the most influential words in the English language they informed us that “you” is that most influential word. Never once, however, did Governer Spitzer say, “I apologize to you.” We were, instead, “the public.”

Along with Travis Bickel, another New Yorker with a dubious grasp on reality, I must ask, “are you talkin’ to me” Eliot?

Let me know what you think.