I don’t know about you, but I’m going to miss The Mooch. He packed more communication lessons in a shorter time than anyone I’ve ever seen.
There’s an old saying: “No man is completely useless. He can always serve as a bad example.” So, in that spirit, let’s see what we can learn from Anthony’s spectacular flameout:
· The danger of information compulsion. Tom Wolfe coined the term, which is the overwhelming need that people have to tell you something you don’t know, especially when it helps to puff up their own importance. Good listeners know that simply remaining quiet can yield amazing amounts of information from those who suffer from it.
· Impression management is not inauthentic; it’s smart. Nowadays, it’s popular to tout the value of being authentic, and letting your true self come out to others. Yet, when your true self is vain, profane and vindictive, you might want to think about toning it down a bit. It’s called calculated authenticity, and it’s essential, especially when you’re in the public eye.
· Flattery has its limits. Flattery can be surprisingly useful, as I wrote in my last two blog posts, but apparently even Donald Trump has his threshold of embarrassment.
· Nothing is private anymore. Scaramucci claimed that he thought his conversation with Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker was off the record, which Lizza disputes. Regardless, it’s extremely prudent to assume the mike is on at all times.
· Prepare, prepare, prepare. The most effective communicators know precisely what they want to accomplish and how they want to say things when they go into a sales call, which is essentially what a media interview is. His indiscretion was not as serious as Gunter Schabowski’s, which essentially opened up the Berlin Wall, but it was close.
· Choose your timing. It was probably not coincidental that all of this was happening when Scaramucci’s divorce was being finalized. I doubt we’ll ever know if he was thinking at full capacity, but he might have waited to let things settle down a bit before reaching out to the media.
· If you don’t have something good to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.
Looking back at what I’ve written, I’ve written blog posts about almost every one of the lessons that The Mooch should have learned. Maybe if he had been a regular reader of this blog, he would still have a job today!