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Coaching the Know-It-All

One of the biggest challenges in public relations, and often in business at large, is coaching or counseling an executive who knows just about everything, or at least believes that to be the case.  It’s not usual for such a person to say, “I don’t need any coaching; I’m an expert in my subject.” But, since such people usually have large egos and are not accustomed to being critiqued or in any way found lacking, it often requires some gentle diplomacy to ... Read more

PR Strategist Column Earns Accolades from Journalists

For the second straight year, one of my bylined “In the C-Suite” columns has been cited by the Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for excellence in magazine commentary and criticism.  It is one of three finalists for the top award which will be announced at a ceremony in Miami on August 4. The column, entitled “Anatomy of a Scandal at Wells Fargo,” appeared in the Public Relations Strategist in January of 2017.  The Strategist was published quarterly both online ... Read more

Remembering Dick Enberg

By Virgil Scudder December 23, 2017 Sports broadcasting lost a giant this week but it also lost an outstanding man.  Dick Enberg was truly one of a kind.  As Reece Davis of ESPN said, “A better person than broadcaster and he’s a legend as a broadcaster.”  Another legendary broadcaster, Vin Scully, called him “the greatest all-around sportscaster who ever lived…(he) will never be emulated.”  I agree with both comments. My first meeting with Dick was when we were both students at Indiana University in the ... Read more

A Crisis of Truth and Trust by Virgil Scudder

“Trust but Verify.” That’s an old Russian proverb that President Reagan was fond of quoting. However, in the U.S. and around the world today studies show that people are doing less trusting and less verifying in general while increasingly placing unquestioning trust in statements (often false) that simply reinforce what they already believe. A panel of four experts with experience in media, government, law, and public relations tackled that problem in a panel discussion May 10 in Miami titled “Navigating ... Read more

“World Class Communication” Wins Best Books Distinction Award

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Obama Scores in State of Union Address

President Obama’s State of the Union address last night was arguably one of his best outings as a speaker.  He was poised, confident, relaxed, and persuasive.  Even, at times, a bit quarterback-style cocky. A speech is an argument for something.  And, Mr. Obama was clearly arguing for support of a liberal agenda that would frame the next Presidential and Congressional elections.  Had he been as clear and forceful during the recent election campaign, he might be facing fewer Republicans in Congress.  To ... Read more

Is My Reputation Growing? Or Is It My Nose?

By Virgil Scudder   One of the staples of network television news is reporting and commenting on crises—in business, in government, even in the personal lives of well-known people.  A top-flight news organization sees it all and often reports it in great detail. But, covering a crisis and responding to one are two different things.  And, in my experience, news organizations generally don’t handle their own crises all that well.  Neither NBC News nor Fox will get an “A” from crisis pros for their ... Read more

Nervous Time—Addressing Peers

By Virgil Scudder   In the 1990’s a poll cited “speaking before a group” as Americans’ number one fear.  The fact that it outpolled such options as death, illness, snakes, spiders, and taxes surprised some business speakers but hardly all.    No subsequent poll, to my knowledge, has provided a contradictory or superseding conclusion. For many executives, speaking before peers—people that you think may know your subject as well or better than you do—is the scariest of the scary.  Insecurities abound: Will they think I’m ... Read more

Scudder Tells IR Pros “Walk the Walk”

By Dan Thomas Apr 15, 2013 "Too many businesses talk the talk but don't walk the walk," executive communication coach Virgil Scudder told about 150 investor relations officers at a conference in Hollywood, Florida, on June 11. Speaking at a TED-type seminar at the national conference of the National Investor Relations Institute, Scudder declared, "Credibility is a company's most valuable asset. Too many companies lose it because they say one thing while doing another." The most notable example in recent years, he said, was BP. ... Read more


Being a competent presenter is essential to success in today's business world. Every executive is called upon to deliver important messages to internal and/or external audiences. The quality of the presentation often affects the success of the program or product. It's very simple: a good presenter tends to be perceived as a capable executive; a poor one is assumed to be a poor leader as well. With the right techniques and training, anybody can become an effective and persuasive speaker in a short ... Read more