Kiss Off

Many media trainers subscribe to the KISS principle when advising trainees on how to respond to reporters’ questions. KISS equates to Keep It Simple, Stupid. That apparently wasn’t the case last month when JP Morgan Chase incoming CEO James Dimon (Jamie to those of us who knew him at college), got caught up on a question during an investor call. Today’s New York Times described his response like this: “But instead of a clear answer, Mr. Dimon’s meandering response bordered on the unintelligible.”

The KISS principle is valid, but more importantly, why wasn’t Mr. Dimon sufficiently prepared to deliver a thoughtful message to the easily anticipated query on future acquisitions??? It’s one thing to attract a quorum of reporters and analysts to a briefing, but quite another to be ready for their questions. The PR/IR team at Chase perhaps couldn’t get any quality time with their superstar and super busy CEO. The net consequence of not making the time manifests in today’s headline: “When C.E.O.’s Are Entangled in Their Own Web of Words.” Ouch!