March 24, 2021

How to be an Authentic Communicator (in Your Personal and Professional Life) with Anthony Hayes

How to be an Authentic Communicator (in Your Personal and Professional Life) with Anthony Hayes

“In order to be an authentic communicator, to be heard and to get to the point you have to be willing to see and hear whatever criticism may be coming at you and not necessarily internalize it and personalize it.” - Anthony Hayes

Whether you’re in business, a community leader or a political candidate, at some time in your life you may experience a communication crisis. It is during these times that possessing the skills to communicate not only effectively, but authentically to your audience, is of utmost importance. Today’s special Brave By Design guest is an expert in the field of crisis management, and not only does he share his advice on how to be an authentic communicator, but you’ll also hear his fascinating backstory, his experiences in the industry and his thoughts and opinions on timely topics such as social change and “cancel culture.” 

Anthony Hayes has spent more than 15 years in communications, crisis and issue management and political and legislative campaigns. He founded The Hayes Initiative to apply his experience steering organizations’ public affairs and media relations to clients across business, politics, nonprofits, and philanthropy. A seasoned C-level advisor, Anthony has cultivated an energetic, fast-growing company now trusted to execute strategy for prominent clients around the globe.

The Hayes Initiative (THI) is a full-service public affairs firm providing strategic counsel and support on a range of needs including communications, media outreach, crisis management, government and community relations, and event planning. They help leaders and organizations deliver major initiatives, break through the noisy media landscape, and navigate the world of politics and government. They excel with high pressure, politically sensitive, and confidential issues while demonstrating the utmost level of discretion and judgment. As an LGBTQ owned and operated firm, they are proud of their work in the advocacy space and of their efforts to help organizations realize inclusivity at all levels of their work.

Connect with Anthony: https://hayesinitiative.com/

Remember to hit SUBSCRIBE wherever you listen to podcasts!

What You’ll Hear In This Episode: 

  • How Anthony’s turned his greatest challenge as a young child into his greatest asset as an entrepreneur [3:11]

  • His thoughts on being aware of how you are being received by others [6:27]

  • The damaging impact on your organization when you don’t speak up and be the change you want to see in the world [15:15]

  • Anthony’s powerful lessons learned from working with big names and top politicians [21:39]

  • His perspective on “cancel culture” [30:01]

  • Tips and strategies for “getting to the point” when communicating [37:27]


Additional Links & Resources:

Anthony’s LinkedIn & Email 

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton


Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/bravebydesign)

Transcript
Anthony Hayes:

In order to, I think, be an authentic communicator, and to sort of be heard and to get to the point, you have to be willing to see and hear whatever criticism may be coming at you, and not necessarily internalize it and personalize it.

Laura Khalil:

Welcome to brave by design. I'm your host, Laura Khalil. I'm an entrepreneur, coach and speaker. I love thinking big, exploring the power of personal development and sharing the best strategies from thought leaders and pioneers in business to empower ambitious women and allies to bravely rise and thrive. Let's get started. Everyone, welcome to this episode of brave by design you are in for a real treat today, because in the lead up to recording this interview, me and our guests have been laughing it up. I'm talking to Anthony Hayes. He is the founder of the Hayes initiative and has spent more than 18 years in communications, crisis and issue management and political and legislative campaigns. Oh, my God, don't we want to know more? He served leaders at the highest levels, including presidential candidates, members of the US cabinet governors and other elected officials, C suite executives, law enforcement officials and high ranking health and legal professionals. Don't we all need an Anthony on our team? I'm like, I want Anthony, can I hire you? First of all, I want to welcome you to the show. This

Anthony Hayes:

is so happy to be here. Thank you so much. It's great to be here with you. And I certainly enjoyed our pre conversation. So I'm excited about this conversation,

Laura Khalil:

as well. So okay, you have done some really big things. You've been involved in Superstorm Sandy hurricane relief efforts, airport security breaches like, Whoa, how does somebody I mean, I just want to hear your story. Anthony, how the heck do how do you get started in this? What like, take us back? Take us in the Wayback Machine. Yeah, no, I

Anthony Hayes:

listen, I think it's one I'm very happy to be here. And to I think it's like, you know, listen, I think in doing my as I was telling you, during my prep sort of before I came here and just sort of listened to several of your shows, and all of the things that people share about sort of the personal and how it impacts that. You know, I, I thought a lot about it this morning, in terms of Gosh, if I really rewind to being you know, a kid growing up in Oklahoma, I really don't think I could have imagined sort of landing in the places that I landed in. And I feel really, really grateful for that. But, you know, every day I help people get to the point. I mean, there are lots of tactics that we take in order to do that, in terms of media relations, and communications. But I'm really stunned at how many times we have conversations. And when we really start sort of working with our clients, we realize they don't actually know what they want to say. So we really have to sort of help peel back the layers and help people get to the point. And I realized for myself, you know, I guess my superpower to use an overused phrase these days is to really help people communicate through humor. And I sort of did that at an early age. Just because, you know, I learned to become funny because I wanted to distract from, you know, a truth about myself, which was that I was just a young gay boy, living in conservative Oklahoma, which you don't really talk about, right. So, you know, I was constantly needing and wanting to avoid that topic at all costs. And I really learned a defense mechanism that helped me really read a room, read what was going on around me and then Intuit sort of where things might head or might not had. And so I realized that, you know, that's where my love of and my expertise began, was just being a young kid needing to sort of survive, what was a pretty painful sort of experience and sort of getting comfortable with that. And then it's like, as I grew up, you know, I realize that the thing that I wanted to not talk about, actually helped me build my, my real talent. Really? Yeah, I mean, I think because I didn't really want to talk about it, because I avoided it, because I read the room, and I had to, like, learn that, you know, when most kids aren't really thinking about any of those things, it really sort of gave me a different lens to view the world and, and really sort of how to communicate. And I think that because of that early sort of experience, I really do think that's one of the main things that like led me to you know, I now run a very successful seven figure and growing communications and government relations firm in New York City, which is the largest media market in the country. So yeah, but you know, if you ask, like, sort of, like if I really get into like, when did I learned that I could communicate well, and that I had, that that was something I inherently can do. That was really it was really those young days.

Laura Khalil:

There's a few things I I really love about your story and I'm just going to kind of move around. Oh, one is that I spent about a decade in Silicon Valley, where people are generally very comfortable being out. It's not anything, anyone felt the need to hide or whatever. I live in Detroit. Now, I have noticed a remarkable difference. This isn't with everyone. Again, I'm painting broad brushstrokes for the listeners. But there is this sense of a lot of people I encounter, who are trying to pass and who are still hyper vigilant maybe in the way that you were, as a boy, trying to make sure that this doesn't cost me my livelihood, that, you know, my sexual orientation doesn't cost me my family, or, you know, these other important things. And so that's the first thing that's coming to me. Because, in many ways, like you do work in crisis communications, that's part of what you do. But sometimes being yourself can feel like a crisis. Totally. Yeah. And the next thing I want to mention is that I'm so impressed with how you took your greatest challenge as a young person and turned it into your greatest asset as an entrepreneur. And I think that's very, very powerful for everyone listening to this show to hear, which is that, yes, this happened. Yes, this was hard. But the tools you use have actually helped propel your career and have helped propel your business, which is really cool. And so infinite. Let me ask you this. I think most people this is my guess, I think most people are unbelievably on aware of how they are perceived in their environment. Like they're not paying attention to their environment. Is that something that you see or experience a lot with clients? where, like, they're not even aware of how they're being received?

Anthony Hayes:

Oh, absolutely. I mean, we had not to break confidences and confidentiality, but like, you know, we had a client who had a real crisis about two or three years ago, and it was not small in nature, and it was a highly sensitive, and it was on and related to social issues that we're talking about today around race. And I think that, you know, one of the challenges for them was is that it was so foreign, the idea that someone would even consider, because they feel so not either racist or against or whatever, that they couldn't even wrap their head around that someone was saying it. So they're like, well, it's just not true. It's like, Well, yeah, I know that. Wow. But we need it. And, you know, I think that that's one of the challenges is, is in order to, I think, be an authentic communicator. And to sort of be heard and to get to the point is, you have to be willing to see and hear whatever criticism may be coming at you, and not necessarily, in turn, internalize it and personalize it. Because if you do that, it really does make it very difficult to react, because then you're just really sort of having a quick knee jerk reaction versus saying, Wait a minute, someone's saying this about me. What do I need to do to sort of articulate and to demonstrate through my actions, that that's not true? And I think that that's something that's really hard for a lot of people to do just either whether you're talking personal communication, or whether you're talking, you know, communication for a business or small or big business is that we personalize it.

Laura Khalil:

So is it that you know, when I hear you saying that, when we say, well, like when I need to come to my own defense and show that like, Hey, I'm not who you this image that may be being painted of me, in the public space. When I hear that, I think that you always need to be prepared, you always need to be ready, you need to know what you stand for. You need to be act like, this isn't just a show that you're putting on to look good. It's like, you need to walk your talk. And so Anthony, do people start working with you? Like way before there's a crisis? How do they like how are they like, God,

Anthony Hayes:

I wish boy Howdy, would that make it a lot better? So he yes and no, right? So the smart people who know that it is not a question of if but when will the crisis come up? Do the work, right. But that's also typically your more seasoned people who have been around just long enough, because unfortunately, it just is what it is, at some point. You know, whether it's personally or professionally, you're going to have bumps in the road. And so just to know that that's just a part of living and breathing. Whether you're talking about an institution living or breathing or just a person, you're just going

Laura Khalil:

natural, it's normal,

Anthony Hayes:

right? And, and most of all, every bump or crisis, a bump in the road or crisis is an opportunity and I I think that's the thing that people always miss is they get so caught up in being offended or frustrated or nervous or scared that they lose the opportunity to communicate who they are, and to communicate what they stand for, versus viewing it as a How dare you? I beg your pardon? You know, but instead what they can say is, gosh, I'm really glad you brought that up. Because it really gives me an opportunity to highlight things you may not know about us, or or me, right, you can always sort of replace an us with a me. Yes. So, you know, look, we're witnessing one of the longest running institutions. I mean, because let's just say like, what we haven't talked about yet is the Harry and Megan interview, which has taken place. Yeah, like, even just like using that as an example, right? It's this huge, long institution that somehow still can't seem to understand that the institution of the crown, and obviously, I'm viewing this as an American, but you know, they seem to not learn their lesson about how to engage and modernize. And you know, when an opportunity presents itself, I mean, we're talking today on, you know, the day two days after the Harry and Megan interview, and we really haven't seen a response yet from the crown. So we'll see,

Laura Khalil:

Anthony, if you were they right, so if they hired you, I'm sure they're listening. The Queen's on the horn right now,

Anthony Hayes:

I need to talk to the queen, please

Laura Khalil:

get the queen. But if they were your client, let's just use them as funny. I

Unknown:

love this. Let's do it.

Laura Khalil:

What is the first thing that you would advise them to do?

Anthony Hayes:

Oh, my gosh, this is so fun. So off the cuff because I have been obsessed about it. I haven't really like tactically sat and thought about it. But I do think there is there is a little bit of right. So now they have an opportunity. In my opinion, the crown now has an opportunity to say, Listen, this was obviously a very personal matter that played out publicly. Obviously, the racism that Meghan experienced in the media was unacceptable. And you know, I think it's to me, I probably To be honest, I would probably set up a Kate and William interview almost exactly the same way.

Unknown:

Because would you get Oprah? Or would you get

Anthony Hayes:

I would get someone I would get someone local, I would get, I would probably get, I think, again, do an apples to apples, right? Get sort of a black woman reporter in the UK, who sits down with William and Kate, who are the future of the monarch, because it's an opportunity to demonstrate what the next generation of the monarch will be, and how they'll respond to the public. And so you know, it's almost a bit of somehow either William or Kate, or even the queen. I don't think she could probably do this. But the message needs to be delivered of, you know, like every institution on the planet, we are trying to tackle structural racism, we obviously did not hit the mark. And what is disappointing is is this hurt a family member? Right? And then it becomes very personal. It addresses the family members accusation in the public. And then it gives them an opportunity to say, you know, listen, we could have spoken up more. Absolutely. You know, Harry and Megan are right, we probably should have spoken up more when the press really went after her. And it was just egregious, you know, but you know, the challenge for us as, as an institution like this, when we push back on the press, sometimes it makes it bigger. And so do we do that and explain why maybe your communication strategy was to not push back. And again, I'm not defending the crown for not pushing back for all the listeners out there. Just seeing if you were negotiating or talking or trying to explain to people what your communication because look, take the crown out of it and take this particular, you know, example we're talking about, right, let's, let's just look at maybe your institution, or you decided I'm not going to communicate right now, because that's going to add fuel to the fire. You know, in the world we live in now, it's very hard to advise people to do that. Just because you're in a really, really, it's that classic rock and a hard place because you definitely want to respond in a timely manner. And as quickly as you can to demonstrate that you recognize there's a crisis happening, but you also need to get your stuff together. You need to get your facts straight. You need to understand what you can say. And you know, when you're talking some of the crisis that I have lived through, whether that's Superstorm Sandy, or, you know, the political crisis of bridge gate with Governor Chris Christie in New Jersey. It's dynamic, and so you have to be very careful. What you say and when because the landscape changes, but that doesn't mean that you can't put out a message.

Unknown:

I love that I think this is a brilliant strategy. And I do it again.

Laura Khalil:

The truth is that in this day and age, I think it's very hard to be silent. It's very hard to not speak up. I mean, we saw that, certainly, over the summer with the murder of George Boyd, and companies that did not speak up, or companies that pay lip service, but don't actually put in the efforts to reform you know, like, you can say things but like, what are you doing? How are you showing that you are also being the change you want to see in the world? That's right. I think those can really backfire for some of these organizations. That's

Anthony Hayes:

right. Well, as a gay man, I can tell you it is, you know, every June pride season. And you know, and I love my brands, right? Like I love I love like Nike, I love all these in the end, you know, I think they are, you know, progressive in the LGBTQ space, but you know, it initially, I would say, and this is my opinion, I feel like, you know, if you rewind 20 years, you know, we really wanted some level of, you know, just outward support, whether that's putting the gay pride flag up because the bar was so low 20 years ago, right, you know, if the gay pride flag was up, you know, they would get 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Equality Index. We'll fast forward to today, it's a little bit like, you're just putting up a gay pride flag. Like, we're not advocating for for gay people to be but like, you know, for instance, in the state of New York, surrogacy is illegal. And so any gay couple, really any couples straight or gay? Who wants to use a surrogate to have a baby? Can't do it in the state of New York? Oh, wow. Okay. So you know, many gay couples who want to explore becoming parents, by using a surrogate have to leave the state of New York to do that. So really, where are my Nikes? And you know, my at&t and you name the core brand that is more than happy to throw a pride flag up during June. Where are they when the legislature in Albany is debating surrogacy? And again, while this is just sort of, you know, yes, it impacts gay people. It impacts everybody, the fact that surrogacy is illegal because anybody straight or gay, who wants to have a baby in New York using a surrogate cannot, at this current Wow. Yeah.

Laura Khalil:

Why do you know why that is? That seems so crazy. Well,

Anthony Hayes:

I think there are some real like the some of the people who oppose it, I think really do have some valid points about like, how do we do it so that women aren't taken advantage of right. And I think obviously, the answer to that is yes, we should.

Laura Khalil:

Okay, absolutely.

Anthony Hayes:

But I think there are plenty of states in the country that have examples that are good or bad. But like when you're a state that hasn't done it, you have, it's not like there's not precedent to sort of choose from Exactly. So and I think sort of making sure that you with any bill that gets passed in any legislature, you know, there's going to be good and bad with it. And I think you just sort of have to make sure that, you know, you're doing the least amount of damage possible, because, you know, there's no bill that when it's passed is perfect. And so right in this country, we have an idea that the bill is passed, and therefore it's done forever and ever. Amen. And it is not,

Laura Khalil:

you know, this is so interesting. And I'm going to go on a little bit of a tangent here, because Anthony, you may not know I have nine half siblings? Oh, yes. And they are, for the most part, they are the children of lesbians who could not get pregnant. During we were all born in the 80s, who could not really get pregnant in the 1980s through artificial insemination because they thought that, well, two gay people can or a gay person or a single mother cannot possibly be a good parent. So you know, yeah, well, obviously we know that's complete hogwash. But they found a doctor who would help them. And so that's how they came to be born. But it was sort of a similar issue of this is a little off topic, but like of the government trying to legislate stuff. That's in some ways. Yeah, there may be concerns, but there's also like a lot of morality that sort of mixed up in it that doesn't really have, I don't know, science or research to validate it, especially if we can safeguards on so I don't find that interesting.

Anthony Hayes:

I think it is fascinating. I came to sort of government relations stuff just out of a personal need because you know, we have to go the LGBTQ community had to go hand in hand in legislatures across the country for their basic rights that right. I don't know why I'm begging for something that's mine anyway, but that's for another day. But since we are here It's like, you know, you really do sort of learn the nuance of it. You know, even if you just go back to the Affordable Care Act that brock obama passed, right, he passed that. And then we changed the legislature to Republican. And this isn't republican versus Democrat. But But when you pass a bill, like the Affordable Care Act that requires funding, and then if the people who are funding it oppose and drain of money, then of course, the idea that got passed isn't going to perform the way we want it to. So

Laura Khalil:

it seems so straightforward.

Anthony Hayes:

It is, but it's not, you know, it isn't it's not. And so, you know, when you're trying to rush to get your kids to school, or you're trying to figure out like, Oh, my gosh, my Am I gonna get the promotion? Or, you know, certainly in the world we live in today. It's like, was I furloughed? Because of COVID-19? You know,

Unknown:

right.

Anthony Hayes:

Like, can you guys just do your job? You know, and I think that place, you know, I think we realize, you know, that it's people are realized, I think the byproduct of 2016. Hillary versus Donald Trump is that people realize participation, we live in a participatory government. And so hopefully, that continues to sink in for people.

Laura Khalil:

Don't even get me started. We can. Like, this is this is like our first highly political episode. We're like, Laura goes off the rails.

Anthony Hayes:

I love it. No, I do. I hope everybody listening.

Laura Khalil:

I mean, frankly, I just have to say if people disagree with any of this, I don't know why they're listening to the show. Because

Unknown:

I feel. I mean, it's just like, this is really probably not the place. Yeah, totally.

Laura Khalil:

Okay. I have like a very random question for you. But I am like you, Anthony, you have worked with some very big names, and very well known politicians, correct?

Unknown:

Yeah, I have.

Laura Khalil:

What is that like, just like, behind the scenes, like,

Anthony Hayes:

we don't have to name people we know I'm happy to I'm proud of who I've worked for I really, really am. So I managed Media and Communications for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. And I think if you're not from New York, it's hard to sort of get the scale and scope of that organization. It manages all the airports, bridges, tunnels, it has its own police station. It is the organization that owns the World Trade Center site that was responsible for rebuilding the World Trade Center site after 911. You know, it has a bus terminal. I think I've even forgetting some things, but its annual budget is $7 billion a year, which is more than most states. Wow. So it was run by Governor Chris Christie and Governor Cuomo. So indirectly, I've worked for both of those men, and also worked for in 2015 and 16. I worked on Secretary Hillary Clinton's campaign running for president. And so it's marvelous and scary. And you know, it is in particular, you know, it was a real for me, pleasure working for Terry Clinton, it was one of the most challenging environments to work. Why is that? Well, just to get yet I was just gonna say, just to give everybody context and what I actually did. So I was part of the national advanced team. So what happens is on a presidential campaign is, you know, you know, a week from now, Secretary Clinton needs to go to Florida and go to Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and somewhere else. So someone has to figure all that out. So I was the group that got sort of sent ahead of her with a you know, what is a fairly decent idea of what you would want the candidate we caught, you know, we say the principal, what the principal would needs to do on the ground, okay. And so we would come in and know that she needs to do a rally. So we would figure out building a rally for several 1000 people. But before the rally, we would need to do a CNN interview with Jake Tapper. So we need to find a place for that, you know, and then we want to do an off the record stop at you know, the ice cream shop so that everybody sees her engaging with sort of all these logistics. Yeah, so you have all these logistics to set up beforehand in terms of coordinating with multiple, you know, people organizations, crowd building, you know, building a site, and there's a whole team that sort of lands down. And so my role was largely national press advance. And so I would really sort of think about the movements of the traveling press corps because I think a lot of times, you know, when you see a motorcade, what's in that motorcade is anywhere from 13 to 14 members of the press that are in what's called the bubble that travel with the Canada. We, we had just a remarkable it was, I just said laughing because it's, it's a little bit I don't know if you've ever did you watch the show Veep?

Unknown:

No.

Anthony Hayes:

There's a little bit of Veep in it and that it's just chaos. It's just constant. You're like, wait, what do we do and it's Like, I don't know, she's got to do an interview and like, you know, similar to, you know how, like, you see this background behind me with plans this and that. It's like, you know, I would have a blank room. And I would be like, I have to find plants. And so I'd be running around somewhere in a suit, like dirname plants and like, gosh, it leads to these very, you bond very quickly with people because you just have these ridiculous moments, you know, and then you would go meet her at the plane, and we would all head off and have the day And so then, you know, then you have all this chaos. And then she arrives, yeah. And then you just start in the day, or we or you know, two days or however long it

Laura Khalil:

is. And then you do it all over again.

Anthony Hayes:

Yeah. And then you you either will bounce with the bubble. So you'll either get on the plane and go with them, or you will bounce to the next state. And then, you know, while she's there for two days, you get ready here for two days, then you get her back. And then you know, it's sort of this hodgepodge of moving around. So, but it was it was wonderful working with her. And I really, you know, I learned an enormous amount, most of all, just sort of grace under pressure, not only from her, but the senior staff like him, Aberdeen, Nick Merrill, and just some really remarkable now I can call them friends, and I am honored to call them friends. So yeah, and I've done work with the Secretary since like, so she wrote her book, what happened and we worked with her just sort of as to support her whenever she needed extra advance help. And so she's a remarkable, remarkable person.

Laura Khalil:

I love it. I love I remember in 2016 going to the cleaner, like you can't wear any political stuff when you go to vote. But I do remember myself and a bunch of other people like sharing photos and stuff, wearing pants suits. Like we were

Unknown:

so excited

Anthony Hayes:

to send me some of those. I love that.

Laura Khalil:

I like to find some Yeah, it was really fun. And then it all went to hell. But we're recovering. Okay.

Anthony Hayes:

Maybe not still, but we'll

Unknown:

we'll keep going. We're moving forward.

Laura Khalil:

We're moving for we're not. I have one more question. I just feel like I am doing the brave by design version of E True Hollywood stories with you right now. So. Okay, so here's my question for you. Yeah. Governor Cuomo, who was like governor McDreamy, we just loved him for the first few months of the pandemic, and like, he's so amazing. And his star has really fallen.

Anthony Hayes:

It is he's going at minimum, I think, as a politically polite way, as a rough patch,

Laura Khalil:

a rough patch, he's going through a rough patch right now. Let's pretend he were your client.

Unknown:

Sure,

Laura Khalil:

what would you advise him to do?

Anthony Hayes:

Gosh, that's really hard, because I think it is. And again, all off the cuff. Right. So

Laura Khalil:

yeah, of course. You know,

Anthony Hayes:

I think what the governor deserves an enormous amount of credit for is understanding how to communicate, like he has. And I think what everyone nationally and certainly in New York responded to at the time was that he was an extraordinary is an extraordinary communicator. Incredible, incredible. And so I would probably encourage him to lean on that and lean on that skill set. But do it in a way that sort of goes back to his early days of COVID. And really focus on empathy, focus on transparency, and realize that, whether it's, you know, this or that whatever the complaint is, is just sort of hear it and acknowledge it and try to honor it as best you can. Because I believe he has and wants to do what's best for New York. And if he's made mistakes, you know, obviously, I think he needs to acknowledge that which I believe if you sort of go back and look at his statements, he's, he's certainly trying to do that. But I think it's just such a complicated moment. Because, you know, I do think there is an enormous amount of effort when someone stumbles to sort of pile on and so as he's tried to figure out, and that doesn't actually give us an idea, I want to be crystal clear. I don't believe in excusing bad behavior. And so, you know, in New York, we have this wonderful Attorney General named Tish, James little Tisha James, and she is certainly going to run her investigations, and then whatever the results are, the governor will just have to deal with right and have to decide what he wants to do. And, you know, knowing what I know of him, I think he's going to what I hope is is the best thing that's for New York, but, you know, I trust Tish in terms of the investigation and what she's gonna find out because, you know, if there was, however, that lands like right, and have to be held accountable,

Laura Khalil:

absolutely not. And

Anthony Hayes:

I think that we'll see where that goes. Anthony,

Laura Khalil:

I have one final question for you. And don't worry, it's not about anyone so we can take you off the hot seat for a second.

Anthony Hayes:

Thank you. I was like, Can I please not be on the hot seat? I've talked about the queen. I've talked about this Secretary about Governor Cuomo. Can I please just like, you know, ask about release.

Laura Khalil:

I am so sorry. This is not the interview you thought you were

Unknown:

coming to.

Laura Khalil:

needs a Xanax after that. Okay. I want to ask you about kancil culture.

Anthony Hayes:

Oh, tell me Yeah, I love this.

Laura Khalil:

This is really huge.

Unknown:

Yeah, go.

Laura Khalil:

And I really, I want to hear your perspective on this. I'm just gonna share my thoughts. And then I want to hear so I am personally one, I am completely about holding people accountable for the behavior for their actions for their work. 100% agree. And I also want to say, as we're having this discussion, certain offenses are way worse, and much more egregious than other offenses. So I acknowledge that I am personally challenged by the notion of attempting to erase people. And I think a lot of us struggle with this. And I just want to hear how you think about it. And, you know, I think people are scared, like, honestly, like, I think people are really scared to say things because they don't know, if they're inadvertently harming someone, it's inadvertently going to be received in the wrong way. And I think that's from a lot of well intentioned people. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Anthony Hayes:

Yeah, look, it's that I think it's the conversation we should all be having. And I think what makes it really difficult to have the conversation, in my opinion, is, we all like to lead with confidence, we all like to speak with confidence. But when you're tackling the patriarch, when you're tackling homophobia, when you're tackling racism, and the fact that we have never addressed those things properly, that for, you know, ever. Yeah, agree Aegis systems have been able to be built and put and just built upon and built upon and built upon. And now that we are seeing more of a conversation now that time's up, me too, you know, Black Lives Matter, all these really remarkable changemakers are leading, and, you know, we're gonna owe the people that are in the streets really so much. Because it is having even just as having a conversation like this, right, is the idea that we're even talking about, like, Well, wait, how do we hold people accountable, and find a path for redemption? Right. And I can just sort of speak to this, from my personal perspective is, you know, the gay community in the time that I've sort of been an LGBTQ activist for my, you know, I'm in my, you know, 40s. I don't like to admit, but it's true. I'm in my 40s. You know, and so I've, I've come at this from different places where when I was going to the hill with the Human Rights Campaign and advocating, you know, we were talking about things like called civil unions, for marriage, which I found to be the most repulsive thing ever. But But, you know, when you look at just that, just and again, this is just one lens, right. So I think that there's a lot to sort of add in here. And I don't want to sort of tackle things that really aren't in a lane that is probably appropriate for me to talk about. But when this one, I have personal experience, there is a time where you have to go and understand, especially if you're moving legislation, which we had to do many times is okay, well, the two options are, you know, because we believe in a binary sort of electoral system here. So there's either this person who fundamentally hates gay people, yeah, there's this person who is lukewarm to gay people. So let's have it be the lukewarm person for a while. While we keep moving the marriage equality conversation while we keep moving trans rights forward while we keep moving these things forward. So the LGBTQ community has had to embrace our friends, the Democrats, who are as egregious as the Republicans. And so I think that in that I have learned how to have conversations with people who disagree with me, I've learned how to sit in front of Republican legislators who hate gay marriage and on some level that was just easier because I knew where they stood. Other people sort of wanted to move the goalposts every five minutes. Wow wanted our money. So I think that when we talk about holding people accountable and where we are today and kancil culture, I think the thing that I worry about, or I worry maybe not be the right language, but how do we do this in a way that is like, you know, it's when it's a grievous, it's obvious. But when it's somebody who tripped up, like how do we or do we want to right like is part of the pendulum Finally, gratefully swinging over here to what we hope and pray is more equity and more justice and more sure, things that we want, but the pendulum is over here now. So really, everyone just gets canceled in their out. But since I am somebody who believes that every everything that is presented to us in life is an opportunity to become better? Do we give people a chance to be better? Or are we just going to continue for a while to say and I'm not excuse? I don't believe we should excuse anything that's bad. Like, if people need to be in jail for murder, because police officers are murdering black people, then they should be in jail. Like this is very simple. This is not complicated.

Unknown:

probably agree.

Anthony Hayes:

But when when and how do we find the path forward to have conversations where people can learn and grow because I just believe in that I know, I'm a different person than I was in my you know, when I'm talking about being a little kid on a playground recognizing, even in grade school, like I'm not going to be able to talk about being gay, right? So today, I feel very different. And I imagine if you really sort of take each individual, I would pray that everybody is different five years from now, 10 years from now, because they've grown up and they've evolved and they've gotten, you know, more. Yeah,

Unknown:

I love that.

Anthony Hayes:

I don't know if I answered but I sort

Laura Khalil:

of you sort of answered it. And it's the fact is, I don't think there is one answer. That's the challenge with this is that there's a lot of nuance. And it is not an because it's such often a quick response. And in some cases, I want to call it a snap judgment. In some cases, it is hard to have nuanced conversations about this stuff. But I think they're really necessary. So I appreciate your perspective. And I could just talk to you forever, Anthony. Thank Gosh,

Anthony Hayes:

this has been a lot of fun. I love it.

Laura Khalil:

So okay, I want to give the audience I know, we have been all over the map today, we've had some really fun stories, and but I want to give them if you could share a couple of key takeaways about communicating in crisis. Tell us what they should?

Anthony Hayes:

Well, yeah. And I think like, I'll go a little bit broader than just sort of, you know, crisis. I think this is true for crisis. But I also think it just is sort of good for communication, whether it's personal or professional is just sort of, you know, act here, like my, I want to always help people get to the point, right. And so I think the thing that people never really spend the time doing, because they think they can sort of fly by the seat of their pants, or they feel like they know the material, but they haven't prepared, right. And so I think the biggest thing I would encourage everybody to do when they want to communicate better is prepare and again, whether it's a difficult personal conversation or professional conversation, what are you trying to say? So I am a big proponent and write it out. Don't think about what you're writing, write for two to five minutes. And then when you're done, read it out loud. But you must read it out loud. And then what's gonna happen is you're gonna realize this is not at all what I want to say. So then you need to go back and clean it up. And again, it sounds a little process driven. But the reality is, some of the best communicators in the world have an enormous amount of prep time before they get in the room. You know, the one thing I admired most about Hillary Clinton was, as you know, one would think she just sort of like, hops out of the van goes inside puts on the microphone and does the interview. Well, that's not what happens. You know, she's a consummate professional, and just always is putting her best foot forward, and most of all, doing the homework before she has a conversation. So the big point is, write things down, read it out loud, always be authentic. And then the other thing that I'm a big believer in is just setting the stage right? So if you need to have a one on one conversation, or you need to have a big presentation, set the stage so that it works well. Like if you need to have a difficult conversation with your boss, or you want to make sure it doesn't have to be difficult, but you want to have a conversation where you know, you have your boss's attention. Yes, set the stage properly, ask for some time or say, hey, do you mind if I shut this door but like really, like, grab their attention in different ways. And then also be prepared with what you're going to say? And then you know if it's a presentation and make sure you're putting your best foot forward, don't have your outfit, you know, be the star of the show how to be the message.

Laura Khalil:

Oh, I love it. I love it. Okay, Anthony, for people who want to learn more about you and your firm. Where can they go? Sure. It's

Anthony Hayes:

easy. One is LinkedIn Anthony J. Hayes. My firm's website is Hayes initiative.com. And that's Hayes with an E. Or you can just email me Anthony at Hayes initiative Comm. I'm always happy to have conversations with anybody who wants to chat. Fabulous,

Laura Khalil:

thank you so much for joining us. I want to thank you for joining me and remember to subscribe to your favorite app so you can stay up to date, and I would love your review. If you've enjoyed this episode. Please leave a review and comment on Apple podcasts. You can also keep in touch with me online. You can find me on LinkedIn and I'm also on Instagram at force of badassery. All that information will be available in the show notes. Until next time, stay brave