Three Kids Stir Audience

© apops - Fotolia.comLast weekend I had the privilege of listening to all three of my kids speak to a good-sized audience. My son, Chris, kicked off the event with humorous comments that broke the tension in the room and drew the audience into the stories and ideas he shared. His natural style, energy and captivating performance held everyone’s attention through to his final point.

Whispers filled the room as my daughter moved up the steps to the stage. The audience was concerned for Carolyn, as no one could imagine how anyone would follow Chris’ success. But she too blew the audience’s expectations away with her unique style and satirical humor. To balance her fun approach, she shared personal anecdotes salted with words of comfort, compassion and encouragement.

After a couple more speakers, my youngest daughter, Caitlyn, climbed the steps and shared a reading. It was powerful, thought provoking and clear. Her professional presence at the podium was salted with grace and her trademark smile. Her final words launched a buzz of comments in the audience about how amazing my three kids were.

While I’ve messed up numerous things in my kids’ lives over the years, I’ll claim success in raising three incredible leaders and speakers. They learned how to think, tell stories and develop strong opinions. They are capable of communicating one on one and in large groups. But most of all, they have learned to do one thing I never set out to teach them.

All three kids can speak from their heart in an authentic manner that captures the attention of everyone in the room.

Sharing from the heart presents our greatest passions to our audience. It’s a form of entertainment that opens the mind to consider the words being shared. It also lowers the wall that protects our mind to give room for change and growth. Words of passion help the audience see who we really are and respect the message we share.

Should I leave this world unexpectedly, I’ll be at peace knowing that I left the world three times better off than when I entered it. I am a proud papa and can’t wait to see how my kids impact our world over the next few decades. It’s my prayer that they will each be given a divine calling to make a difference in their marketplace, neighborhood and communities.

And, I’m trusting that I’ll have many opportunities to impact millions too. After all, there are more than 7.4 billion people on earth that I’d like to share a piece of my passion with. Whether by speaking to one person at a time or reaching thousands through the media, I can’t imagine being a part of life and not participating in the possibilities.

© 2016 by CJ Powers

Analyzing Donald Trump and His Muslim Ban

TrumpDonald Trump is one of the best personalities for generating millions in free publicity based on his “off-handed” remarks. His latest remarks about banning Muslims from entering our country until we figure things out were a part of a well-planned announcement. The campaign generated huge visibility worldwide for Trump and high ratings for the radio and television networks.

It was also a big enough event for those entering the publicity queue to take advantage of riding Trumps coat tails. It generated thousands of interviews across the nation for every level of “expert” that local stations could find.

Analyzing the announcement and the world’s reaction can be revealing.

The first point of analysis surrounds the fact that Trump’s remarks were thought out, written, and accomplished his goal of grabbing the attention of the media. Trump typically appears to say things off of the top of his head, but with this announcement he sent out a press release with his exact wording and read it from the sheet of paper in the video I watched.

Here is the exact quote:

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

The “newsworthy” reactions from people like Mohammed Ali and others coming out of the woodwork were expected. All publicists know that reaction based news stories fuel the extended duration of free publicity, allowing the frequency of Trump’s name to be used well beyond what normal publicity could afford.

Keep in mind that none of the responses have anything to do with what Trump specifically meant, but what could be molded to fit their agenda for publicity. This pattern allows the original speaker to refute the comments or clarify his own, while allowing the responders to promote their agenda. It’s a media game that was started in the 50s and further exploited by bloggers to their sub-markets.

Trump’s campaign requires a media spend of $100MM to gain the predetermined number of votes needed for election. However, estimates show his free publicity stunts generate $20-30MM in media reach and frequency for his campaign. Last summer’s free controversial media campaigns were so significant that Trump was able to cancel $15MM in television commercials set to air.

Trump is the first person to effectively use the media for a highly visible and free campaign (although Obama’s campaign got some free publicity based on his use of social media).

Trump’s style of brusk and controversial remarks has driven much of the news since his announcement to run for office. Meanwhile, those candidates who are more diplomatic in their approach of “temporarily closing borders to all immigrants” until representatives can figure out what’s going on get little news coverage. But those opposing the controversial Trump by suggesting that America will always keep its borders open are getting plenty of airtime.

Free publicity requires a lot of showmanship and little knowledge of political science. Obama’s contrasting “change” campaign did the very same thing. Neither campaign revealing how the candidate would actually run the government once in office. Instead, we were entertained with showmanship.

The publicity is also filled with noise of ignorant people trying to make a name for themselves. The anger driven comments about Trump being a racist fit that foolish category. The reason is because Muslim is a religion, not a race. However, many are now trying to say that he has a racist attitude toward a religion, but the attempt of this positioning insults those who have endured a lifetime of real racism.

The bottom line is that Trump knows how to use his First Amendment rights to gain attention in the polls. And, those who try to ban him, like he wants to ban the Muslims, forget that they are opposing our First Amendment – The very Amendment that allows us freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

But there’s more to consider in a good analysis. We also need to reflect on what’s not being said. Hillary Clinton is purposely staying out of the arguments and playing it safe. Many know she is slipping in the poles and Bernie Sanders is gaining momentum. The key is to keep low until Trump falls, shifting the voting population from a “guaranteed” Republican ticket back to the Democratic ticket.

If Clinton jumps into the mix too soon and becomes one of Trump’s knee jerk reactionaries, she could drop further in the polls. If she waits too long, then Bernie Sanders can gain even more in the polls and pull her “undecided” voters.

Don’t forget that if its in the media, it’s all about entertainment value and ratings. Unfortunately, there is no other national forum available to learn what candidates would really do in office. The “running for office” system is broken and fixing it would hurt the media, as everything is about viewership.

Copyright © 2015 by CJ Powers

The Right to Object

PCPolitical Correctness has made it “wrong” for me to have an opposing opinion, or at least voice it. Worse yet, it has empowered many to become PC police that attack anyone who voices contrary views, ruining companies, careers and friendships. This atmosphere has created an unsafe environment for vocalizing important matters, which has led to the longest period of silence by America’s majority.

The words, “…by the people and for the people…” once referenced what was good for the majority of Americans. The Senate was made up of professionals and the House was made up of commoners – Bringing all viewpoints to congress concerning important issues. Lobbyist groups now tell Congress how to vote on the bills they’ve provided, many of which were paid for by a few interested in controlling people at large.

But who’s to blame for this new form of controlling the masses?


Sharyl Attkisson, an Emmy award winning investigative journalist, said the media is at fault. As a keynote speaker at the Right Online 2015, Attkisson shared how the once watch dog media has allowed the current administration to stop the proliferation of hard facts and replaced it with self-made pieces that alter the “truth.”

In her New York Times bestseller, “Stonewalled,” Attkisson describes that when the media sided with the politically correct, it was forced to drop facts from many reports. This led to the control of the media by the current administration that now limits the coverage of certain breaking stories to friendly biased reporters.

During her keynote, Attkisson shared how this led to the demise of trustworthy journalism and the reason she left the business. Today, she travels as a speaker sharing how “journalism is suffering from a crisis of it’s own making.”


After a recent interview on behalf of Amnesty International, the PC police attacked moderate Sir Patrick Stewart for his stance concerning Irish bakers who refused to put the words, “Support Gay Marriage,” on a cake. His comment during the interview was not questionable, as it brought balance to the subject.

“In my view, this particular matter was not about discrimination,” said Stewart, “but rather personal freedoms and what constitutes them, including the freedom to object. Both equality and freedom of speech are fundamental rights— and this case underscores how we need to ensure one isn’t compromised in the pursuit of the other.”

Some tried to discredit Stewart as being homophobic, but he has no issues with gay people. In fact, before the accusation, he had asked his openly gay best friend and cast mate, Sir Ian McKellen (X-Men, Lord of the Rings), to officiate his wedding to Sunny Ozell.


Clint Eastwood was attacked publically for being politically incorrect behind the scenes. During the taping of the Spike TV’s Guys Choice Awards, Eastwood introduced “San Andreas” star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with a side comment about athletes who had transitioned into acting, including “Jim Brown and Caitlyn Somebody…” This political attack was purposeful, as his side joke never made it past the editing room floor, yet was used publically by the PC police to promote its agenda.

Jerry Seinfeld and other comedians have become increasingly nervous about their future with the PC police jumping on anything that might leverage their agenda. Comedy has always risen from our pain or circumstances, but in recent years universities push so much political correctness that it stops comedians like Chris Rock and The Cable Guy from performing at those venues.


It’s the people who decide if we are to show respect to those with opposing opinions or not. Our government officials have to conform to the needs of the majority when they are not silent. Our journalists must provide the facts and not bias when the majority demand it. And, for freedom of speech and humor to exist, we must allow our comedians to experiment without being judged.

The one really at fault are those who jump on the bandwagon of joining the PC police instead of standing for freedom of speech. As a communicator, I hope more people start to listen to all the arguments and not hinder any from being made. After all, had political correctness been instituted back in the 50s and 60s, we would never have learned that smoking was bad for our health.

Copyright © 2015 by CJ Powers