I don’t believe New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady when he denied knowledge about his team’s use of deflated footballs during their win over the Indianapolis Colts in Sunday’s AFC Championship game.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure: I am a Ravens fan. So I rather dislike the fact that it is the Patriots that will be playing in the Super Bowl.
Team loyalty is not driving my disbelief, but rather, my belief that “Deflate-gate” is a joke to Brady. The integrity of a game raking in billions of dollars a year is serious business. (No really–no one’s quite sure exactly how many billions of dollars in revenue the nonprofit National Football League takes in.)
And Brady demonstrated that he didn’t take the proceedings seriously. Starting with this:
Style icons by definition are careful about the clothes they wear.
Flag on the play.
He didn’t seem to take the press conference seriously. His choice of clothing, and even his behavior at one point during the press conference (behaving a bit like a juvenile smart aleck) seemed to say, “This is a joke.”
Perhaps some type of PR jiujitsu is what he was going for? Or maybe he was doing his bit to weave an “us against them” narrative to hype up his team before the Superbowl. I can’t say.
I can say that if you want to be a credible presenter or speaker, that this is not your example.
A better game plan? Dress like a professional, and choose attire appropriate for the venue and topic to be discussed. Speak simply, and answer questions directly. Gimmickry like being too cute by half will win no points.
The takeaway before you breakaway: Most of us don’t have millions of dollars on the line and tons of cameras in tow when we make a presentation, give a speech or teach a class. We still must guard something just as precious: our integrity, and our word.
Don’t punt away your credibility. Words matter. Non-verbal cues matter. Don’t wing it or make jokes and hope to be successful. Take your speech or presentation seriously. Prepare. And present yourself appropriately.