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Ripped from the Headlines: What BP Can Learn from Lie to Me

BP America chief executive Lamar McKay, BP Managing Director Bob Dudley, and BP chief executive Tony Hayward

Generally speaking, I am not big fan of TV dramas (partially because if I sit still for more than about 20 minutes after 8 p.m., I fall asleep).  However, I’m drawn to Fox’s “Lie to Me” in no small part because of the science of non-verbal communication that is at its core.  This week’s episode, like so many others, features a montage of famous individual’s expressions of guilt – and not just facial expressions, but full body language.  (For a complete analysis of Tony Hayward’s body language at the Congressional hearings, check out the U.K.’s Telegraph article.)

This picture of the BP executives could be a part of the program.  Clearly this group could use some PR help, and the coaching needs to go beyond words.  These poses, and their accompanying expressions – if I get all “Lightman” on you, do not instill confidence, suggest honesty or communicate empathy.  Come on, gentleman!  I understand that you may not be able to personally stop the spill, but a few media training sessions would go a long way toward ensuring that you don’t wind up as fodder for “Lie to Me.”      

–          Traci Stuart

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