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Analysis: Delivering Bad News

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Delivering Bad News Analysis

I chose to analyze a news conference that was given by Mayor Bing of Detroit on December 1, 2011. The purpose of the conference was to address the current state of the city’s financial crisis and reports that the State of Michigan is coming in to do a financial review. I will evaluate the physical aspects of the speech, including appearance, chosen location, and body language. I will also evaluate the content of Mayor Bing’s speech and give my opinion on whether or not he appropriately addressed the crisis at hand.
Mayor Bing wore a professional, navy pin-striped suit with a crisp white collar and a lighter blue tie. What we wear can project or evoke different emotions. According to Carole Kanchier of the Huffington Post, some of the things blue represent are authority, structure, communication, dependability, trust and loyalty (Kanchier, 2012). These are all emotions that Mayor Bing needs his audience to feel for his message to be succesful.
To further his authority Mayor Bing stood behind a podium that had the Seal of the Mayor clearly displayed on its front side. He also chose not to stand alone. Standing with him were members of the Detroit City Counsel, Labor Board, people he refered to as the faith-based community, and members of the Detroit business community. I believe the purpose of this was to show that he was not in this crisis alone and that he had the communities support. I’m sure by including these people with him behind the podium he also hoped to help his audience relate to them and in turn, be more open to his message.
The mayor more often than not had his head down reading his speech, occasionally lifting it to make eye contact with his audience for the first few minutes of his speech. He kept his hands firmly on the podium except for a few times wiping his left brow with his fingers. I personally saw this as a sign of stress and unsurity on the mayor’s part. However, on the other hand, by him remaining firm and steady at the podium he also projected the seriousness of his message and a steadfast approach.
As for the actual content of the speech I felt the mayor did a good job of addressing the issue with specificity and presenting solution-based ideas as opposed to dancing around the issue as politicians often do. From the beginning he confirmed the rumors that the Governer had called him to make Mayor Bing aware there was the serious potential of a thirty day review by the State of Michigan into Detroit’s current financial state. He also stated that this review could lead to an emergency financial management for the City of Detroit assigned at the discretion of the State.
Mayor Bing then made it very clear that he was opposed to this and gave his specific reasons why. He advised that they had a fiscal plan to overcome their current deficit which has been submitted to the State. He stated that via City Counsil they had formed critical initiatives such as collecting the $220 million owed to Detroit from the State and also getting help from the State to collect city income tax which could result in up to $155 million in revenue per year.
A common theme in his speech was community and he attempted to show a united front to the citizens of Detroit. Multiple times he refered to those standing behind him and stated that their mere presence showed they were willing to work together to find a solution for the good of Detroit. He evoked community pride with statements such as, „This is our City!“, „We are Detroit!“ and „Detroit needs to be run by Detroiters.“ By doing this I’m sure he hoped to get the community involved in finding solutions and backing the politicians of Detroit against the State of Michigan.
He also let everyone know that the State of Michigan had not responded to any of their submitted proposals. By doing this he put some owness on the State to help Detroit because they were trying to make every effort to inact changes that would help them climb out of their current financial crisis. He also gave the floor to several of those standing with him to give their thoughts and responses to what the State of Michigan wanted to do. By giving time to others he may have gained wider support, offering someone for the audience to relate to.
Overall, I think Mayor Bing’s intended message was succesful. He clearly addressed this issues at hand and did not sugar-coat the critical nature of pending actions for Detroit. He drew support from the community and helped his audience relate to the crisis and gave a strong argument for them to want to help fight. However, in the end, Mayor Bing’s actual plan of action was not enough as the city of Detroit became the largest US city to file chapter nine bankruptcy in July of 2013 (Nancy Kaffer, Stephen Henderson and Matt Helms, 2013).

References

wxyztvdetroit. (2011, December 1). PRESS CONFERENCE: Mayor Bing on Detroit financial crisis
Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvXjOF_OWvQ
Kanchier, C. (2012, May 31). What the color you are wearing says about you. Huffington Post.
Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/carole-kanchier/what-colour-to-wear_b_1556811.html

Kaffer, N. (2013, July 18). Detroit files for bankruptcy protection. USA Today. Retrieved from
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/18/detroit-prepares-bankruptcy-filing-friday/2552819/

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