In a prior blog, you read the infamous advice about handling tough questions offered by Robert S. McNamara, the Secretary of Defense during the controversial Vietnam War:
Never answer the question that is asked of you. Answer the question that you wish had been asked of you. And quite frankly, I follow that rule. It's a very good rule.
But it’s only a good rule for government officials and politicians. While the public has come to tolerate non-answers from such individuals, most other people, in most other walks of life—particularly business men and women—can never get away with ducking questions.
Except for sports figures. Most press conferences in the sports arena are never more than an exchange of innocuous answers to innocuous questions for one very simple reason: all that matters in sports is what happens on the playing field. Talking about a game in advance or after the fact devolves into either meaningless conjecture or equally meaningless rehash.
Jim Harbaugh, the coach of the Super Bowl-bound San Francisco Forty-niners, understands the rules of the press conference game, but he makes his non-answers a form of art. In anticipation of this Sunday’s big game, Mr. Harbaugh’s artful style was captured by Kevin Clark, a sportswriter for the Wall Street Journal, in this clever article.
Jail break films have long been a staple offering of Hollywood but, in a real life reversal of form, the Los Angeles Times reported that a former prisoner of the California State Prison in Sacramento, one Marvin Ussery, attempted to break into the jail. Although Mr. Ussery claimed that he was only “reminiscing,” prison authorities suspected that he was trying to smuggle in drugs, tobacco, or mobile phones to sell to the inmates. However, a search didn’t find any contraband on him, so his motive remains a mystery.
In business, “breaking into jail” has a different connotation: offering negative information voluntarily. Revealing a liability raises doubts in the audience’s minds about a company’s viability. However, there is a very good reason for such revelations: accountability. In presentations, unlike awkward social situations: the elephant in the room cannot and must not be ignored.
In some cases, accountability is mandatory. The Securities and Exchange Commission requires that a company selling stock to the public for the first time must include a “Risk Factors” section in the Prospectus for their Initial Public Offering. But the road show presentation of the offering isn’t required to use the Draconian language of the prospectus. Nor is there such a requirement for countless other routine types of business presentations. Yet all presentations must be forthcoming about bad news, or the presenter will be perceived of as having something to hide.
The challenge is when and how to handle the revelation. The “when” has two options:
Be preemptive: Include the negative information in the body of your presentation
Be reactive: Wait until a question comes from the audience and have a prepared response ready.
Each option has a risk. Offering negative information is “breaking into jail,” or admitting guilt, and raises an issue that the audience may not have considered. Waiting until a question is asked can appear evasive or concealing.
Regardless of which option you choose—the choice is a judgment call dependent on the situation, the audience, and/or the presenter—you must then make full disclosure by acknowledging the negative. But, as soon as you do, follow up immediately with the actions that you and your company are taking to rectify the problem or to prevent its recurrence.
If your bad news is about:
a down quarter, describe your extra efforts to stimulate new sales
the loss of a key customer, explain your efforts to win a new customer
the resignation of a key executive, talk about your search outreach
a delayed product release, lay out your accelerated production schedule
a failed product trial, list the corrections you are making
a critical comment by an important thought leader, find a more positive opinion and quote that person.
This strategy is a variation of the correct method for handling the ritual “What keeps you up at night?” question. Be candid about what keeps you up at night, but immediately follow up with what you are doing about it. Be candid about your company’s bad news, but immediately follow up with what you are doing about it.
Acknowledge that the elephant is in the room, and then lead it out.
Yesterday, in his second inaugural address, President Obama eloquently expressed his future vision of America: “…it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence…” but he did so by looking back in historical context: “… to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.”
In the second paragraph of the speech, the president quoted the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
He then proceeded to echo his idol, Abraham Lincoln, by embedding the famous words of the Gettysburg Address in this sentence: “The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.”
And then, as a unifying theme, Mr. Obama used the immortal first three words of the Constitution, “We, the people…” as a recurring phrase at the beginnings of four consecutive paragraphs:
We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity.
We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity.
We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still
By using repetition, the president was echoing Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday was celebrated concurrent with Inauguration Day. Dr. King used the phrase “I have a dream” 16 times in his 1963 speech. In fact, Mr. Obama was reaching even further back in history to the Greek orators who termed the use of a repetitious phrase in successive sentences, Anaphora.
If you look back at the fourth instance of “We, the people…” you’ll see that Mr. Obama employed another rhetorical device: By restating the words of the Declaration of Independence, “the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal,” he created a bookend, an echo of his beginning.
Bookends, anaphora, and familiar quotations, are techniques any presenter can employ in any presentation.
After more than a decade of denials, Lance Armstrong finally admitted in yesterday’s televised interview with Oprah Winfrey that that he used performance enhancing drugs. His denials had been so vehement, Gail Collins, the Times satirical columnist,said that they “made ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman’ sound like a confession.”
One Wall Street Journal story speculated that Mr. Armstrong’s motive was to “figure out a way to compete again;” another quoted “ESPN writer Don Van Natta Jr. [who] posted on Twitter, ‘You don't go on Oprah to confess. You go on Oprah to be forgiven.’”
Motives aside, Mr. Armstrong’s admission provides a larger communication lesson; it is what every human being must do in every exchange: take responsibility and be transparent.
In a prior blog, you read how Rupert Murdoch, when confronted with charges that his newspapers had engaged in phone hacking, ducked his responsibility by issuing an apology in the passive voice: “We are sorry for the serious wrongdoing that occurred.” But the passive voice is the opposite of transparency.
As Shakespeare wrote in The Merchant of Venice, “at the length truth will out.” Evidence mounted in the phone hacking scandal, and a year later, the United Kingdom Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee issued a report that called Mr. Murdoch irresponsible. In response, he apologized and he did so in the active voice, “We certainly should have acted more quickly and aggressively to uncover wrongdoing. We deeply regret what took place and have taken our share of responsibility for not rectifying the situation.” (You can read the full account in my latest book, Winning Strategies for Power Presentations.)
The truth came out for Lance Armstrong. Last year, the United States Anti-Doping Agency barred him for life from Olympic sports and stripped him of his seven Tour de France medals. His major sponsors such as Nike, Oakley, and Discovery Channel dropped their endorsements. And so Mr. Armstrong finally took responsibility when he told Ms. Winfrey, “I viewed this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times.”
Transparency counts. Its vital importance was best expressed by Meg Whitman, the CEO of HP. In a video interview on the Journal’s CIO Network earlier this week, she spoke about her company, but her words have universal applicability: “One of the things that I think is so important, I will tell you in some ways I learned this in the governor’s campaign, which is transparency of communication. Say what you mean, mean what you say and deliver along the lines that you say you will deliver.”
Full Disclosure: I've been through the author's 3 day introductory course and am a huge fan of his insight and lessons.
Winning Strategies for Power Presentations tackles a problem endemic to our current times: short attention spans. In fact, Chapter 54 is about the difficulty of presenting to a crowd lost in their Crackberries. Ironically, it's the only topic where Jerry admits trying a lot of techniques and not finding one he likes.
Well, never mind, because the other 74 chapters offer sound advice for many challenges in communicating effectively in presentations. Each one takes a problem and in anywhere from 2-5 pages gives practical advice distilled from several of his other books. As usual, he's informative, entertaining, and quite insightful.
If you're new to Power Presentations, this is a great book to start with. However, if you're really serious, you will want to move on to his other works where the chapters are longer and the advice is more detailed. Think of this book as the appetizer. When you're done, you've got several great full courses in front of you.
If you've read any of his books before or taken one of his courses, this book is a great reminder of his advice. I caught myself reverting to 2-3 old habits recently and this booked snapped me right out of that.
Finally, Jerry has a keen eye for really good and really bad examples of public speaking. Although he refers quite often to politicians both in this book and in his courses, he also pulls material from many other fields of endeavor. He's not afraid to show examples of people who contradict his advice and can get away with it (e.g., Ronald Reagan not moving his hands when he speaks.) This book is a thought provoking, quick read, that should make you want to read everything else he has written. There is no one else like Jerry Weissman.
In his nearly two decades as the host of the CBS “Late Night” show, Mr. Letterman has made his nightly reading of his “Top Ten” list a social ritual of American culture. While he uses his list for comic effect, you can use the same approach to create a structure for your presentations.
Authors Stephen R. Covey and Deepak Chopra used the numbering technique for the structure of their respective bestsellers, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. The popular Politico website regularly calls out the Top Five takeaways from the political events that they cover; how-to newspaper and magazine articles add sidebar boxes that summarize their main tips with a total number; and the help desk web page of product and service companies summarize their customer FAQs with a total number.
In the fast and furious business world where presentations are often hastily cobbled together with a disparate collection of begged, borrowed, or stolen slides and delivered by a presenter who is the only one in the room who can understand what on Earth one slide has to do with another, the numbering technique can be emergency CPR. Simply organizing the different elements into a clear order makes it easy for both the presenter and the audience to follow.
Eric Benhamou, the former Chairman of 3Com Corporation (acquired by HP in 2010), did so under rather trying circumstances.
Mr. Benhamou was invited to deliver a keynote speech at a dinner given by the California-Israel Chamber of Commerce, an organization as diverse as the more than 7000 miles that separate those two centers of business. The event, which was held on a mid-week night at Silicon Valley’s large San Jose Fairmount Hotel, began with a cocktail hour that ran for far more than an hour. When the ballroom doors finally opened, the several hundred guests rushed in to find seats at tables they had to share with strangers. After the usual rubber chicken meal, the Masters of Ceremonies presented awards to individuals who were familiar only to Californians, and some who were familiar only to Israelis. Each of the recipients then proceeded to give an acceptance speech that made Academy Award acceptance speeches seem abrupt by comparison. When Mr. Benhamou’s turn came, it was nearly nine o’clock.
How would you like to have to deliver a speech in those circumstances?
The quality that earned you your present job--as well as all of your previous jobs--is the same quality that impedes your ability to answer questions effectively: you are a results-driven person.
To determine how good and--just as important--how fast you are at producing results, your employer undoubtedly assessed your resume, your references, and your character during your intake interview. Having demonstrated your proficiency means that you spend most of your time on your job (and most likely, the rest of your waking hours) ready to pounce on problems and find solutions. As a result, whenever you get a question, you are primed to provide an answer instantly.
Unfortunately, if you are too quick with your response, your answer might be wrong--because you did not understand the question. You will have fallen into the "Ready, Fire, Aim!" trap.
Being a good listener, as you learned from Johnny Carson in a prior blog, is important, but that is only the first step; it is just as important to take a beat before pulling the answer trigger; to put the aiming in its rightful place--before the firing. Pause before you answer a question.
But pausing is difficult during a mission-critical presentation because you are acting under the influence of a double speed whammy: the adrenal overdrive of being on the spot, and the DNA of a trigger-happy problem-solver.
Apple Computer understands trigger-happiness. The company, which is well-known for carefully guarding its product development, makes a practice of keeping all but a few select senior executives from answering questions from the press. In Inside Apple, a book describing what the subtitle calls its "secretive" practices, author and Fortune Magazine Senior Editor Adam Lashinsky quotes an Apple product marketing executive: "The challenge with those guys is that they are super smart and they know a lot of details, but...they haven't learned how to gracefully avoid answering."
Apple's competitor, Google, also understands trigger-happiness. Their Gmail has a feature called "Undo Send." Once you hit "Send," Gmail will hold your email for five seconds, during which time you can stop the email from going out.
The most sensitive trigger-happy arena of all is television and radio. Broadcasters employ a seven-second delay in live programs to monitor and edit undesirable material. Think of the wardrobe-malfunction at the Super Bowl or an excited blurt of profanity during a live Academy Awards acceptance speech. The most common example of the seven-second delay is the frequent sound of beeps during broadcasts of Jon Stewart's bawdy "The Daily Show."
Author Frank Partnoy extols the benefits of delay in his book, Wait: The Art and Science of Delay, with examples of a baseball batter waiting for the perfect pitch to hit, a comic waiting a beat before delivering a punch line, and a matchmaker counseling a blind date to suppress snap judgments.
Because presenters do not have the facility of an "Undo Send" button or a seven-second video delay, they must create their own beat in real time--with a verbal pause. That is not a contradiction in terms; a verbal pause is none other than the old reliable paraphrase. Readers of In the Line of Fire will recall that the paraphrase--a reconfiguration of a question--serves as a buffer. For our purposes, let's consider the paraphrase as the presentation equivalent of the seven-second video delay.
For instance, suppose an irate customer was to ask, "Where do you get off charging so much for your product?" The hair trigger answerer might say, "It's not that expensive when you think of all the features you get..." or "You have to consider the long-term cost of ownership." Each of those rapid responses accuses the questioner of being wrong. If instead you paraphrase by saying, "Why have we chosen this price point?" you remain neutral--and you take that vital verbal beat.
Having bought the time, you can then go on to describe the features and/or the long-term cost of ownership, but you will do so without--to extend the metaphor--the crossfire.
Hair trigger answers are old habits, as unproductive a habit as procrastination. Old habits die hard, but die they must because each of them--one more extension of the metaphor--backfires. Replace them as you would any bad habit, with positive action: listening and paraphrasing--and get positive results.
In the aftermath of the election, political pundits have inundated the media and the web with postmortem analyses of the results, most of them attributing Barack Obama’s victory to his get-out-the-vote “ground game,” others to the president’s advertising campaign, some to Mitt Romney’s “47%” video, some to the Latino, Asian, and African-American, and women’s voting blocs, some to campaign finances, and some even to Hurricane Sandy.
Allow me to chime in with what is my admittedly parochial point of view by giving due credit to the candidates’ presentation styles. When citizens vote for the leader of their country, they are choosing an authority figure, and they want that person to appear authoritative. Single issues such as the economy, jobs, climate control, immigration, family values, foreign policy, and women’s rights notwithstanding, voters are seeking a father (and someday, maybe, a mother) figure, which, by any measure, is a gut decision. They are impelled more by their hearts than their minds. “Who’s your Daddy?”
Andrew Kohut agrees. He is the president of the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan “fact tank” that did extensive public opinion polling during the election. In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Kohut wrote, “Postelection talk of ‘lessons learned’ is often exaggerated and misleading.” He then went on to add:
In particular, they are paying too little attention to how weak a candidate Mitt Romney was… Just 47% of exit-poll respondents viewed him favorably, compared with 53% for Mr. Obama.Throughout the campaign, Mr. Romney's favorable ratings were among the lowest recorded for a presidential candidate in the modern era. A persistent problem was doubt about his empathy with the average voter. By 53% to 43%, exit-poll respondents said that Mr. Obama was more in touch than Mr. Romney with people like themselves.
James Fallows, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, goes even further than Mr. Kohut. A veteran political watcher who has covered many elections since his days as Jimmy Carter’s speechwriter, Mr. Fallows wrote an article for the September issue of the magazine in anticipation of the 2012 presidential debates in which he referenced a political meme:
…the easiest way to judge “victory” in many debates is to watch with the sound turned off, so you can assess the candidates’ ease, tenseness, humor, and other traits signaled by their body language.
Mr. Fallows’ words echo a noted study (noted in the presentation trade) conducted by Professor Albert Mehrabian of the Department of Psychology at UCLA. The study ranked the relative impact of the three key dynamics of interpersonal communication:
Visual: Body language
The results: the body language had the greatest impact, the voice next, while the story had the least impact—substantiation of the “sound turned off” premise.
You can see further substantiation in two events on the culminating night of the 2012 election: Mr. Obama’s victory speech and Mr. Romney’s concession speech. Granted that one man was feeling lift of exhilaration and the other the pain of defeat, but by viewing each speech (via the YouTube links)—with the sound turned off—you’ll readily see why Mr. Obama had a ten point advantage in the Pew Research exit polls.
Watch for three visual factors:
Eyes: Both men read their speeches from teleprompters, but as Mr. Romney shifted from between the teleprompter panels, his eyes darted an instant before his head turned, making him appear furtive. Mr. Obama turned his eyes and head at the same time, making him appear to be connecting directly with his audience.
Gestures: Mr. Romney made minimal use of his hands and arms, appearing constrained, while Mr. Obama used his hands and arms expressively, appearing animated and enthusiastic.
Stance: Mr. Romney stood either ramrod straight or leaning back, while Mr. Obama repeatedly leaned forward to his audience. As Mr. Kohut said, “exit-poll respondents said that Mr. Obama was more in touch than Mr. Romney.”
Power Presentations - Wednesday, November 14, 2012
by Jerry Weissman
On the Sunday before Election Day, the New York Times (which had enthusiastically endorsed President Obama the previous Sunday) published a negative article in its Magazine section titled, “Still Waiting for the Narrator in Chief.” In the article, Matt Bai, the newspaper's chief political correspondent, pondered how Mr. Obama had “squandered his narrative mojo.”
Mr. Bai was echoing an opinion voiced by many others throughout the election campaign; particularly by his Times colleague, Maureen Dowd, who, in one of her many critiques of the president, took a shot at him by referencing a new book, A Nation of Wusses, in which “Democrat Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania, wonders how ‘the best communicator in campaign history’ lost his touch.”
The mistake of my first term – couple of years – was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that’s important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times. It’s funny when I ran everybody said, “well he can give a good speech, but can he actually manage the job?” And in my first two years, I think the notion was, “well, he’s been juggling and managing a lot of stuff, but where’s the story that tells us where he’s going?” And I think that was a legitimate criticism.
That self-evaluation became a self-fulfilling prophecy in his first debate with Mitt Romney. Mr. Obama’s lackluster performance drew a torrent of criticism—including here—and a dip in the opinion polls. But the criticism also served as a wakeup call. He became a man possessed for the rest of the campaign. Reaching back to his breakthrough keynote at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he pulled out all the rhetorical stops from that speech and deployed them throughout the rest of his 2012 campaign: in the second and third debates, in his many stump speeches, and then again in his rousing victory speech.
Readers of The Power Presenter will recall that I analyzed the rhetorical techniques in the 2004 speech. Below you’ll find a reprise of three of the techniques and their equivalents in the 2012 victory speech:
Antithesis: two contrasting ideas juxtaposed in adjacent phrases.
There is not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America -- there’s the United States of America.
it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you're willing to try.
Anaphora: a phrase repeated in several successive sentences, clauses, or phrases
America! Tonight, if you feel the same energy that I do, if you feel the same urgency that I do, if you feel the same passion that I do, if you feel the same hopefulness that I do -- if we do what we must do, then I have no doubt that all across the country, from Florida to Oregon, from Washington to Maine, the people will rise up in November.
This country has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that's not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.
Anecdote is a brief human interest story (and not a joke.)
I met a young man named Shamus in a V.F.W. Hall in East Moline, Illinois…
And I saw just the other day, in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his 8-year-old daughter…
As Mr. Obama starts his second term facing many daunting domestic and international challenges, he will have to keep that narrative mojo going at full strength. As Matt Bai put it in the conclusion of his article, “Once you’re in office, the story you tell about and to the country …is, to a large extent, the presidency itself.”
Yesterday’s post, in anticipation of the third and final presidential debate of 2012, described how Al Gore agreed with his opponent, George W. Bush, seven times during one of their 2000 debates. In last night’s debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, Mr. Romney outdid Mr. Gore nearly twofold:
1.…we’re going to have to recognize that we have to do as the president has done. I congratulate him on — on taking out Osama bin Laden and going after the leadership in al-Qaida.
2.There was an effort on the part of the president to have a status of forces agreement. And I concurred in that and said we should have some number of troops that stayed on. That was something I concurred with…That was your posture. That was my posture as well.
3. After Mr. Obama, speaking of his handling of Syria, said, “What we’ve done is organize the international community, saying Assad has to go,” Mr. Romney said:
Recognize I believe that Assad must go.
4. After Mr. Obama, speaking of his handling of Libya, said, “We did so in a careful, thoughtful way, making certain that we knew who we were dealing with, that those forces of moderation on the ground were ones that we could work with. And we have to take the same kind of steady, thoughtful leadership when it comes to Syria. That’s exactly what we’re doing,” Mr. Romney said:
I don’t want to have our military involved in — in Syria. I don’t think there’s a necessity to put our military in Syria at — at this stage. I don’t anticipate that in the future.
5. After moderator Bob Schieffer of asked Mr. Obama, “During the Egyptian turmoil, there came a point when you said it was time for President Mubarak to go,” and Mr. Obama said, “Right,” Mr. Schieffer turned to Mr. Romney for his position, and he said:
I believe, as the president indicated and said at the time, that I supported his — his action there….once it exploded, I felt the same as the president did
6. After Mr. Obama said of Mr. Romney, “He’s praised George Bush as good economic steward and Dick Cheney as somebody who shows great wisdom and judgment,” Mr. Romney said:
My plan to get the industry on its feet when it was in real trouble was not to start writing checks. It was President Bush that wrote the first checks. I disagree with that.
7. After Mr. Obama said, “What I now want to do is to hire more teachers, especially in math and science, because we know that we’ve fallen behind when it comes to math and science,” Mr. Romney said:
Look, I — I love to — I love teachers, and I’m happy to have states and communities that want to hire teachers, do that.
8. I want to underscore the — the same point the president made, which is that if I’m president of the United States, when I’m president of the United States, we will stand with Israel.
9.After Mr. Obama said, “As long as I’m president of the United States, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon. I’ve made that clear when I came into office. We then organized the strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against Iran in history, and it is crippling their economy,” Mr. Romney said:
And crippling sanctions are something I’d called for five years ago when I was in Israel speaking at the Herzliya Conference. I laid out seven steps. Crippling sanctions were number one. And they do work. You’re seeing it right now in the economy. It’s absolutely the right thing to do to have crippling sanctions.
10. When Mr. Schieffer asked Mr. Romney about the president’s plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in 2014, he replied:
Well, we’re going to be finished by 2014. And when I’m president, we’ll make sure we bring our troops out by the end of 2014.
11. We look at what’s happening in Pakistan and recognize that what’s happening in Pakistan is going to have a major impact on the success in Afghanistan. And — and I say that because I know a lot of people just feel like we should just brush our hands and walk away. And I don’t mean you, Mr. President, but some people in the — in our nation feel that Pakistan (doesn’t ?) — being nice to us and that we should just walk away from them.
This is — this is an important part of the world for us. Pakistan is — is technically an ally, and they’re not acting very much like an ally right now, but we have some work to do. And I — I don’t blame the administration for the fact that the relationship with Pakistan is strained. We had to go into Pakistan; we had to go in there to get Osama bin Laden. That was the right thing to do.
12.When Mr. Schieffer asked, “Let me ask you, Governor, because we know President Obama’s position on this, what is — what is your position on the use of drones? Mr. Romney replied:
Well, I believe that we should use any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world. And it’s widely reported that drones are being used in drone strikes, and I support that entirely and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology and believe that we should continue to use it to continue to go after the people who represent a threat to this nation and to our friends.
To repeat the George Santayana quote I cited after Mr. Obama’s flat presentation in the first debate, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”