Meet Wiley Brooks

Event speaker and workshop leader Wiley Brooks Words are the bedrock of how we communicate. Unfortunately, most people do a poor job choosing the words they use. My mission is to change that. I want everyone to do a better job at making their points.  If they do, they will be far more effective at work.

There was a time when I used too many big words. As I got deeper into crisis management, though, I found that the chief virtue of writing is clarity. The question, I came to know, wasn't whether a key point was made, but if it could be passed along with little or no distortion. That is what Cicero was saying 2,000 years ago in that quote displayed on this page. The best way to ensure that a message gets truly heard is to strip away all the clutter.

The most important thing for you to know about me is that I am passionate about sharing how word choices affect how well we can make important things happen. Still, you might want to know more, so here´┐Ż is a brief bio sketch:The Wiley Brooks Company I founded the firm in 1988. Once a full-service PR firm known for crisis and advocacy work, it now just me and dedicated to my sharing what I have learned about choosing and using words. I do that by being a featured speaker at conferences and events, as well as leading 90-minute writing workshop for employer groups.

My talks focus on effective leaders make sure that their points are understood clearly. Accuracy in recall spurs the right results. Over the past few years, I have studied how top leaders communicate. What I have learned from them and from my days doing crisis communications is the basis for what I share.

During my crisis management days, I worked closely with teams on complex, sometimes terrible issues. Crisis communications really does force you to focus on clarity and speed. Deadlines can be short and there is usually a lot of noise ready to surround anything you have to say. It all calls for clarity that is best reached through clear and concise writing.

Some examples of my crisis work:

  • When a fast food chain found itself face-to-face with the deadliest food borne illness crisis any restaurant company had ever confronted, I stepped in to manage the communications surrounding the crisis and to help the chain bring its business back to normal.
  • When a large, well-known cruise line faced a disaster that threatened a huge part of its business, the company turned to me to guide the public response.
  • When a Fortune 100 company discovered that one of its plants had caused the worst drinking water contamination case in U.S. history, the company hired me to manage the complex PR issues it faced.
  • When the FBI arrested the president of a large college for taking kickbacks, the college's board asked if I could help plot a course to maintain the college's good name.
  • When a large church organization found itself mired in dealing with the terrible consequences of immoral acts by some of its leaders, it retained me to design a strategy to regain control of the discussion and be seen as heading in the right direction.
PR Writing Class - Starting in 2004, I led writing workshops designed mostly for PR professionals who wanted to learn how to write more clearly and concisely. As part of that class, I developed an online tool to help writers measure the clarity of their words. Click the clarity tool tab above to try it out.

TellThemNow.com - I took a leave from the PR firm in 1999 to create an Internet company called TellThemNow. The service partnered with news sites to make it easy for readers of the news to send messages to newsmakers quoted in the stories. The company grew to 40 employees and more than 900 news partners before the dotcom bubble burst in mid-2000. Unable to add to the $3.5 million I had already raised, TellThemNow ran out of money and closed in late 2000.

Newspapers - Prior to entering PR, I was a newspaper writer and editor. At age 23, Knight Newspapers chose meas the youngest managing editor at any daily paper in its group. I later held key newsroom jobs in Philadelphia and Waukegan (IL) before being named executive editor of the York (PA) Daily Record at age 30. Under my direction, the York paper was named the No. 1 mid-sized daily in the state and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Education - I graduated from the University of South Florida, where I was managing editor of the student newspaper (Pacemaker winner as best college weekly in the nation). After working for one year at the St. Petersburg Times, I attended graduate school at the University of Missouri - Columbia, the oldest journalism school in the world.

Personal - I am married to Marianne Bichsel, founder of Bichsel Public Affairs. We live in Kirkland.
 
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Crisis consulting to CEOs and attorneys