Some takeaways from Megyn Kelly

On April 19, our Reputation Management class here at the Stanford GSB was lucky enough to have one of America’s best-known journalists — Megyn Kelly (formerly of Fox and NBC) — speak about her experiences in the public eye. Here are some of the lessons that I took away from her remarks.

1) Follow your conscience. Megan’s most important message was that if you consistently act in accordance with your conscience and values — if you do the right thing — good things will happen. You will find a community, and you will draw strength and support from it. Of course, there will always be those who disagree with you, but you will grow from the criticism, and you will remain your true, authentic self.

2) You’re in the arena. When you deliberately place yourself in the public eye, you’re walking into the arena. If you’re going to give your opinions on others, then you have to be prepared for others to give their opinions on you. It takes courage, strength, and fortitude to walk into the arena: it’s not for everyone, and if you’re not prepared, it’s best to stay out.

3) Decide whose opinions you care about. When you’re in the arena, you’ll inevitably be the recipient of the highest praise and the vilest criticism (in Megyn’s case, including both a variety of gendered slurs on Twitter, as well as the cover of the National Enquirer). To remain grounded, you need to decide who matters. Your family and your close friends — those who know you well and love you — will be people whose opinions you can trust and should care about. But if you don’t tune out the masses, you’ll be mired in unhappiness.

4) The messenger matters. It’s not just about the ideas you have — it’s about the messenger. For better or worse, humans trust others who are better public speakers and, frankly, have more charisma. Connecting with others is a skill that can be taught, and if you want to be influential (including with respect to your own reputation), you need to develop it.

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Thoughts from the 2022 class of GSBGEN 317

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Patrick Toth

Patrick Toth

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