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Grant Ainsley

Award Winning Journalist & Public Relations Professional

Grant Ainsley has worked with politicians, CEO’s, association leaders and people from dozens of professions to make them better communicators. Whether he was preparing them for interviews with the news media, or to speak to Board members and staff, Ainsley has used the knowledge gained over the past 40 years to make them better at saying the right thing at the right time.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Surviving a Social Media Meltdown: Are You Ready If It Happens To You
There’s never been a time that companies are in greater danger of having something go wrong in social media and having their brand and reputation damaged so badly it will take years to recover.

Despite that, too few business leaders are overly concerned about the dangers lurking in the social media use of their employees. 70% of employees are on at least one social media site every day. One embarrassing Facebook post, or piece of video on YouTube can send companies scrambling to explain and recover. Ask yourself what you would do if it happened to you.

We’re also seeing the first wave of people entering the workforce who’ve been involved in social media for most of their lives. They’re friends and followers of many of their customers. The coming years will bring more challenges related to social media as young workers integrate into the system and use social media to communicate and express opinions.

Grant Ainsley is one of Canada’s top media trainers and a former award-winning journalist. He’s discovered that only a fraction of companies are fully prepared to stop something bad from happening to them in social media and understand what they should say to the news media if it does. To make matters worse, many don’t have written procedures in place to deal with consumer complaints made in social media.

In Ainsley’s engaging keynote presentation you’ll learn:

  • What can happen to employees and the companies they work for when offensive social media posts go viral
  • How to put policies in place to lessen the chances of it happening to you
  • Ways to handle difficult situations in the media if you become a victim of a social media meltdown
  • How to effectively handle consumer complaints in social media
  • Why young workers may provide more challenges than you expect

Ainsley’s presentation will result in companies understanding the risks they face and how to minimize them, reducing stress, embarrassment and potentially saving big dollars. He’ll also look into the future and let you know what you need to prepare for.

Talk Like a Leader: Great Ways For Managers and Teams to Communicate
It’s simply impossible to be a great leader if you can’t communicate well. Excelling in communication is consistently one of the highest-rated traits of great leaders, but unfortunately communication skills are not inherited, or often taught in business school.

Organizations also feel the pain. One study reported that poor communication in a company with 100 employees costs $525,000 a year. Poor direction from leaders and disjointed communication between their employees results in huge costs for any organization.

CEOs and their organizations need to work even harder on communication because many workers are talking less, while texting and emailing much more. It’s getting more difficult to get many employees, especially younger ones, to communicate face-to-face.

Grant Ainsley’s keynote presentation shows leadership teams the secrets to communicating effectively, resulting in better bottom lines. He talks about the key traits of leaders who communicate well and how to prepare for, and have important and real conversations with employees, customers and others. He’ll provide immediate takeaways to allow CEOs and their organizations to start talking again, building trust and getting results.

Here are some of the issues addressed in Ainsley’s presentation:

  • Why managers need to learn “it’s not all about them”
  • The importance of leading teams and saying what needs to be said, but doing it without attitude or a big ego
  • Why good listeners are good communicators
  • Ways to control conversations by asking questions
  • How to prepare for, and have difficult conversations
  • Ways to improve body language
  • How to adjust your style, but not your message
  • Ways to build “cultures of communication”

As more young people enter the workforce who have spent most of their lives involved in social media, email and texting, getting teams to communicate is becoming more challenging and it won’t get any easier in the next decade.

Platform Plus

Workshop | Media Training

Grant's sessions include a presentation on everything people need to know about dealing with the media, key messages customized to each client and their issues, followed by videotaped interviews and a critique. The end result is organizations being much more prepared to deal effectively with the media and their people having the confidence and to perform well in any media setting. Sessions also provide a great team building exercise for the client and an outstanding personal development opportunity for participants.

  • He brought a fresh perspective to our attendees about how important having a communications and social media strategy is for not just our members, but any business. He validated his comments with current examples of crisis situations that added a lot credibility with our audience. His practical suggestions and common sense approach aided communications on the farm and throughout our organization.

    - Corporate Communications Coordinator, Alberta Milk
  • I have been privy to a number of comments from our participants relating to your presentation, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and even glowing, and has included terms such as "incredible", amazing, exceptional, and extraordinary!" People have even suggested that the only possible way to have improved your presentation would have been to make it longer. You were frequently given a "5" ranking on our 1-4 scale. Well Done!!

    - Alberta Construction Safety Association
  • Grant's presentation was a unique blend of information and entertainment – his anecdotes, personal experiences and diverse knowledge provided an incredibly worthwhile session for both staff and elected officials. A presenter as dynamic as Grant is absolutely a gem that is hard to find!

    - City of Brooks
  • As hoteliers we often find ourselves dealing with the media on issues related to our public relations strategies or in regards to events at our hotels. Grant's presentation was focused on our specific needs and extremely useful for our members. We especially appreciated the information and "cheat sheets" he distributed for quick reference. I would highly recommend taking advantage of Grant's experience and unique approach to media relations.

    - Edmonton Convention Hotels Association
  • Grant has a compelling perspective on media relations and the potential pitfalls of social media. He provided an intensive session for our senior leaders that provided practical suggestions on how to be better spokespeople for their organizations. I would definitely hire Grant again.

    - British Columbia Real Estate Association
  • Grant Ainsley provided our elected officials and senior staff with the tools, tips and techniques of effective media relations, and also some valuable insights into the role of the media in our society. Our post-session feedback indicated that the participants felt they had developed a greater degree confidence about being interviewed by journalists, especially television news media.

    - City of Lacombe
  • Grant was absolutely wonderful!! He was a joy to work with, everything went incredibly smoothly, he was wonderfully prepared for our audience, and I had fantastic feedback from our attendees on his presentation and training.

    - Executive Director, Alberta Farm Animal Care

Summary Profile

Ainsley is an award-winning journalist and public relations professional from Edmonton. He has interviewed Wayne Gretzky, John Candy, Jean Chretien, Rick Hansen and many other newsmakers. He entertains audiences with some great stories that illustrate the necessary steps every company needs to take to protect and enhance their brand.

Ainsley is the author of The Honest Spin Doctor, a book that provides a roadmap to effective media relations for people who speak to the news media and the companies they work for. Ainsley speaks about the need for organizations of all sizes to be more concerned about their corporate brand and to be aware of the impact on it, should something go wrong.

He talks about how companies need to change to take the necessary steps to protect their brands before bad things happen to them. Just as importantly, he talks about the need for companies and their leaders to learn how to react and what to say, if they do find themselves in the media for the wrong reasons.

He preaches why taking responsibility, being organized and showing you’re real are the most important things in any crisis. With the impact of social media and other forms of technology, the stakes are higher than ever for companies and their leaders.  His sessions provide vital information for leaders of all kinds to protect their companies, brands and their futures.

Ainsley spent 15 years in the news media in Edmonton as a radio news anchor, talk show host and reporter.  He then served as a spokesperson for the City of Edmonton, commenting on issues related to roadway construction, waste management and water quality and conservation. He also spoke on behalf of the Alberta’s $12 billion housing industry as CEO of the Alberta branch of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association. He lives in Edmonton with his wife Deborah and their four children.