Today was Goldman Sachs' big day in front of the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations—The C.S.I. of Senate subcommittees. From Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, we've compiled an illustrated guide on how to comport yourself at your next Senate hearing.
Blankfein was the icing on the ten hour-long cake that was today's grilling of Goldman Sachs execs at the eager hands of senators. Everyone was there: Fab Tourre, Dan Sparks. But Blankfein was grilled the longest, and he was the most expressive. Here's what Blankfein's performance can teach you about surviving a highly public flogging if you are accused of bilking your customers and destroying the economy! (Click to enlarge Lloyd.)
If you're appearing before a Senate panel investigating your shady deals after you've received a $10 billion bailout from them, it's appropriate to begin with a little groveling. Blankfein started by thanking America for its money. When apologizing, turn your palms up to show vulnerability. Spread your arms as if to embrace a former lover whom you slighted but still have warm feelings for.
Be warned, even with your apologetic opening, Senators may not see eye-to-eye with you. Senator Carl Levin and Blankfein could not reconcile their views on whether Goldman should have revealed to clients they were selling them a "Shitty deal". Express your frustration that senators just don't understand how markets work by punctuating your words with a sharp jabbing motion. Brows up and lips puckered gives you an appropriate teacherly expression as you enlighten your questioners.
Is your patient explanation just not getting through? Try acting hurt that someone would actually believe you could knowingly mislead your clients. Raise your eyebrows even more to express incredulity. Quiver your lips and curl your hands to symbolize the pain such accusations cause you and your employees. ("It was one of the worst days of my professional life, as I know it was for every person at our firm.")
But sometimes, Senators may say things that flat-out don't make sense. Today, Senator Jon Tester called Goldman's synthetic C.D.Os "a scam." When presented with such outlandish claims, tilt your head to one side and furrow your brow. Act as if you are trying to understand your interrogator's point but it's just too weird to comprehend.
Even with your best efforts, things may get out of hand. At that point: Stop. Blankfein time
Above all, look smug. Smugness conveys many important messages: I'm smart; I'm blameless; I will prevail. But most of all, it tells the audience that you have way too much money to even begin to give a shit. And in that lies the key to surviving your next Senate Subcommittee on Investigations hearing. Thanks, Lloyd!