Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Years Elementality

I don't make New Years resolutions. I have always found it frivolous, not to mention a bit hypocritical, to do commit to something you should have been doing anyway simply because there's a new year in town. But this year I feel like it's a bit necessary, especially given all the change that has occurred and all of the change I hope for in the future. So here goes:
  1. I resolve to be as helpful as my Twitter community. @grshane and @studlysergio helped me get Google Wave, @lzone showed me where to sign up to beta test Foursquare and countless other good things have happened because the people I follow and who follow me are just all around great about helping others out.
  2. I resolve to take a chance on someone else like @buildingbrands took a chance on me. It is a very big risk giving someone their first internship and I am eternally grateful for the guidance, work and experiences I received while there over the summer.
  3. I resolve to write more, even if it kills me and I think I don't have time.
  4. I resolve to ask more questions. I rely on Google far too much and asking questions allows others to share their knowledge with me.
  5. I resolve to take either an online or real class in finance and budgeting, because I suck at it.
Welp, that's where I'm starting for the new year. 2010 FTW!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Communicating PR

Why is it that the industry burdened with communicating messages to the public on behalf of companies/organizations, struggles so much with communicating its own importance? That sentence, is exactly why we (PR) have such a time communicating our indispensability. It's too wordy. We talk too much. We use euphemisms, analogies, metaphors etc. to tell others what we (well some of us) spend hours on end actually doing. What is wrong with shooting straight from the hip? Instead of practicing 30-second commercials to use when networking, I think PR students should practice explaining what PR is in 15 (half the time) seconds or less. Now the goal would not be to talk fast. Any auctioneer can do that. The point of this exercise would be to accurately convey what PR is and why it is necessary, with crystal clarity to the average person.

So here I go. Time me.

PR gives the message of an organization to those who care to hear it, and sometimes to those who don't. And if they wish to be successful, PR professionals get those who care heard by the organization and those who don't care, to care.

I'm going to memorize that and when anyone asks me what PR is, that's going to be my answer. What's yours?

[update] I think it's really disheartening, for me as a student anyway, that we can't decide on an acceptable explanation/definition for PR. I mean really, some pros have been practicing for 10, 20, 30 or 40+ years and yet we still have trouble/issues/problems etc. communicating our job. We know our job. We go into work eery single day knowing exactly what we have to do. And we do it, mostly, well. So why is it so hard to explain it? Why dumb it down? What's so wrong with a technical definition, like "management function of communication blah blah blah?" I mean, engineers have a technical definition. Doctors sure as heck do. Is not our contribution just as important? Just as valuable to a company's success? I have a recent grad friend who is considering leaving (well, branching off really) the industry simply because of the negative connotations associated with being in "PR." Our inability to communicate (which we're supposed to do best) is hindering our ability to keep talent and grow as an industry. This may seem like harsh criticism but really it's frustrating. And I don't know, maybe my generation of peers will be the ones to solve this dilemma but really, I doubt it. By the time we're in a position to enact any real change, my guess is we'll all be so jaded from our experience with our predecessors that we'll concede the point and just go about our work everyday. Man that's bleak. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Industry Accountability?

A lot of the public relations world has given their two (sometimes more than two) cents on the Tiger Woods situation. We all know his PR team are inside the belly of the #failwhale but what are we doing to help them? Or a better question is, do we as members of the same industry, have a responsibility to protect their reputations as competent practitioners? Does our success (or image as a necessity for businesses/brands) depend on theirs?

I'm only wondering because I know that with the new found transparency of the 2.0 world, virtually anyone is accessible to a certain degree. Members of this profession are very often connected to each other through only a few degrees, so someone with accurate knowledge of how handle this situation should be within reach of Tiger's counselors. And with all of the articles being written daily about what should be done, is anyone offering this advice to Tiger's counsel? It only makes sense.

If everyone realizes that Tiger's response and strategy is erred so far, then when does that blame fall to the PR professionals handling the situation? And if it does, when are we as their colleagues (or future colleagues in my case) negatively affected by their failure?

As a student, I'm completely interested in learning as much as possible from this situation so all comments and advice are appreciated.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Motivation...or Something Like It

This was a wonderful Thanksgiving break, with good food and family. What did I do most for my short break? Why I sat on the couch in front of the TV and my Macbook of course! Honestly, between my physics class and all of the PRSSA stuff from last quarter, I wasn't motivated to do much of anything over break. But reading this post on PR Breakfast Club and talking about my life goals with my Dad, got me to thinking about what motivates me. I have never really thought about it before, partially because I was so distracted with busy work. However after some deep (and I mean DEEEP) introspection, I've arrived at the answer, the key, to what motivates me.

Competition.

I love it. It's not even a winning thing; I'm a good sport even though I'm no fan of losing, ever. But I want and often need to compete in some way shape or form.

I love the rush of it all. The drive to push yourself specifically against someone or something else and having a direct read of your abilities makes competition so exhilirating for me. I've even been known to compete when other people don't know its a competition.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm a team player and have no problem staying out of the spotlight. Self-satisfaction is a much more important reward for me than external recognition [although any ONU PRSSA Exec will tell you that I like being right;)]. Friendly competition just makes things more interesting, even mundane things. When asked if I thought my internship could improve in anyway, the only thing I could come up with was that it would have been fun to have a little intern v. intern competition. Even a Scrabble (LOVE!) tourney would have sufficed.

Now like Keith said in the PRBC post, this is not the only thing that motivates me. But unlike Keith, not too many more things come to mind after about three others. Lucky for me, they happen to be fairly large things lol.

I think competition is a good motivator when harnessed appropriately and kept in perspective.
And yes, if asked, I will race you.