First Things First

blogpic_firstthingsfirstThanksgiving has come and gone (hard to believe!), but I still feel compelled to dedicate this blog post to it as it happens to be my favorite holiday. Unfortunately, however, it tends to get short-shrifted every year as people tend to jump right from Halloween to Christmas. No sooner does Halloween end, then stores start putting out their holiday decorations (if they haven’t already done so), we are inundated with holiday catalogs, and radio stations start playing holiday music. To which I say – FIRST THINGS FIRST! Thanksgiving comes before the December holidays, and we should absolutely honor that. Goodness knows we should never overlook an opportunity to slow down and be thankful.

This tendency to get ahead of ourselves certainly isn’t limited to Thanksgiving. It’s easy to do in all sorts of ways in our daily lives, and in our jobs in particular.

When we’re handed a new project at work, the tendency (for me, anyway) is to jump right in and start “doing” – without giving adequate time or thought to the piece that should come first: planning. The planning piece may not be as fun or as glamorous as the execution, but it’s key to ensuring success.

And in a similar vein, when working with various partners on a project, it’s key to first sit down with everyone around the table to understand who will be doing what. Knowing everyone’s roles and expectations will help prevent bruised toes (from being stepped on) and duplication of efforts.

Finally, the “first things first” rule is tantamount when pitching media. It’s easy to get excited about a story idea and want to simply run with it – especially when time is of the essence. However, that very rarely leads to the desired results. It’s critical to gather the background information you need first to craft a well-thought-out pitch with a compelling hook for media. In addition – and PR people get called out for not doing this all too often – it’s key to do your homework and carefully select media that are interested in the topic you are pitching. A little background research on which reporter(s) you should target with your pitch goes a long way in the long run.

“First things first”– whether you’re talking about a treasured holiday or an important project at work, it’s an invaluable rule to live by. I would suggest adopting it as a New Year’s resolution, but I think I’ll focus on the holidays first.

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