At the Public Relations Organization International (PROI) conference held in Denver last month, I had the opportunity to hear from a panel of in-house, senior-level communications professionals who spoke about what they hope to get out of agency partnerships. Each of the panelists previously worked for creative agencies themselves, providing for unique insight and surprisingly simple answers. Below are the top three things this expert panel asks of agency partners.
Did you know that, on average, executives spent nearly 23 hours a week in meetings? What’s more, 65 percent of senior managers say meetings keep them from completing their own work and 71 percent say the meetings are unproductive and inefficient.
I came across these depressing stats while reading an article from the Harvard Business Review about how to “Stop The Meeting Madness.” My husband suggested I read it after yet another dinner-time exchange that resulted in me describing my day as mostly spent in meetings. In an effort to understand more about how this meeting culture developed and how it was impacting my day-to-day, I dug a little deeper to also find some solutions. Read more after the jump…
As communicators, it’s hard not to have an admiration for one of the toughest PR jobs on earth: The White House Press Secretary. Watching the current White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, bob and weave on a daily basis, got me thinking about this challenging role and one of the most famous press secretaries, C.J. Cregg of the West Wing (I know it was a TV show, but who didn’t love watching her in action?).
It has to be one of the toughest, most stressful communications jobs as every day is a crisis of some sort. According to the International Business Times, the average White House spokesperson stays in the job for two and a half years. President Trump’s first press secretary, Sean Spicer, made infamous on Saturday Night Live, lasted just 182 days.
What are your boundaries when it comes to client culture and the type of clients you would represent? And would you have the courage to maintain those boundaries if the client represented hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual fees? How about millions of dollars?
How much do you care about client culture?
Would you be willing to represent Harvey Weinstein following his rape and harassment allegations? Sitrick and Company does. How about Bill O’Reilly following his sexual harassment claims? N.S. Bienstock Agency did. Would you be willing to create campaigns for the NRA or the anti-gun group Americans for Responsible Solutions? WPP did both… at the same time.
Every time I reach for my AP Style Book, I am reminded of a college journalism professor who left her mark on me for a couple of reasons: First, we had weekly quizzes on the AP Style Book, which was a great way to learn and practice the rules. And if you weren’t sure there was a rule, at least we all learned to use the book to see if a rule existed.
Second, she was a stickler for writing in the simplest terms, using concise, action words and cutting out fat from our writing. Following is a list of words or phrases that should be eliminated from our writing, along with a suitable replacement word. Just like Bitly and Tiny URL help us shorten URLs for social media, this list can help tighten all of our writing. What are some of your favorite words or phrases that can be omitted and replaced with a single word?
|In order to||To|
|Very ugly, very fat, very angry||Hideous, obese, furious|
|In the event that||If|
|On account of the fact that
Because of the fact that
Due to the fact that
|In spite of the fact that||Although, though, despite|
|In the absence of||Without|
|In the event that||If|
|A large proportion of||Many|
|In a situation in which||When|
|There is a need for||Must|
|Along the lines of||Like|
|At the present time||Now, currently|
What do you discuss with your TSA agent?
Believe it or not, that’s a question I often ask myself as I approach the gatekeepers of airport security. Is it the weather? Do I venture a joke about the tumultuous sea of humanity I just traversed? Should I preemptively acknowledge the fact that my ID looks like it’s been acid washed (it does)?
Thankfully, that question was answered for me on my latest trip.
“Thank you Officer Mady,” I said to the agent. “Thanks for making sure that doubled-edged knife didn’t make it on my flight.”
You see, someone who works for the Transportation Security Administration within the Charleston International Airport has posted “Great Catch” signs throughout airport security lines — an arena where eyes are prone to wander and likely land on graphic images of weapons.
But instead of simply declaring these items aren’t allowed in your carry-on (duh), beneath the images are stories about how Charleston TSA agents have detected these very items during the course of security screenings.
All of a sudden, Officer Smith and I had something to talk about.
Read more after the jump…
Facebook Livestream has brought communicators a fabulous storytelling tool for clients. Whether you are looking to cover an event, launch a new product, host a seminar or share news, it is a simple way to engage specific target audiences.
In fact, I recently worked with a local television station partner to amplify messaging for a public education campaign via Facebook Livestream on location and wanted to share a few tips:
• Once you determine a date/time, share that information across your social platforms to help gain an audience; repost it during and after with links to the livestream, as appropriate.
• Scout out a location beforehand and determine connections, best lighting, areas with the least noise/interruptions, etc.
• If you are outside, check on the placement of the sun and shading. Read more after the jump…
I am unquestionably an introvert. I love people, and I love being around people… until it’s time to recharge. Then, I need to be alone. With a good book, hiking the trail near my home, or simply laying down and staring at the ceiling fan. I need to be quiet, turn my focus inward and regroup. Afterwards, I’m ready to be around people again.
Whether it’s dreaming up the perfect copy for a social media post, crafting a pitch for a key reporter, or strategizing how to report metrics to executives – the daily life of a communications professional requires a lot of widely-varied creative ideas and solutions!
Some days the creativity flows like a river and other days the creative process takes a little longer to get going, which is why I read two recent articles with great interest!
Creativity Isn’t About Talent, It’s a Mood
If you’re a fan of Monty Python, you’re a fan of co-founder John Cleese who – it turns out – is obsessed with creativity. This recent article describes some of Cleese’s best tips for setting the right mood for creativity which include:
- Creating a space/time oasis where you can get away from daily distractions and disturbances
- Sticking with problems just a little longer than when the “easy way out” appears… the alternative is almost always more creative
- My personal favorite: making mistakes because “while you’re being creative, nothing is wrong”
- Embracing humor, because it’s essential to spontaneity and playfulness, two key ingredients to creativity
- Keeping a light hold of the problem you’re pondering, as you’re likely to be rewarded with a creative solution when you least expect it
While President Obama had his fair share of scuffles with the media, they didn’t get the kind of attention President Trump’s school-yard battles are getting now. After several decades during which the media has lost trust, credibility and interest among Americans, will the new President bring back the Fourth Estate to its former glory?
I recently came across a Politico article titled: Trump Is Making Journalism Great Again. According to the article, there’s always been a quid pro quo in Washington, where journalists groom sources, but sources also groom journalists. “There’s nothing inherently unethical about the back-scratching. When a reporter calls an administration source to confirm an embarrassing item, the source may agree to confirm as long as the reporter at the very least agrees to listen sympathetically to the administration’s context.”