It’s Friday, yay! Hope the start of your May is going well. I’m glad to be back in the blogging saddle after a little bit of a hiatus. And speaking of saddles, I’ll also be watching the Kentucky Derby tomorrow afternoon and sipping on a refreshing Mint Julep. What a way to kick off the homestretch month before the start of summer. So, if you’re also enjoying a refreshing cocktail (or two) this weekend, here are a few posts of interest to read as well–enjoy!
Ditch the Corporate Speak from PR Writing by @ArikHanson:
I recently laughed out loud (yes, I mean LOL’d) at a press release sent by a former employer. It said so much and so little in two pages that it was clearly a case of corporate speak running over common sense.
Arik Hanson presents an interesting challenge to PR pro’s to take a stand against the over-use of corporate buzzwords in press releases.
I am guilty of committing many of those terms, as many of us are, as they’ve engrained themselves into the corporate dialect that many leaders just assume the common consumer/stakeholder uses them too. It’s more of a learning curve that PR folks need to catch their corporate clients up to speed on how to clearly communicate messages without muddying the waters with too much jargon.
Ten Most Censored Countries by @pressfreedom:
May 3 was World Press Freedom Day but not all the world’s press is “free”
This report from the Committee to Protect Journalists reminds us of the reality that many members of the international press face with limited rights as journalists or photographers. It is especially concerning since many of the countries listed are areas of civil unrest and who knows how much of the story is getting out to the world, such as in Syria
Lessons Advertising Can Learn from PR by Timothy Kane via @AdAge:
I did not expect to read this article in Ad Age of all places—from my experience, PR and advertising (or marketing) always battled over budget and were expected to “play nice in the sandbox” together. (Oh, how I hated that phrase, but that’s another topic.)
What this article does so well is help articulate an advantage of public relations- that of connecting and communicating with a community, which is directly relevant to the way social media works. Social media is more than just one-way communication of the brand to the consumer; consumers today want a personal connection or the ability to articulate what makes them prefer a product.
So, if this trend continues, and social communications makes a few in-roads for PR to have a seat at the strategic table, I think it speaks to a need for an integrated communications team composed of people from all communications aspects. I think we’re going to need a bigger sandbox!
Breaking Free of Patterns and Routines by @chrisbrogan:
Here’s a post that made me really think. Personally, I am a creature of habit, both at work and at home. I have my routines that comfort me because I know things get done when they work. But after reading Chris Brogan’s reflective post this week, it made me realize that I might also become trapped by those patterns.
It’s not easy to just say, “oh well, I guess I’ll change my pattern” because we’re human and some of those patterns are necessary (like law enforcement or utilities). However, that doesn’t mean we can’t think of creative ways to break up our usual patterns to see how it might positively affect our outcomes.
That’s a lot to think about and I appreciate Mr. Brogan for positing that consideration…I’ll see if I can get to pondering it outside of my pattern ;)
As always, feel free to share any links or posts you found this week as well. Have a great weekend!
I opted not to run this post yesterday because I figured there would be plenty of better Valentine-related posts. (And I agree with Gini Dietrich– Shonali Burke really blew it out of the water with her Valentine post!)
Although I am not a fan of the candy, I can’t help but think about the simplicity and directness of those peppermint candy hearts.
Maybe it’s the size and shape, but they all carry succinct messages in such a way that there is no mistaking what it means when one says “Be Mine” or “Love You.”
It got me thinking, since participating in a communications workshop last week, about effective interpersonal communications.
The course was a great refresher for any communications pro about what affects our communications in everyday life. Things like:
- How personal attitudes toward the sender, receiver or the subject being discussed can act as a communication barrier.
- Cultural, social, or behavioral contexts may affect our ability to communicate and listen to others.
- How emotions can (and do) affect how we communicate or react to others.
- Nonverbal communications may counter-act our communication intention and affect the communication impact.
You get the picture.
But what I found most interesting from the workshop was a discussion on how the contextual setting affects our interpersonal communications.
Let’s go back to those seasonal candy hearts…
If I give my husband a candy heart with the phrase “Love You” imprinted on it, I’m sure he’ll get the picture that I am clearly communicating that him I love him.
Now, if instead I say “love you” to my husband, with no candy aid, he may have a different interpretation.
What was my body language communicating when I said that phrase? Did I make eye contact with him? What was going on in the background when I said it? Was he even listening to me in the first place?
If all conditions were not perfect when I utter those words, it can easily lead to a communication breakdown.
We all know where communications breakdowns can occur. Even if you’re not in the communications profession, it’s pretty easy to spot them.
Remember in high school when you analyzed every single verbal and non-verbal cue from your crush?
Or perhaps you couldn’t understand your professor’s feedback to your papers in college.
It all goes to the heart of the matter (no pun intended) that communications are highly complex and there is no one way to go about approaching what is and isn’t effective about communications.
To that end, I would highly recommend taking a periodic course or seminar on communications from time to time, even if you are immersed in communications work.
We could always use some time to step back and remind ourselves of how complex communications can be.
What do you think can help or hinder effective interpersonal communications? Any personal or professional stories you can share?
And with that, I shall close my somewhat Valentine-inspired post with a musical conclusion:
Happy Friday, all! Are you ready for the holidays next week? It’s hard to believe this month has gone by that quickly. What I’m most looking forward to is spending Christmas with my family back home in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. I’m sure lots of you are also getting ready for holiday travels and house guests. If you have some free time this weekend in between last-minute shopping and prepping for the holidays, here are this week’s links and posts of interest to share–enjoy!
Seven Blogging Tips to Drop Right Now (by Mayra via @DannyBrown):
One blogging tip I follow frequently is to pay attention to tips other bloggers share. So, when I read something like Mayra’s column about the seven blogging tips to ditch and why, it makes me stop in my tracks and give it a read.
She doesn’t so much explain to ditch these tips for the sake of ditching them (because any blogger will recognize them), but rather, she reasons that they often tend to take the fun and organic nature out of blogging. I agree that blogging should be fun, and everyone has different time and resources to put into their blogs. And to each his or her own :)
Public Relations Perception and Messages in the Media (by @jepotts):
Sometimes, it’s hard to take the PR out of a person when you see a news story or follow a hot topic in the media. Jonathan Potts, who writes a very smart PR blog, noticed tone in the media coverage of a fight of words between a health system and an insurance company in Pittsburgh. He shared that as PR folks, we’re often analyzing the tone of a story and rating it if it is positive, negative or neutral.
But it’s also important to note if, regardless of tone, your key messages are getting into the coverage. Tone may change, but those key messages won’t, and it’s easy to get swept up in the media storm and forget the importance of message. I liked the clarity of that thought from Mr. Potts, and he gets bonus points for suggesting a content analysis of news stories, because that appeals to the PR geek in me.
Elements of Style Rap Video (via @juliemmoos):
Anyone who went to journalism school knows the Elements of Style by E.B. White and William Strunk, Jr. In fact, I still have my copy from my undergrad days upstairs in my bookcase of forgotten books. So, it was fun to see this video produced by Columbia Journalism students to showcase their rapping styles and general journalism nerdiness. Seeing how creative these guys were, I wonder what kind of rap PR folks could come up with? (Read: open challenge for anyone who does a PR rap—think of words that rhyme with “press release” and “key message”)
Science Cheerleaders Break Stereotypes (by @allieharch on @geekadelphia):
And since I’m on a geeky kick, I feel like sharing something completely different…
I have recently started following the Geekadelphia blog, and a post from this week bought to my attention the Science Cheerleaders organization. It’s made up of women who are professional cheerleaders but also hold multiple science degrees. They work to break the stereotypes of women in many ways—that cheerleaders aren’t airheads and that women can be successful in the sciences. The video embedded in this post is very inspirational and makes me wish I hadn’t put down my pom-poms in junior high. Go, science!
Did you come across any links or articles of interest this week? Feel free to share them and have a wonderful weekend :)