The 3 Rs for a Communications Professional

There are certain elements in communications that all professionals follow. From ethics to grammar, these tenets are held tightly to the heart and soul of any serious practitioner. But it is important to remind ourselves of the basics.

In kindergarten and elementary school, we learn about the “3Rs”. Let’s go through the communications’ version, shall we?

Reading:
Whether it is a book,  or a blog, it is important to keep reading, and reading regularly. And with the reading, we are urged to read good writing. Reading good writing improves ours.

Writing:
Not straying away too far from the original two Rs, writing is obviously a crucial component to the life of the communications professional. One of my mentors said that one’s writing displays the way one thinks. Along with that, it shows how well one understands a certain topic. Being a good writer is not a difficult, yet neither is it easy. It takes work.

Research:
Though arithmetic is important, in the life of the communications professional, research wins the day. Anyone can read good writing, and learn to write well, but the true professionals are separated from the rest of the pack when research is thrown into the mix. Knowing what to research, how to compile and analyze the data, and then deciding what to do with the information gathered are not tasks delegated to the weak. Research is done first, and all the other activities fall in line.

Hope this helps.

Cheers!

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A page from a BP Public Relations Person’s Diary

Not really. But I’ll let my imagination take care of this. If I was a public relations representative for BP, with a diary, this is what it would read like:

July something, 2010:

It’s been so long since I’ve written in my journal. I don’t even know what day it is anymore. Monday? Thursday? Since our recent fumble I don’t even recognise weekends anymore.

And now the Board has decided to bend down and hold their ankles for the American media and say farewell to the presiding Hayward. If only those blokes listened to us about confronting those bloodthirsty hounds, Hayward may not have been sacrificed.

Course not; so now we’re stuck cleaning off a muddy (or oily if you fancy irony) house with the head now American Dudley.

All we had to do was tell the public:

-What exactly happened
-What Hayward’s title encompassed
-How this situation was being handled (with a tad more haste)

But since our recommendations were shoved back under our chins, now we look like we’re simple, and our chief is losing his position.

Not to mention the worse quarterly loss for our organisation.

Do the public actually believe that relieving Hayward of his title will turn the ship around? Will they remember the name of the new chief executive once the Mexican Gulf is cleared?

I’m weary of this public nonsense. And even more weary of our faint attempts of pleasing them.

I have written so many media advisories, talking points, and tweets that my hands are shaking. I fear that if I write anymore, my fingernails will start to bleed.

And I am terribly hungry. We’ve been cooped up in our war room upon hours, and I think our colleague who was eager enough to fetch our meals is still enjoying their release. That lucky bastard.

Ah well, I believe it is time to check the email, to see what mess our department has to clean up now. May the pain end quickly.

Godspeed.

A Second Bill of Rights

A President of the United States believed a second bill of rights needed tobe announced.

This President uttered these rights during a State of the Union Address.

This Second Bill of Rights…is below.

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

Who said this? Franklin Delano Roosevelt during his 1944 State of the Union.

1944!!

Sixty-six years later and the American public are up-in-arms about what is going on in our economy. Read and understand your history folks. Save the rage for something that’s worth it.

Another Post about PRSA

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and I have a love/hate relationship.

I love the fact that there is an organization out there that believes in advocating the importance and principles of public relations and communications.

I love that PRSA is trying to stay relevant…especially with groups like the Young Pros and social media trainings and the like.

However, there is still other things that I just can’t ignore. It’s disappointing attempt of diversity (leadership-wise and as a whole society), it’s new-found aversion with PRSSA/PRSA meet and greets (maybe not as a whole, but an overwhelming sample size) and the benefit/cost imbalance…which may be an internal argument I need to deal with.

What is cool though, is that I am not the only one with a problem with some of PRSA’s regulations. What’s even better, is that this professional, who I think is a rockstar, is in the process of doing something to change it!

Richard Edelman wrote in his blog about the PRSA requirement that you must have an APR (accredited in PR) certification before you even think of holding a leadership position. He was asked to sign a petition to eliminate the requirement.

Sweet!

Now I understand what the Society was trying to do. Any organization wants those in leadership to know the ins and outs of an industry. But the APR isn’t even sought out by many of the leaders in the PR industry! If it was a hot item, and “everyone who’s anyone” got their APR certification, it wouldn’t even be in conversation. Edelman has the statistics in his blog about those getting the certification, so I won’t repeat them.

I hope this succeeds. For PRSA’s hope, at least. Opening the leadership for national office to the masses will only do good things and bring more attention and eager folks to an organization that is struggling to stay in the limelight.

May this requirement be struck down with the greatest of prejudice.

Cheers!

Dwayne

Better Know U.S. Founding Fathers- Your Move Tea (Baggers) Partiers

I have been trying for months to avoid writing this post. I figured that the American people were smarter. I believed that this “Tea Party” movement would pass. I hoped that the American media would finally shrug this movement off as silly and simple and move on to more important things.

I have never been so wrong in my life. NAACP? Why bother with these guys?

You see, I think we need to get back to basics. Let’s go through a sample of our Founding Fathers and demonstrate why none of these Tea Partiers really know what they’re talking about. First, let’s hit the common threads:

-None of them agreed on the same thing
-They respected each other’s opinion (even if they hated each other)
-All were well-read and educated
-All appreciated debate and diplomacy

All right. The stage has been set…let’s go!

Alexander Hamilton:
What a character! Anyone citing that they supported all the Founding Fathers may not have known too much about this guy. First, oh dear and simple tea Partiers, Hamilton supported reducing the national debt by taxing citizens. Hamilton supported taxes. Heck, he as instrumental in creating the National Bank! Good ol’ Alex here believed in a strong central government, and thought that the states (especially Virginia and Mass) should fall in line.

Guess what Tea Baggers, it gets better- Hamilton supported a President-for-Life and Senate for life; yes, basically a King of America. Not too shabby for a graduate of Columbia University. A lover of commerce and manufacturing, Hamilton spent most of his political career fighting the likes of Jefferson, John Adams, and Aaron Burr (Burr, who finally had enough of Hamilton and fatally wounded Alex in a duel).

And to top it all off folks, Hamilton wasn’t even born in America. He was born in the British West Indies.

But, if it wasn’t for Hamilton, America as we know it wouldn’t exist. Someone had to put forth other ideas and theories to build this country, and Hamilton should not be counted lightly.

Thomas Jefferson:
TJ was a force to be reckoned with too. Jefferson was a lover of the arts, a writer,  inventor, architect, and traveler. He was a graduate of the College of William and Mary and became a lawyer. He, unlike Hamilton, was a supporter of state power. He, again unlike Hamilton, supported farming and other agricultural endeavor. Later in life he founded the University of Virginia.

But did you know, Tea peeps, that he was a French sympathizer? Perhaps it was his love of wine that tipped the scale, or his hard feelings for the British. Either way, if you’re a supporter of the Founding Fathers as a whole, you need to get the facts straight.

John Jay:
The first Chief Justice of the United States, and a law scholar, John Jay was, with Hamilton, Adams and Madison, a crucial contributor to The Federalist Papers. He too was a lover of diplomacy, being sent by Congress to meet with Spain and France to discuss international matters.

Much to the dismay of Jefferson I’m sure, Jay was a fan of a centralized and balanced federal government.

James Madison:
In Madison we find another theorist and philosopher. Educated at Princeton, Madison delved into a liberal arts course of study. In The Federalist Papers, Madison explained the foundation of pluralism, favoring a large country with many parties and interests. Yet, he too wanted a limited federal government.

John Adams:
A graduate of Haaaarrrvard, Adams was a political historian, a writer and a philosopher. After graduating, this brain went into law. A second cousin of the beer-guzzling Samuel Adams (#badjoke), Johnny pioneered the seperation of powers and the benefits of the bicameral system for state and later federal government systems. Adams was a lover, not a fighter, and hence why he wasn’t a fan of Hamilton and the idea of having a large, standing army. Before being President, he served the country diplomatically, going to France and Great Britain discussing financial and territorial matters.

John Adams had his faults too. Though he and his loving wife (and 3rd cousin) Abigail abhorred slavery, he did nothing against it politically.  Also, as President, he signed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which gave the executive branch power to kick  any foreign-lovin’, American-dissentin’ person out the Union.

Conclusion
If you made it this far, you and I are of the same cloth. Meaning, you’re more than likely not a Tea Party participant. That also means you appreciate history, facts, and/or differing opinions. Which is needed. The Founding Fathers were not some homogeneous group of folks that wanted answers quickly. Yes, they wanted liberty. But they wanted carefully thought out liberty. They wanted self-government. But what “self-government” meant to each one was different.

There’s sooo much more to be said, but let’s talk about it. Because if you’re the average American reader, I already lost you.