What I Learned About Communication from My Blue-collar Family

blue-collar workers

I didn’t have to wait until I started going to school to learn how to communicate effectively. That started from the day I was born, trying to make myself heard in a big Irish Catholic, blue-collar family in Pittsburgh. If you had something to say, no one was politely waiting for you to say it. You just had to say it, quick, sometimes loud, simply and clearly.… Read the rest

Why PR Agencies Do the Bait-and-Switch

bait and switch

Anyone who’s ever hired a PR firm of any size is familiar with the common practice of “bait and switch.” This is where you meet with the senior agency staff numerous times during the courtship phase of the relationship. You’re impressed by the PR agency’s commitment to your business by having its best and most experienced people invest so much time in getting to know you and all of the communications challenges you face.… Read the rest

Media Relations: How Not to Screw Up a Podcast Interview

podcast mic

Over the past four years, I’ve conducted over 225 interviews for my podcast called Shaping Opinion, and prior that, I’ve spent decades handling media relations, conducting media coaching and training and working with clients on the full range of public relations activities. After all of that, I can honestly say, the public relations profession is dropping the ball on podcast interviewing.… Read the rest

Media Relations: Nothing is Off the Record

off the record PR

I can’t say I’m surprised PR people still think some things can be off the record when talking to reporters. Still, the whole issue of “off the record” is a mine field. Any PR person who continues to think there is such a thing as an off-the-record comment to reporter is simply lucky enough to have not stepped on that landmine … yet.… Read the rest

Gen X: Challenging the PR Field’s Sacred Cows

sacred cows in PR

The term, “sacred cow” is a common metaphor to mean something that is “often unreasonably immune from criticism or opposition.” Its origins in everyday English usage can be traced back to the early 20th Century, when linguists observed how the Hindus venerated the cow.

The PR field has its share of sacred cows, which are theories, practices and concepts that until now have been unchallengeable.… Read the rest

Top Five Podcasts for PR People When They’re Off the Clock

Top Podcasts

If you’re in PR and you love podcasts, there’s a good chance you listen to The Daily from the New York Times or This American Life from NPR. With this in mind, I’m not going to include them on this list of the Top Five Podcasts for PR People When They’re Off the Clock.

I’m going to recommend some that I think are worth your while but which are not business-related.… Read the rest

Media Relations: Avoid Square-Peg-Round-Hole Syndrome

media relations strategy

If you’ve had anything to do, even remotely, with the public relations function you’ve seen this. You may have even been a part of it, but it’s not your fault. It’s bigger than you…way bigger.

It’s called square-peg-round-hold syndrome after the famous psychological experiment where the subject is given a square wooden peg and asked to insert it into a round hole.… Read the rest

Crisis Communications: Preparing for “What’s Next?”

crisis planning - what's next

Once a crisis starts, the question that’s top-of-mind throughout is, “What’s next?” Sometimes, the answer is obvious, but oftentimes it’s anyone’s guess. In every case, however, the answer is the most critical piece of data you need.

By this point, you know what’s happened. You may have a good idea of how it happened and why it happened.… Read the rest