There are PR tasks I’ve grown comfortable with over the years: Responding to the media. Writing talking points. Performing communications research.
But taking a new job has highlighted areas out of my comfort zone –in abundance. The temptation is to shy away, to wait …. until I’m more comfortable? Until I learn more? Until….?
When I was a new PR professional, I was intimidated by the thought of media coaching. That feeling lasted until I needed to create a media spokesperson program.
After creating the program, I began regularly coaching leaders on media interviewing. Five years later, I presented on that spokesperson training program at a national workshop. Over a decade later, I can’t tell you how many of these leaders still bring up this training program when we meet.
What happened? The wisdom of this quote manifested: “Always do what you are afraid to do,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The change didn’t happen overnight, but the transformation reminds me that the best way to get over my fear of doing something is to just do it. Do it smartly, for sure—perform research, find best practices, learn from others. But do it, nonetheless.
This column is as much a pep talk for me as it is for you. And it wouldn’t be a column without a few questions: In what area would you like to gain confidence? And how can you make it happen?
The challenge is out there, for you.
“If we take that small step, there’s always another we can take, and eventually a goal thought to be too far to reach becomes achievable.” – Ellen Langer
- Angela Brumm, PRSA Northeast Wisconsin Chapter President
Networking can be one of the most powerful tools you can use to launch and manage your career. In addition, these relationships are a great resource day to day as you navigate our complex public relations world. Having the right network of people provides valuable information, guides you in the right direction, and opens up new opportunities.
So don't miss our lunchtime speed networking event at The Marq on Tuesday, July 18 (11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.)! You'll get to know (or catch up with) some of our local news and media professionals in northeast Wisconsin, including: Ed Berthiaume, Appleton Post Crescent; Robert Hornacek, WLUK-TV; Lisa Malak, WFRV-TV; and Larry Desch, The Business News. Each professional will rotate between five tables sharing their experiences and answering your questions.
But the clock is ticking! Register now to take advantage of the early-bird pricing!
$25.00 PRSA Member
$30.00 after 7 p.m. on July 13
$40.00 after 07 p.m. on July 13
$15.00 Full-Time Student
$20.00 after 07 p.m. on July 13
The countdown to the Super Bowl is on. No, not the NFL's big dance--the Super Bowl of our profession (better known as PRSA's International Conference!) is just four months away. This year's event is taking place in Boston from October 8-10!
If you've always wanted to attend PRSA's premier event but haven't been able to swing the cost or time away, this may be your year. For the first time ever, PRSA Northeast Wisconsin will be awarding a $1,000 grant to a member of our chapter who attends this conference. The funds will be in the form of reimbursement for most of the conference registration cost, which is $1,295 for those who register before Aug. 25.
The application takes less than two minutes to complete and is available now through August 15, 2017. The winner will be chosen and notified by Aug. 18, which will leave you plenty of time to register at the early bird rate.
If this is the year you can invest some time, energy and a bit of money into your professional growth by attending this highly regarded conference, don't wait - apply today at http://bit.ly/PRSANEW17!
Zen and the Art of PR Maintenance
Robert Pirsig, author, professor, philosopher and one of my early folk heroes, passed away last April. I discovered him through his book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (1974). In it, he combined three of my keenest interests: writing, philosophy and motorcycling.
Pirsig cautioned readers that the book is more about motorcycle maintenance than Zen Buddhism. Likewise, I should caution you that this piece is about neither. Even so, I hope it, like the book, gives your brain something to chew on.
When Pirsig died, I reflected on that book and what I have drawn from it over the years (yes, I read it when originally published; I'm old.). Many people much smarter than I have reflected on Pirsig's work and drawn their own lessons. I settled on one of the central messages of the book: the quality of a person's work speaks volumes about what that person values.
In Zen, the narrator is so aware of the way his motorcycle is running as he travels across the country, he is sensitive to the subtlest changes in its performance. He knows how things are connected to each other and how they work together to keep the motorcycle running its best. He bemoans his traveling companion's lack of mechanical knowledge and his seeming inability to find pleasure in doing even the simplest task well. In Pirsig's view, individuals should know enough about their work/responsibilities to do the best job possible, to produce results of the highest possible quality, knowing that a job done well is its own reward.
"So, what does that have to do with PR?" you ask. Fair enough. Here's my take: We, as practitioners, usually know a great deal about the "how" of our work, especially as we follow the four-step public relations process, but do we know as much about the "why" behind it?
This is where the PRSA Code of Ethics can guide us, I believe. A deep understanding of our six values – Advocacy, Honesty, Expertise, Independence, Loyalty and Fairness – and the six Code provisions – Free Flow of Information, Competition, Disclosure of Information, Safeguarding Confidences, Conflicts of Interest and Enhancing the Profession – gives us a solid foundation when deciding why we should or should not take a specific action. This understanding helps us tune in to the subtleties of our profession in ways others may not, and enables us to do our finest work; to produce results of the highest possible quality.
There are many ethics case studies available online to help us understand how others have applied the Code in specific situation. If you face ethics-related questions about communications in your own work, check out the PRSA Code of Ethics, drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) or email the PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards.
- Jim Streed, PRSA Northeast Wisconsin Chapter Ethics Chair
Meet new PRSA Northeast Wisconsin Chapter member Jen Rogers!
1) Where do you work? What is the role in your organization?
I am the Communications and PR Manager at the Door County Visitor Bureau (DCVB).
2) Please share some of your education/employment background.
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2009 with a B.A. in Communication with emphases in Public Relations and Electronic Media and minors in Graphic Communication and Corporate Communication. I had an unusual start to my career as I worked with children and in retail before starting at the DCVB last year.
3) Describe your typical day.
I remember writing a paper in college about my dream job, and I’m living it. I grew up in Door County, and I love helping promote this beautiful destination to the world. Every day is different from writing press releases, managing our online media library, working with journalists on information and image needs, and helping coordinate press trips.
4) What do you hope to get out of PRSA?
I’m excited to look more into the travel and tourism section of PRSA and hope to attend the conference next year.
5) Any hobbies?
I love traveling, watching the Packers, motorcycling with my husband, and catching local music and theater.
Congratulations to those in our PRSA Northeast WI chapter who are celebrating membership anniversaries in July!
Marilyn Bazett-Jones, WEC Energy Group - 15 years
Dana Bzdawka, Bellin Health - 8 years
Cindy Durand, Nsight/Cellcom - 9 years
Erik Koenig - 12 years
Danielle Scidmore, Red Shoes PR - 1 year