While 70 percent of the world’s population does not have internet, a good 30 percent are surfing right now from their tablets, smartphones and laptops. The importance of knowing these figures is to understand how fast information can travel for about 30 percent of the world’s 6.9 billion people. But chances are if you are reading this, you’re among the 30 percent.
Public Relations is a vital part of business and government. Nations that seem to gleam on the world scene are usually those who have mastered the art of public relations; or invest heavily in public relations and outreach. Image really does matter as well as “spin.” However, as a public relations and communications professional, I see many instances where individuals could use great public relations too. However, I doubt Jerome at the barber shop or Cynthia who works in the Small Claims department will take the time to hire a PR professional to help them advance their career or navigate a bumpy patch in their life. So here are a few tips to help! Share this article with friends and family, it might help them to get the advice of a PR professional to help them navigate our increasingly digital and connected world.
Tip # 1: Be Nice
Too often I see people in the name of “keeping it real” or “just being honest” create a legion of enemies and detractors at their place of work, school or faith. They tell people their unsolicited (and sometimes solicited) negative opinion about people, situations and entities. No, no, no. Group settings in which you have a personal stake (i.e. work, faith or school) should never be the place to share blunt negative information. Even if you think the information is confidential, the fact that you are in a group setting by nature indicates that the info will move! Groups are networks, treat them like that. Even if you do have a negative opinion about something, try to give constructive advice about it instead of criticism. Save yourself, most people cannot “handle the truth.” Save that for family, significant others and really, really close friends. But, be nice in groups–besides, no one really needs to know that you don’t like their shoes.
Tip #2: Shut Up
PR agents cringe whenever they see a sports star, politician or celebrity ad lib interview questions with the media. In PR, an agent will give his/her client talking points to keep them on task, and prevent them from being led off into tangential subjects by the interviewer or media professional. These points help direct the flow of ideas so that the conversation doesn’t wade into controversial topics that could damage the image of the client or the company for which the celebrity works. Should you have talking points in life? No, maybe not. But you should have “Shut up points.” It’s a great way to regulate the flow of conversations at work, school, clubs or places of worship. You’ve heard the old eupemism, don’t talk about politics or religion–and that remains true (unless you are at your place of worship). However, I would add to that, don’t talk about your relationships, finances or medical history. Remember, talking drums up both interest and disdain. Just because you’re having a fight with your sweetie this week, doesn’t mean it will be the same next week–but you’ve already poisoned the water. Or perhaps you shared that you had respiratory problems and went into detail about your issues– now everyone thinks you have tuberculosis. Keep the personal, personal.
Tip #3: Social Media is NOT private
In recent times we’ve seen a litany of celebrities, politicians and others make a scene on social media. The trouble with social media, is that it is a highly connected medium. That is kind of the point of it–sharing. So if you post a rant, suggestive photo or crude joke, it has the capacity to not only take wing, but fly at the speed of light right into the timeline or inbox of the most important person in your life. No matter how private, remember, social media is never truly private. So watch what you share. Determine a standard of quality.
Get the Next 3 Tips Next week! We will discuss PR for personal scandals and love relationships! If you would like advice on navigating public relations in your career, business, faith organization or nonprofit. Please leave a message in the contact form below.