Posts Tagged ‘managing’


PR Industry Conferences: Connecting, Networking, Mentoring

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Like many of you, I attended the 2012 PRSA International Conference (as well as PRSSA—student conference) in San Francisco.  Since returning, I’ve been following many blog posts on what PR professionals (and students) learned and took away from the myriad sessions offered.  However, one post really struck me and I’d like to expand on it.

Shonali Burke posted to her Waxing Unlyrical blog that she believes the true value of these conferences has more to do with connecting and networking.  She says:

“The point is in collectively sharing, and participating in, and learning about, and growing our industry together.”  “The point is in relating to each other as people, and not just as ‘networkers,’ or ‘prospects’.  Because when we take the time to get to know the people behind the prospects, we learn what makes each other tick. We’re able to help each other out, even if there’s nothing in it for us.”

She goes on to say:

“And though we may not walk away with new business signed and sealed, I can guarantee you that the people we take the time to connect with – because we genuinely like and respect them, or we were just being nice – will remember us when someone asks for a referral, or has a job opening.”

I personally, met nearly 20 people in real life that I previously had only known through social media, as well as re-connected with a number of industry leaders that I only get to see that one time of year at a conference. It allows us to solicit feedback on our services related to the PR pros business—to ensure what we are offering is what they need. 

But, I’d like to go even one step further and encourage every PR pro (whether they are a PRSA member or not) to take some additional time and invest in the future of our profession by offering to mentor young pros or about-to-be pros (students).  Your practical guidance can complement their education, sharpening their focus on their career goals and helping them develop the professional and interpersonal skills they’ll need as they navigate the real-world. Students need your help, advice and friendship as they evolve into tomorrow’s public relations leaders. 

There is also the benefit of reverse mentoring. Ken Jacobs, principal at Jacobs Communications Consulting, recently talked about reverse mentoring in a BurrellesLuce webinar, “Managing, Motivating, and Leading Millennials,” which is available for download, by clicking the link. Your mentee very well may help you learn more about yourself and other generations.  They know things you may not and can teach you new job-specific skills. After all, we know that in this profession we never stop learning! Mentoring may even give your organization an edge when it comes to recruitment, as well as help making you a more effective manager.

The time to start investing in your mentoring relationships is now.  Are you ready? Please share your mentoring success stories here on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog.

PR News 2010 Media Relations Summit: Gary Wells, Dix & Eaton, interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hi, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and we’re here at the PR News Media Relations Summit. I’m joined by Gary.

Gary, will you please introduce yourself?

GARY WELLS: My name is Gary Wells. I’m the senior managing director for media relations and global communications at Dix & Eaton.

BURKE: Now, Gary, you just gave a presentation talking about how traditional media and social media is incestuous. How do you manage the media relations, knowing that?

WELLS: First, a little bit of context about why I suspect that they are so incestuous. There’s been a lot written about the fact that the news media, mainstream media, are having financial difficulties, which is true; however, it’s a bit exaggerated. The mainstream media are not going anywhere, which means in a crisis situation they’re no less important; in fact, more important than they have ever been before for a number of reasons, not the least of which is what happens in the mainstream media drives much of the commentary on blogs about a crisis or an issue when it emerges. And what happens in the blogs then drives much of the chatter on social networks, as well. So mainstream media, from that standpoint, will continue to be very important.

At the same time, what happens–and this is where the incest, so to speak, comes in–and that is that social media and blogs report on what the mainstream media says, as well. So each genre reports on what the other says and treats it as a story. That’s fine as long as it doesn’t segue into falsehoods or inaccuracies because the story is perpetuated, but in this case so are the falsehoods or the inaccuracies, as well. In that situation, you have to move very quickly to monitor what’s being said about you not only in the mainstream media, but also in blogs and social media, and correct any inaccuracies as quickly as possible.

BURKE: Gary, thank you so much. I think those are incredibly valuable messages for media relations professionals and PR professionals at all times.

WELLS: My pleasure.

BURKE: Can you tell us where people can find you in social media or online?

WELLS: Sure. Probably the best place is to start with our website. It’s www.dix-eaton.com, and also the same address for Twitter.

BURKE: Thank you so much.

WELLS: Thanks.

Managing Media Interviews

Friday, October 8th, 2010

InterviewLast week, I had the pleasure of joining Southwest Missouri PRSA for their annual professional development day.  The great lineup of speakers included retired Lt. Col. Joseph V. Trahan III, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA.  “Doc Joe,” a self-described Cajun, has conducted hundreds of media training classes over his 30+ years for government agencies, law enforcement, higher education and non-profits.  His background is so extensive that if I went further, it could easily take up more space than this post itself!

Keeping in mind that his seminars are typically 1-2 days, what follows is only a handful of “key” takeaways.

The three C’s of media relations…
According to Doc Joe, the three “C’s” of media relations, especially when responding to the media, are:

  • Control: He says, “If you put a microphone in my face, it’s MINE!”
  • Competence: Clear, honest, simple information. No speculation.
  • Concern: For example,“Mayor Giuliani showed concern on 9/11. For a brief shining moment we were all New Yorkers.”

For any media interview, you must be prepared. No excuses.
Research the reporter’s questions, your own questions, and breakdown the elements of the news. “Be the devil’s advocate,” says Doc Joe, when thinking about what questions may be asked and how the media may respond.  He advises to spend one hour of prep time for every minute of air time. If it’s a 3-7 minute standup, that means up to seven hours of prep time. When developing your responses, be sure to use “command messages” (aka talking points), statements/info that you work into responses that explain position, and be consistent with them.  He also provided 10 examples of “bridging” connector phrases

Take advantage of the off-camera time to meet and greet.
Correct any misinformation.  Provide a starting point (hook).  Be sure to explain any restrictions.  Doc Joe calls these SAPP:

  • Security
  • Accuracy
  • Propriety
  • Policy

 Ready for the Interview? 
Open with a 24-40 second summary – who, what, when, where and what we’re doing about it. Listen, pause, think, then talk, when responding to media. And never repeat a negative question. Remember:

  • Each statement you make should be able to stand alone.
  • “Listen for understanding and comprehension, not to await your turn to speak.” (One of my key takeaways here.)
  • Tell the truth and stick to the facts. Talk only about what you know. 

“Know your audience; visualize them; the reporter is a channel to the audience” ~Dr. Joe Trahan

Non-verbal cues during the interview are extremely important also.  So, look at the reporter, not the camera. Remain calm, but if you “choke,” ask to try it again (if it’s not a live interview, of course).  Credibility and believability are critical for the interview to be a success.

Post-Interview Best Practices
Doc Joe says, after the interview, it’s okay to ask when it will air, but avoid asking for copies – you can get it later from the station or from you media monitoring service.  The only real reason to get back to the reporter is if you owe him answers or if he has bona fide accuracy issues.

How do you manage your media interviews? Do you agree with these points? What would you add? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.