Menu Close

Paying Attention to the News

In public relations, it’s important to pay attention to the news as it pertains to your business. Although you don’t need to respond to the majority of news stories, when a topic gets hot, it’s worth asking yourself, “Should my organization take a position on this? Do we have policies that protect us from being swept up in the public frenzy? Can we provide leadership?”

Read more

The Art and Science of Survey Writing

When I ask clients about the tools and methods they use to communicate, they typically share all the ways they broadcast their messages, forgetting that communication should go two ways. When I ask about the tools they use to listen, gather feedback, or measure opinions, I am sometimes met with blank stares.

Ideally, communication is a constant give and take. Most organizations have several important stakeholders: internal ones like employees and board members, and external ones like clients and industry partners. Even if you think you have your finger on the pulse and know where these stakeholders stand, it’s wise to schedule consistent check-ins. First, this allows you to confirm you do, in fact, understand how your stakeholders feel about issues that affect your decision-making; and second, asking stakeholders for their input lets them know you value their opinions.

Surveys can be a great way to gather information, but not all surveys are created equal. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your survey.

Read more

How to Thank Your Clients So They Keep Coming Back

Sometimes we miss the easy things. In our mad dash to find new customers, we forget to appreciate the ones we have. When I’m working with new clients who want to grow their businesses, one of the first exercises I do is to make concentric circles of all the people they should communicate with on a regular basis. Think of this as the dartboard of communication, with a big, red bullseye in the middle.

Oddly enough, the two groups who belong in the bullseye often get left out when I ask, “Who are your target audiences?”

Read more

The Magical Power of Thank You Notes in the Workplace

What if you could spend just ten minutes a day on an activity that was guaranteed to lift your mood, as well as improve the mood, productivity, and loyalty of those you work with? Probably worth it, right?

When I was the communications director at a hospital, the hospital had a contract with the Studer Group, an organization that helps healthcare organizations continually improve, clinically and financially. One of the Studer Group’s many directives required executives and directors to send thank you notes to workmates and employees—not once in a while to recognize exceptional behavior, but weekly or even daily to let people know how much we appreciated both the big things and the little things they did.

My boss provided grids so we could record how often we sent thank you notes and to whom. I felt like Big Brother was watching me and, honestly, I was a little resentful that I had to report my thank you note completion rate to the CEO. But, since I wanted to remain employed, I got with the program. I bought personalized thank you cards and started to look for people who needed thanking.

And that’s when the magic started.

Read more

Commit to Something–Change Will Follow

Many of us are fascinated by stories of people who came back from terrible injuries to accomplish incredible physical feats or who lost more than 100 pounds and kept the weight off. How do they do that?!

During the month of October, I’ve focused on the theme of transformation, looking at how sustainable change takes hold. People are motivated by different things, but it seems clear that a big part of lasting change is simply making a firm commitment to take that first step, however small.

Read more

Want to Make Real Progress? Build on Your Strengths.

Many successful people continually strive to improve. They ask themselves (and others), “What can I do better? How can I get stronger? What’s the best way to out-perform my opponents? How can I achieve more?”

These are useful questions to be sure, but too often the answers focus on improving weaknesses rather than capitalizing on strengths. If you’re an extrovert, you’re going to have a hard time enjoying uninterrupted quiet time more than your introverted colleagues. If you’re a big-picture person, you probably won’t become the most detail-oriented person in your company. Or as one of my more creative friends suggested, “You don’t want to race a goat up a mountain if you’re a fish.”

Read more

Want a Few More Hours in the Day?

How many times have you thought, “If only I had a few more hours in the day, I could get all this work done.”? I hear you. As I think about all the competing responsibilities vying for my time and attention, I have a hard time figuring out how to fit it all in.

So, what if we refused to fit it all in? What if we simply crossed a few things off the list?

I know this sounds radical, but stay with me for a moment. Imagine an alternative to your current stressed-out, guilt-ridden state of being. What if you made two lists–the things you must do to keep you and your family breathing, and the things you’ve committed to do (for one reason or another)?

Read more

Forming Habits to Achieve Your Goals

As the weather turns colder and students return to school, many people welcome the familiarity of routine after the comparative chaos of summer. This got me thinking about the value of routines and of forming habits that help us achieve our goals. Big goals can seem daunting, but if we can get into habits that help us tackle them a little bit at a time, we can achieve great things.

So, how long does it take to form a habit?

Read more

Five Tips on Formality in Business Communication

In decades past, polite society was full of rules about how to behave. While many of us are happy to say, “Good riddance!” to the stilted formality that once permeated people’s daily lives, the lack of clarity around etiquette these days can leave us wondering just how formal we should be, especially in unfamiliar business settings. At Google, people wear jeans to work and sleep in nap pods during their breaks. At many law firms, even the most junior associates where business suits and no one is napping. So how formal should you be?

When it comes to business communication, here are some tips. Read more

Keep Advertising Copy Short and Focus on Solving Problems

Advertising copy must be compelling enough to inspire people to act, but not so annoying that it turns them off. It’s a delicate balance. (In case you’re unfamiliar with the term “copy,” it refers to the main text of an advertisement.)

The first rule of advertising is to make sure you know who you’re trying to reach. The second rule is to make sure you leave no doubt as to how you solve their problem.

In an era when attention spans are short and distractions are ever-present, it’s challenging to write a headline that engages people enough to keep them reading through to the fine print. That’s why it’s so important to write with your audience’s perspective in mind.  Read more