Beginning a Career in Public Relations

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Greetings from the TPRA Conference in Austin

I just ran into my dear friend David Casey with GolinHarris at the TPRA Conference here in Austin and he reminded me I haven't written in my blog in some time so the guilt has gotten the best of me. I'm back in my room in between sessions and wanted to share with everyone the "Top 10 Communications Rules of the Road" presented with Kirk Watson, former Austin mayor. Mr. Watson was exactly on message and gave a lively and entertaining presentation from which all communications professionals can learn.

1. Throw away the labels - we're often labeled by our political affiliations, our beliefs, our jobs - just throw them away (see also #8)

2. Create the opportunity to HEAR - why do we call these meetings of the public "hearings?" No one is hearing - they all are arguing! Communications professionals must constantly communicate - our audiences have short memories, and we must listen - truly listen - to be effective.

3. You'll never meet everyone's concept of perfection, so DON'T TRY! But also, don't demand that others conform to your concept of perfection.

4. Be biased toward ACTION - there is value in failure. Ask yourself, "What can I learn from this?" Do not be afraid to try new things. Regardless of the outcome, learn from it.

5. HOPE MATTERS. Ask yourself, what is the hope I am creating with my message.

6. Have a short-term focus with a long-term vision. Live in increments of time, whether it's one year or two years, but make sure in 40 years, you've achieved your long-term vision. Always live for the "right now" and be sure to "succeed today."

7. Know your core values and core assets. Be willing to admit your weaknesses, even if only to yourself.

8. Avoid nitpickers, naysayers and know-it-all's. You can't always wait for the "better deal," regardless of what others may tell you.

9. Create new and different constituencies. Don't create unnecessary enemies - you won't agree with others 100% of the time, and vice versa.

10. Find the POWER in the situation. No matter how negative the circumstances may be, find the power in the situation.

10.5 Don't believe your own bull! If you are the only one who thinks you are right, it may be time to reevaluate your position.

The conference is great; the speakers are out of this world!


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