10 Deadly Sins Against Positive PR Perception
How Are You Perceived?
Public relations helps to shape and cultivate how others perceive you. But before you can focus your ‘public relations’ on others you need to shape and cultivate your story for yourself and be able to tell it effectively. That means you need to envision ‘yourself’ clearly. Then, and only then, can you place it before others.
Since public relations shapes ‘perception’ (which covers a lot of ground — way beyond writing the better press release) — we have several suggestions on how to start building your own best perception of yourself. Later come the press releases and media interviews.
To help your journey towards being more effective at your public relations, we’ve prepared this list of Ten Deadly Sins of Positive PR Projection (what we see too many out there doing that are less than helpful). These things stand in your way of getting noticed – or they get you noticed, but in a less than positive way. In the end, they are a turn-off to all … media included.
- The ‘little voice’ stylist … They are shy and speak in a ‘small’ and un-authoritative voice. They don’t project. They often don’t smile enough. They’re wonderful people and you like them a lot, but it’s not likely you’re going to follow them anywhere. (The cure? Look into Toastmasters or the many other organizations that help make you more effective in front of a group. You need to practice making an impression. It is a learned skill and very few come to it naturally.)
- The ‘critical’ stylist … You know them well. They are often publicly critical of others who are successful or in positions of authority. They would rather tear someone or something down than find the positives and focus on those. (Cure: Start complimenting others and their successes. Be supportive of their achievements publicly. And while you are at it, start copying what they are doing right).
- The ‘all about me’ stylist … They’re the ones who don’t know how to ask questions of their conversation-mates. If they do ask a question, it’s really only to open the door for them to tell you their answer to that same question. If you tested them on what you said first, they’d fail. (Cure: Get out of talking about yourself and get into setting the stage for others to talk. Pretend you are a media interviewer conducting an interview to learn more about the person you are interviewing. You’ll be amazed at the results)
- The ‘all talk’ stylist … They talk about what they are going to do and never do it. The photo shoot they never schedule, the class they never take, the places they never go. A real credibility loser. The result: you speak and people mentally say to themselves … ‘yeah, right. (Cure: Easy. Don’t do that. Do what you say you are going to do – duh!)
- The ‘overnight success’ stylist … Given new-found PR success or notoriety and they develop a false sense of importance and expectation. They start believing their own press. (Cure: Stand in the shoes of the industry’s ‘real’ greats. Do just one, or some of the things they’ve done. All of us in the industry would rather work with someone without attitude. Lose the attitude).
- The ‘stay-at-home’ stylist … You can’t be interesting to your clients or editors if you never go somewhere different and do something unusual. People like to listen to the experiences of, and knowledge gained by, those who have been places they have not. (Cure: Get out of the neighborhood! Go to the collections in Europe or New York. Go to industry events in faraway places. Take classes with industry ‘greats’. Learn new stuff. You’ll have a heck of a lot more to talk about.
- The ‘lost in the sauce’ stylist … They blend in, work quietly, and don’t have much to say. They come and go without making a ripple. (Cure: See all of the cures above).
- The ‘Oh, I forgot my cards’ stylist … There’s nothing more important than networking to your PR progress and your pocketbook. Lightening often strikes when you least expect it. Your business cards are your link to someone being able to follow-up with you? Scrawled names and numbers on scrap paper don’t cut it. (Cure: DON’T LEAVE HOME WITH YOUR BUSINESS CARDS!)
- The ‘clueless to social media’ stylist … Social media is not just fun, it is serious communication. It is a way to reach and connect with your clients and your industry friends. Learn how to use it. It will grow your network, bring your clients closer to you, and put money in your pocket. (Cure: Start by digging around this blog for some of the helpful posts of the past. Follow the posts of these blogs: Problogger, Seth Godin, Skillfoo, Twitip (Twitter).
- The ‘let George do it’ stylist … One sure-fire way to gain more recognition in the industry and in your own neighborhood/community is by getting involved in something greater than yourself. It’s called volunteerism. (Cure: Get involved in charitable volunteer work. It’s great for PR but even better for you and your friends and fellow staffers. Make it more than the usual ‘ho-hum, humdrum’ one-time cut-a-thon. Find out what’s important to your clients; ask your staff what’s important to them.)
Well, there you have it. What not to do.