Communicating 360

Communicating 360

My daughter, Michelle, is taking a university class in public relations and as part of the class she was asked to interview 3 people about their perceptions of this field.

So she posed some questions to me and here is how the interview went:

1. In your own opinion, what is public relations? Why do you think of public relations this way?

Public relations is simple, it’s about relations with the public–communicating and connecting with people about what you do, why you do it, how you do it, for whom you do it, when you do it, and where you do it. It is includes marketing and sales, customer relations, investor relations, government relations, relations with partners, as well as crisis communications, and maybe even recruiting talent to the organization.

2. What do you think of when you think of public relations? Why do you think of this/these?

When I think of public relations, I tend to think of many of the big, well-known brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, Allstate, and so on–they do a lot of advertising and communicating with the public. They invest in this and it has a pay-off in terms of organization, product, and brand recognition.

3. What do you think the skills are that are needed to work in public relations?

Creativity, visual thinking, messaging, branding, marketing, sales, and psychology.

4. Would you distinguish public relations from marketing? If so, how?

Public relations, to me, is broader than marketing. Marketing has to do with getting product awareness out there and selling, but public relations involves not only connecting with customers, but also investors, suppliers, partners, even the government, and international players.

5. Can you give examples of what you think public relations is today?

Public relations is how an organization interfaces and communicates with all its stakeholders. It is mainly external or outward facing and differs from internal communications which is inward facing, like talking with employees. Public relations uses advertising, media, commercials, messaging, branding, logos, newsletters, mailings, to get the word out from the organization’s perspective–good news and also countering bad news.

So how did this “IT guy” do with answering questions about public relations?

Not my field, but maybe the MBA and private-sector experience helped, a little. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Dress for Success?

Footsies_on_the_train

This picture is from the train home from work this week.

This lady took the opportunity to literally sprawl herself out on the train.

She had a rolling briefcase with the arm fully extended.

To which she casually hung her jacket with the collar sloppily up.

She slumped up in the seat, and then took off her shoe and put her foot up on the briefcase.

Then she began curling her toes–back and forth–while she listened to her iPod or iPhone (not sure which it was).

Later she threw her handbag under her seat behind her shoe.

Must’ve been a tough day for her or is this just her way?

I remember learning from my early days in MBA school that you should always dress at least one level up (or more)–i.e. make yourself look the the part of the job you really want.

If you see yourself in that position and can make others see you in that role too then eventually you’ll be the guy or gal!

I’ve seen people dress up and down in the office–of course, the ones that spend the money and take the time and effort to dress for success, look pretty impressive.

At the same time, the clothing and accessories, while they may help the person look put together–sometimes are nothing more than “lipstick on a pig”–the clothes disguise the true person–and they are not very impressive on the inside.

I’ve heard some successful people in town preach that how you dress is absolutely critical and they chide others for not straightening their belt and shining their shoes.

This past week, I heard the opposite from someone who said he looks at people in the hot summer weather, and if they are dressed in a “coat and tie,” then he writes them off, since they don’t have even the basic common sense to dress for the season.  This guy, while himself a boss, was literally in a t-shirt in the office!

I personally always sort of liked the Silicon Valley–high-tech dress code–like Steve Jobs–a black tee (or turtle–too hot for me) with jeans and maybe a relaxed sports coat–comfortable and freeing yet sort of casually-classy.

While some people say that the dress makes the person, I think that what is inside is what really counts–although talking off your shoes on train is not going to win you any promotions or brownie points, for sure. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)