This Too Shall Pass

While rousing the Sleeping Beauty so she wouldn’t be late for school, I noticed a phrase posted on one of her bulletin boards. It was the common motivational refrain “this too shall pass.” For a 16-year old high school junior, these words help keep her young life in perspective and encourage her to embrace the idea of a non-teen drama filled life to come. As I walked away, I began to frame them in a public relations and professional communications mindset.

We are the gatekeepers for our organizations’ messaging and public perception. It is important that we maintain perspective while working in the present and keeping an eye on the future. Change is constant in the business and professional worlds, regardless of industry. “This too shall pass,” applies to both the good and the bad and we should prepare for such.Continue reading

Under the Radar or Off the Radar?

In a recent consultation with an organization about their public relations goals and strategies, a common point of contention reared its head. A certain faction of the leadership group preferred to remain “under the radar” and saw public relations as simply a reactionary tool for times of crisis. Other members of the team expressed a desire to see more positive and proactive efforts, to educate the public and garner recognition.

I offered that if done properly with appropriate commitment and focus, the latter option can prove beneficial and create value for the organization. Too often, “under the radar” can turn into “off the radar” which may create more problems than you think you are avoiding.Continue reading

My Supportive Valentine

Not too long ago while preparing for a corporate event to celebrate charitable donations to a number of local non-profits, my team discussed refreshments and the idea of custom cookies. Unfortunately, due to budgets and deadlines, we could not secure a vendor for the cookies. Not wanting to abandon the idea of a signature treat for the event, I spent a Sunday afternoon baking cookies and watching football. By all accounts, they were a popular addition to the reception.

Usually, I offer this anecdote as an example of my willingness to go above and beyond as a team player. But I’m sharing this story today in recognition of Valentine’s Day, because at my side during the baking and icing of those six dozen cookies was my wife. She most certainly was not a fellow employee of the company, would not be attending the event, and stood nothing to gain by preparing the treats. Rather, she was supporting her husband and his professional aspirations.Continue reading

Comunicarse con la Gente

Estoy orgulloso de la mayoría de mi CV, pero hay algo que es muy especial para mí: donde dice “Comunicador Bilingüe.” Como comunicador profesional, al poder compartir con otros en su idioma propio es algo importante.

Sé que hay muchas profesionales que pueden hablar otros idiomas, especialmente aquí en una ciudad tan grande como Houston. Pero para mí, llegue a hablar español como la resulta de estudios de personas y vidas, no sólo clases y libros. Y estas lecciones me ensenaron más que palabras, me ensenaron cómo compartir y comunicar.Continue reading

Celebrating Accomplishments

I’ve discussed before that I am going through an “Off-season,” professionally-speaking. During this time, I’ve focused on sharpening my abilities, learning new skills and developing traits that will make me an excellent addition to my next team.

But my self-improvement exercises are not all focused on my chosen profession. In fact, some of the work that I’ve done includes actual exercise. I am a firm believer (as are others) that physical wellness can impact professional performance. Someone who battles health challenges cannot always dedicate attention and passion to his/her work product. And to the flip-side, someone who is physically active and feels healthy and strong brings confidence and a clear mind to the work table.Continue reading

Kindness 101

I came across this opinion piece from David Brooks at the New York Times. Though I frequently wonder if I live/work/exist in a “New York Times type of universe,” this column had some great points that are encouraging and adaptable.

Normally I wouldn’t create a post that is a review of something someone else wrote, but Brooks cites his inspirations for the piece, so essentially this is continuing a chain of insight. But please, read the entire article here: “Kindness Is a Skill

I want to highlight a few of the “tips on how we can be less beastly to one another.” They can be great tools in a communicator’s toolbox, as well as good suggestions for human beings interacting with other human beings.Continue reading

In the Spirit of Dr. King

Yesterday our country celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a great thinker, orator, teacher and human being. Social media was flooded with his words on equality, humanity, goodness and progress. While it is unfortunate that we still need to hear many of those words today, we are very fortunate to have them to recall.

In consideration of yesterday’s spirit and theme, it is apropos that I came across another quote this morning. From a more well-known, published and recognized Jeff DeGraff (jeffdegraff.com):

“We exist in relation to other people, and so, if we want a full understanding of how we function in our worlds, we need to learn things about everyone else—from the people we love most to the people we clash with.”

Continue reading

My Time in a North Louisiana Prison

Early in my career, I found myself conducting a public meeting in a community resource room on the grounds of a rural state prison in north Louisiana. Why there? Well, I was helping to present the latest update to the state’s hunting and fishing regulations and rural north Louisiana was home to a large part of our target audience. And as a state agency, we found the rental rate (free) for a large size community room at penitentiary well within our budget.

It was there I learned a valuable lesson in communicating and public relations: sometimes it’s best to literally take your message to your audience, wherever that may be.Continue reading

The Squeak Toy Balance

Our dog Winston is a one-year-old, 15-pound spectacular blend of “Who Knows” and “No Clue” breeds. He has a two-position throttle: 100 mph or asleep; and he can seamlessly transition from one to the other.

Winston’s current favorite toy is a green and red rubber ball that squeaks. Given its obnoxious sound, this ball will occasionally go “missing” for periods of time, but when he can find it, he loves it. He will play fetch with it, attacking it with the ferociousness of whatever his ancestors were (wolves, foxes, goats, overgrown nutria – we’re not sure). But his favorite game is to bite it and make it squeak. He will sit for minutes at a time pulsating it in his mouth, making the grating sound nearly rhythmic.

As I watched him during one such “musical” session, two thoughts came to mind:Continue reading

Flipping the Calendar

The last day(s) of the year are surprisingly consistent. Someone will have told me “See you next year!” (usually with finger guns); I will read lists of the best books/songs/movies of the year and recognize very few of them; and I will have just started writing the correct date on paperwork.

And of course, there will be discussions of “new year’s resolutions.” This constant is rivaled only by what is found in March when we’ve all collectively forgotten about our resolutions.

It is unfortunate to hear about so many resolutions that focus on fixing something that is wrong. “I resolve to lose more weight,” or “I resolve to get out of debt,” or “I resolve to be nicer to people.” It seems so counterproductive to begin your new year by focusing on what was wrong with the previous year.Continue reading