Keeping Things Positive

better sizedOn Tuesday I had the opportunity to attend a panel hosted by Pennsylvania Bio. The panel was lead by public relations and communications professionals who are experts on maintaining a positive image, even when the industry that they work in is under public scrutiny or criticism. The panelists gave great advice on how to be the most efficient communicator possible. I took away six key pointers from the event:
  1.  Define yourself before your opponent does. Competitors may try to move themselves ahead by either bringing down your company or client or by communicating that they are better. Defining yourself early will allow the opportunity for the public to see your company or client for what they truly are, without being marred early on by competition.
  2. Don’t get complacent or lazy. I have learned that in this profession there are often busy times and idle times. When things are looking steady and positive for your company or client it can be easy to lie back and bask in a good image. However, this isn’t the time to get lazy. Constant communication helps to keep the positivity flowing. Also, idle time gives a communications professional the perfect opportunity to plan ahead. This planning could include innovative strategy or crisis communication plans for the unexpected.
  3.  “You are only as strong as your weakest link.” It is usually a great idea to have an expert or respected figure speak on behalf of your company or client. It allows for more transparency between you and the public. However, it is extremely important that the person you choose to speak on behalf of your company or client is both media trained and has a positive public image. Picking the wrong person to communicate a message can have detrimental effects.
  4. Engage in communications early. You shouldn’t wait until something good or bad happens to communicate with the public.  Open dialogue should occur 24/7. Keeping the public up to date with what is going on with your company or client will make the public more excited when there is good news, and more understanding during bad.
  5. Talk to people. With all of the technology available, it is very easy to hide behind a desk and shoot out emails all day long. Email and social media can sometimes take the place of personal interaction. As a millennial, I know my generation has been criticized by other generations for being incapable of face-to-face interaction. Therefore, it is important to make the effort to pick up that phone or communicate face-to-face. It can make all the difference when establishing professional networks and relationships.
  6. Be excited about what you do. If you aren’t excited about the messages that you are delivering, why should anyone else be? When speaking to the press or public, let them know how much you believe in your company or client. Bright eyes and a positive tone can be contagious!
Some of these pointers may seem obvious – yet they can be easy to forget. The biggest thing I took away from this event is to always be proactive, strategic, and engaging. By giving your 110% and being enthusiastic, you will be the best communications professional possible.
-Ashleen McDonough
Bravo Group’s Wayne Intern
Photo courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art 

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