Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

TreesIt is time to turn your corporate work brain off.

It is time to rest.

We’ll be taking our blog silent until January 5, 2015. But before we go, you deserve a special thank you. Your loyalty, support and readership over these many years is constantly appreciated.

Many of you have grown from being colleagues in a professional organization, to being clients, to being great personal friends. That’s really cool.

I feel so blessed that I get to serve you by doing the things that come natural to me. This day marks 21 years since I left television news and embarked on this journey with you. You’ve paved the road for me and for that I am most grateful.

At the end of every year, many public relations people tell me they feel undervalued in their professional careers. For example, many who hoped to do media training or write a crisis communications plan were told, “No, it is too expensive,” or, “We don’t have budget for that.” This negative response is also true for many of your other strategic communication and brand goals.

Rest your mind and put those negative thoughts out of your head for the next few days. We’ll revisit your goals in January.

For now, focus on spending time with your family. Focus on giving love, joy or gifts to all, whether they are best friends or complete strangers.

Please take time to experience the joy of the season.

By Gerard Braud


Scroogenomics and the Company Christmas Party

scroogeIn this joyous time of the year, have you noticed how grumpy some people are about their company Christmas party?

Well, have you heard of Scroogenomics? And does it apply to your company Christmas party?

Do you hear these things where you work?

Our party is so lame.

I wish I didn’t have to go to the company party, but I feel like I have to.

My boss is a jerk and I hate that I have to pretend I like him/her at the party.

Scroogenomics is essentially the theory that every Christmas billions of dollars are spent on obligatory actions or gifts that are unappreciated by the receiver. The theory goes on to say that those billions could be better used in ways that have greater value or which are appreciated more.

If your company party brings out more grumpiness than happiness, why not suggest a change next year. Why not convert the party to a toy drive and toy give away party.

The average cost per person for a Christmas party, including food, booze and venue, is about $125 per person. Multiply that by the number of employees at your company and the dollars add up quickly.

Is your company spending $125 per person to fund grumpiness?

Could it be used to fund happiness and unity?

What can you do to make a difference next year?

By Gerard Braud





3 Ways to Refocus for Fall and Beyond: Better Public Relations After Summer’s Distractions

FallrefocusGerard Braud

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By Gerard Braud

Is “work – life” balance possible for people in public relations? Experience tells me many public relations professionals get stressed trying to complete job tasks while also balancing their family or personal life, especially this time of year.

Look at your life today, for example. The kids are back in school. The Labor Day weekend is behind you. Co-workers have all wrapped up their summer vacations. For the first time since Memorial Day the entire staff is all in one place at one time. What was not even a second thought last week is suddenly urgent and important.

Do you feel invigorated to recommit yourself to achieving end of year goals? Or do you feel stressed because so much has gone unaccomplished all summer and now deadline pressures are looming?

If you had work-life balance you would feel neither re-invigorated nor stressed after Labor Day because you live your entire year in balance rather than the ups and downs and ebbs and flow of a chaotic corporate existence.

Here are three ways to level out your life.

1) Adopt a rolling 12-month calendar

Develop a strategic communications plan based on a rolling 12-month calendar and stop planning your communications based on either your calendar year or your fiscal year. When PR people live by a calendar year there is the “fresh start” syndrome of January, complete with soon-to-fail New Year resolutions. Next you spend January and February getting ready to get ready. March, April and May are your busy times of the year, with pauses for spring break and Memorial Day. Little gets accomplished in the summer because too many people who impact your goals and projects are on vacation. By the time you regroup after Labor Day, it takes several weeks to get rolling again, similar to New Years. By mid-September you are productive again and you stay focused through Halloween. Your mind then starts planning for Thanksgiving break and then for Christmas. Before you know it, New Years rolls around and you hit reset all over again.

Did I describe you? If so, it appears you have five productive months a year and seven months of distractions.

Instead, set a goal from September 2014, through September 2015. Strategically plan all of your goals and deadlines for training, publications, etc. On October 1, 2014, extend the strategic plans and goals by one additional month, through October 2015. Keep doing this at the first of every month and you now have a rolling 12-month calendar.

2) Plan around the obstacles

As you build your 12-month rolling calendar, set clear, hard deadlines. Identify the times of the year when people are inaccessible, such as in the summer, and plan around those challenges. If you need a team meeting or a training program next June, send the invitations out now, before people fill their calendars with vacation dates. That will make next summer more productive because you planned so far in advance. Everything won’t come to a grinding halt.

3) Budget on a rolling 12-month calendar

Your budgeting process will become easier with a 12-month rolling calendar. You should set clear goals now to spend your remaining budgets before the end of your calendar or fiscal year, so you don’t lose those dollars. But as you enter your new budgeting phase and make budget requests, you should also schedule on your calendar exactly when you plan to spend your dollars for training and projects using your 12-month rolling calendar.

This type of planning allows you to get contracts in place early, which legally commits your funds to vendors now, preventing the boss from taking your money away should conditions change for the worse down the road.

In conclusion, stop losing momentum. Adopt a rolling 12-month calendar that resets strategic goals and budgets at the start of each month for the next 12-months. Too many people live start and stop lives. Recommit today to end the ebb and flow to achieve greater work-life balance.