What is Your Public Relations & Personal Epiphany?


Gerard Braud Epiphany

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I’d like you to stop for a moment as you plan for the New Year and your public relations goals. Reflect if you will, on the year that just ended, as well as the years before.

Today is the Day of Epiphany, and I’d like to challenge you to identify moments of epiphany in your own life and in your own career. I’m even going to share with you some of my own moments of revelation and epiphany in order to help you out. We’ll get to that in just a moment, but you’ll do better if you understand why today’s focus is on moments of epiphany.

photo(2)January 6th is the Feast of the Epiphany (and it is my favorite day of the year). Here in New Orleans we celebrate it in multiple ways. Today is the last day of the Christmas season. It is the 12th day of Christmas that you’ve probably sung about. According to Christian tradition, this is the day the Magi – or three kings – reached the baby Jesus in the manger.



Gerard Braud as King of the Krewe of Mid-City with his father Allen Braud in 2001.

In New Orleans, this is also known as King’s Day. It begins our Carnival season leading up to Mardi Gras. This is also the day that many of the King’s are chosen for the various Carnival and Mardi Gras parades. In 2001 I was one of those King’s.

So, here is your assignment or challenge… Today is a natural day for you to go beyond setting goals and making New Year resolutions. Your ability to achieve those goals and keep your resolutions is directly tied to who you are and the revelations or moments of epiphanies that you have had.

For example, some of my greatest revelations have come when I have taken various personality profile tests over the past 20 years. These tests can be a window into your DNA and can affect your career and life positively or negatively.

I’m labeled as a Maverick Leader by Sally Hogshead’s How You Fascinate test. Sally will be speaking at the IABC World Conference this year.

I’m labeled as an Activator and Maximizer with high ethics by Marcus Buckingham’s Strength Finders.

Myers & Briggs confirmed I’m an ENTP – An extravert, dreamer, with opinions who values fairness.

True Colors indicated I’m an extravert who values fun more than money.

This means not everyone is going to like me. Highly emotional people and introverts are repulsed by me. My maverick approach to crisis communications plans is to get finished in two days, but analytical people who value a longer process and a series of deadlines may reject my maverick approach.

On the flip side, if you are a fun-loving, extravert who wants to get in, get out and get done with a crisis communications plan, then we are soul-mates, according to the epiphany presented by these tests.

My challenge to you is to dig up your old personality profiles or take a new test and see what moments of epiphany you have. It could help you know who your allies and enemies will be at work. Like-minded people give you permission to proceed in attaining your goals. Like-minded people are your advocates and will help you get the money or resources needed to achieve your goals. Conversely, those not like you may shoot down your great ideas or setup roadblocks to derail your efforts and ideas.

Who you approach for help will determine if your goals are achieved. Even the best ideas, presented to the wrong person at work, can go down in flames, ruining your year.

Happy King’s Day. I hope you rule your entire year.

By Gerard Braud

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


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.