Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks on #tweetsgiving and the Turkey Song

Thanksgiving 2009 happens to also be the second annual TweetsGiving, where people are encouraged to express their thanks through a variety of online communities and tools. The site hopes to create "a global celebration that seeks to change the world through the power of gratitude."

While this may seem a lofty, it does strike me as a simple, yet remarkable opportunity to offer thanks framed around a great cause.

So with that in mind, I offer my gratitude for:
  • the unconditional love freely given from my God;
  • my loving wife, who encourages and keeps me motivated;
  • our two amazing kids, who help me to view the world through optimistic and curious eyes;
  • the blessings from the work that I get to do;
  • all of the support and love from my family and friends through life's challenges; and
  • those of you that stop by my little corner of the blogosphere to read and discuss the often strange ruminations I leave here.
Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving.

Of course, I can't leave you with sappy. No, I want to share a quick video that offers a bit of the holiday, humor, and harmony of Thanksgiving that could only come from The Addams Family...

What are you thankful for? As always, the comments are yours.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

PR Roles: Be a Strategic Adviser

I wasn't able to attend this year's PRSA International Conference. From what I gathered through presentation reviews, live-tweets, conversations, blog posts and back-channels, it seems to have been a worthwhile conference (aside from the big complaint of no wifi in the hotel and the delegate issues related to organizational governance. But that's for another time.)

One particular session caught my eye today was posted on the PRSA ComPRehension blog entitled “Developing a Strategic Mindset: How to Become a Trusted, Strategic Adviser presented by PR thought-leader James Lukaszewski.

This is excellent information from Al Kruger and I recommend reading the full post if you're a PR practitioner who seeks wisdom on how to becoming a trusted strategic adviser for your organization. Here's an excerpt:

The Top Things That Leaders Are Looking for in Strategic Counselors
  1. Advice on the spot — Management is a real-time activity. It happens now, so leaving a meeting and offering recommendations later in the day isn’t valuable to them.
  2. Say things that matter from the boss’s perspective … not your perspective — Put yourself in your boss’s shoes. When you offer advice and talk in meetings, you have to ask yourself — Is this really important? Is this what we’re here to talk about? 
  3. Provide focus — In meetings you may need to pull leaders back and get them centered on what’s important and relevant in the problem/issue you are discussing right now.
  4. Leaders want help with things they don’t already know — Pointing out the obvious isn’t valuable. What can you bring to the table that is lacking?
  5. They want options to consider — If you only offer one option they will likely question it to death, so give them other ideas that can work.
  6. Bosses want help with what to do next — They already know what has happened. Give them ideas on what the company should do and offer insight about what will happen because of it.
This review post by Al Krueger is well worth the read and bookmark. Kruger also touches on a way to break down discussions into their most important parts for efficiency and so you can offer appropriate PR counsel.

What other things are looked for by leadership in strategic counselors? The comments are yours.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

They did their share, so we can say thanks

Special events and campus programs are commonplace for school PR people. Whether we are celebrating a national holiday like Veterans Day or commemorating a school namesake, outside by the flagpole or inside the cafetorium (yes, that's what they are called), having students commemorate events make for great opportunities to gather the school community and get some good photos.

This year was no different. We had students recite the Presidential proclamation, choirs sang patriotic songs, students read their winning essays and a few guest speakers told their stories of life in the military. One middle school program included the following  poem reading that struck me as being especially touching and appropriate:

They Did Their Share
On Veteran’s Day we honor
Soldiers who protect our nation.
For their service as our warriors,
They deserve our admiration.
Some of them were drafted;
Some were volunteers;
For some it was just yesterday;
For some it’s been many years;
In the jungle or the desert,
On land or on the sea,
They did whatever was assigned
To produce a victory.
Some came back; some didn’t.
They defended us everywhere.
Some saw combat; some rode a desk;
All of them did their share.
No matter what the duty,
For low pay and little glory,
These soldiers gave up normal lives,
For duties mundane and gory.
Let every veteran be honored;
Don’t let politics get in the way.
Without them, freedom would have died;
What they did, we can’t repay.
We owe so much to them,
Who kept us safe from terror,
So when we see a uniform,
Let’s say "thank you" to every wearer.
By Joanna Fuchs

I don't think we can say thank you enough to those who serve our country. I know I've not done all I can do. So as another Veterans Day comes to a close, let us give pause in remembrance to those who protect, fight, sacrifice, and work in our service.

Thank you to our military personnel. Thank you for being our servant heroes. Thank you to the families who lend us their loved ones. Thank you, veterans.

Thanks, dad.

(Note: My dad served in the U.S. Army in the 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam War.)

Photo credit: brianhendrix

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tarrant County College lets blog double as a public forum

Yesterday, the Tarrant County College (TCC) Office of Public Relations & Marketing shared a blog post requesting public feedback on a new chancellor. The post* read in part:
The TCC Board of Trustees has begun the search process for a new chancellor, the chief executive officer of the College. Later this month, board members will conduct a workshop to draw up and approve a job description, and they would very much like your input.

What qualifications, experience, characteristics, and attributes do you think the next TCC chancellor should have? Please give us your comments, and/or react to the comments of others.

Why this works
I can tell you from experience that sometimes it's difficult to get feedback from your community if you work for a public educational institution (unless you've angered them in some way) on important matters. Just look at voter turn-out and you can see how (dis)engaged people are when they get distracted.

What TCC has done here for their community is provided another channel for voices to be heard. They could still hold public meetings in addition to the board meetings as ways to get thoughts, but using the blog post is a smart and efficient way for TCC to collect the thoughts on the "qualifications, experience, characteristics, and attributes" for a new chancellor. Here's hoping their community steps up to the plate and delivers views that will help shape a profile to fit their leadership needs.

*As an added bonus for education PR folks, TCC provides a link to their social media regulations in the post.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Starting clean for #Movember

The fact that I am not a hairy man makes me (and my wife) happy. My inability to grow facial hair into a full beard or goatee leaves me to wonder where my genes came from since there are beard and moustache-wearing guys among my male relatives. It usually doesn't bug me too much accept during the month of Movember because I know my mo won't be as robust as most of the others. But then, that's not the point.

Movember is a moustache growing charity event held during the month of November every year that raises funds and awareness for men's health - specifically prostate and testicular cancer. The month-long campaign this year will benefit The Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

The Movember campaign is one worth checking out even if you don't want to participate because it has integrated some social media outposts like YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter profiles in addition to a sites for the foundation and launch. The fun has an edge and seriousness to it.

Here's the Intro video for 2009:

The cause is worthy. The rules are easy. The campaign is cool. The benefits are noble. Change the face of men's health. Grow a Mo. 

Besides, what else do you have going this month? And so goes day #1 of Movember.