Tag Archives: communication

Cyber Shot is a reminder of how much we’ve evolved

I received a cyber flash-from-the-past a few months back via a former colleague who posted a photo on Facebook from one of my earliest jobs in public relations. There was a fresh-faced me among my PR Associates co-workers atop downtown Detroit’s Penobscot Building in a promotional image that would accompany an article touting our firm’s strengths to the business community.
A lot of memories flooded back with that mid-‘80s photo.  The friendships I still cherish with a few in the group and the loss I still feel from the passing of others. I thought of the projects that allowed me to apply my newly acquired PR skills and the seasoned practitioners in that shot who kindly nurtured my professional growth.

Much has changed since then. PR Associates blended into Franco’s DNA in 2002 when Franco acquired the agency to proudly roll on as Michigan’s oldest independent PR firm. In fact, we’ll be celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2014!

The profession and we as practitioners have also changed dramatically.  I took a lot of good natured ribbing in sharing that photo with my young Franco colleagues.  We laughed at the fact that they weren’t even a glimmer in their father’s eye when I stood on top of that building.  (Well, it was mostly them laughing.) We also laughed at my conservative skirt suit and pearls – must haves for any budding professional in those days.

There’s a casualness in today’s workplace, most notably reflected in the informal wardrobe choices of the youngest professionals.  Buttoned up business attire is now donned only for the most important of meetings and events.  And those of us who once dressed to impress everyday have happily embraced this more comfortable dressed down fashion trend.

But this casualness does not reflect a lesser commitment or competency among today’s employees compared to those of us with roots in a more “formal” era.

Like all professions, the Internet boom and the ever- increasing reliance on communication via social media has transformed the practice of public relations. The proliferation of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and dozens of other social media outlets, combined with 24/7 network and cable news, means the response to events large or small the world over can be immediate and relentless.

For those of us in PR, the more controlled, two-way communication between a company and its various publics has long been replaced with commentary occurring in all directions at warped speed.  It’s a phenomenon that would overwhelm yesteryear’s more formal approach to public relations. But the younger practitioners entering the field have transformed the profession.

Their flexibility and spontaneity have infiltrated our work . . . all for the better. Their familiarity and fearless use of all the electronic gadgets that are the new tools of our trade challenge those of us who’ve been at PR for a while to up our game.

And that’s a good thing, if YKWIM.

Pat Adanti-Joy, APR, is an account manager at Franco Public Relations Group.  You can reach her at 313-567-5046 or joy@franco.com

Relationship Development: Has it changed more than you think?

I find it fascinating how relationship development has changed. In the era of smart phones, computers and “going digital” personal connections tend to get lost.

My friends don’t like to talk, they’d rather text. I might be a little “old school” but I enjoy picking up the phone to have a conversation with a friend. In an industry that is all about communication it can be difficult to remember to make a phone call while juggling the different channels of communication.  Personal communication is not allowing technology to take over; it’s incorporating it with the more traditional approaches.

We used to pitch the media by picking up the phone or sending an e-mail.  If you wanted to get to know a reporter you were faced with the daunting task of getting on their schedule. Media pitching has changed and so have relationships with reporters. At Franco, we reach the media though multiple communication channels including e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, text and phone conversations. Becoming friends with reporters on Facebook or following them on Twitter is accepted and can make a difference in getting their attention.

Positive relationships are built on trust, honesty, understanding and listening. This can work in all aspects of life. Don’t forget to pick up the phone every once in a while. It can make a world of difference to a client, friend or even mom.

How has relationship development changed for you? And what do you to do maintain relationships with those around you?

Sara Bloomberg is an account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at (313) 567-5016 or bloomberg@franco.com. Follow her on Twitter @sdbloomberg.

Recovering lost art of personal conversation in PR

Photo by Leo Reynolds | Flickr.com

As I sat at my computer today, I received an instant Spark message from a colleague of mine who sits no more than 15 feet from my desk. Her inquiry, ironically was, “Do you have time to talk?”

I started to “spark” my colleague back, but stopped myself. Instead, I got up out of my chair and went and talked face-to-face with her. It didn’t take any longer than an IM reply, but it certainly felt better.

This interaction caused me to start thinking about how often we in the communications business tend to communicate so impersonally these days. I don’t want to give away my age, but when I started in the PR business, we talked with each other, not at each other.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand the value of a quick email to get a simple message across. However, nothing, in my opinion beats a personal conversation – whether it be on the phone or face-to-face.

When you’re talking with someone, it’s rare that you misinterpret their tone or their meaning.  It’s quite the contrary, actually.  You’re able to ask questions in response and get a real feel for where someone is coming from or going with their thought process – without having to hit the send button and wait for a reply.

Perhaps I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Author Maya Angelou said it best: “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”

Ultimately, I guess what I’m talking about is building relationships. You can’t have a relationship with someone that you don’t know and you can’t get to know someone without talking with them.

So, the next time you’re getting ready to hit the send button on that email, think twice. Ask yourself what the most effective form of communication is and whether picking up the phone might not be the better way to go.

That’s my opinion, what’s yours? Tell me what you think is the best way to have a personal conversation!

Michelle Zdrodowski is a senior vice president at Franco Public Relations Group. Reach out to her at zdrodowski@franco.com or call 313.567.5017. Visit Facebook.com/FrancoPRGroup.