Tag Archives: The Elements of Style

12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

Following the popularity of last year’s 12 Books To Read To Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills In 2015 post, I figured I should draft my 2016 PR reading list. I had fun reading my picks for 2015 and am looking forward to tackling my 2016 picks. Franco Book Club anyone?

1. Spinglish: The Definitive Dictionary of Deliberately Deceptive Language by Henry Beard


While I hate the term “spin doctor” to describe public relations professionals, I can’t help but laugh along with this dictionary. Some of the words and jargon we have to use for clients can be fairly amusing, but Spinglish rounds up all of the best ones for your viewing pleasure.

Spinglish: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

2. Be Your Own Best Publicist:How to Use PR Techniques to Get Noticed, Hired, and Rewarded at Work by Jessica Kleiman


There’s an old saying that the shoemaker’s children go shoeless and public relations professionals are no different. We can crush it at our jobs on a daily basis, but when it comes to promoting ourselves it’s a different story. Be Your Own Best Publicist is a great reminder to apply your public relations skills to yourself.

Be Your Own Best Publicist: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

3. The PR Masterclass: How to Develop a Public Relations Strategy that Works! by Alex Singleton


Written in 2014, The PR Masterclass is a more updated guide to media relations written by a longtime newspaper, magazine and digital journalist. If you’re looking for some tips on how to take your media relations skills to the next level look no further.

The PR Masterclass: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

4. The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. & E.B. White


We are always looking to improve our writing skills and The Elements of Style is a classic guide for the writer who wants something a little more sophisticated. If you are looking to impress your boss or clients with your linguistic skills make sure to keep this guide on your shelf.

The Elements of Style: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

5. The Art of Client Service: 58 Things Every Advertising & Marketing Professional Should Know by Robert Solomon


Working in an agency, client service is what we do day in and day out. The Art of Client Service is a great handbook for employees at any level. It also answers questions like “What happens when I screw up?” Whether you have been in the business for 2 years or 20, this book is a great refresher on working with clients.

The Art of Client Service: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

6. The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business by P. Coughter


The Art of the Pitch has nothing to do with media pitches and everything to do with presentations. As you move up the ladder in your career, you will spend more time pitching new business to prospective and current clients. You may have a great idea, but if you can’t sell it to your client, their board or potential customers it means nothing.

The Art of the Pitch: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

7. Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday


I’m not necessarily condoning all of the tactics in Trust Me I’m Lying, but I think it makes for an interesting read. The author was the marketing director at American Apparel for many years and they’ve had plenty of PR crises throughout the years. In light of Tina Kozak’s recent blog post Election 2016: The Power of Earned Media, I thought this was interesting.

Trust Me I'm Lying: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

8. The Five Dysfunctions of Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni


As an account manager here at Franco, I love the leadership fable approach in The Five Dysfunctions of Team. A collaborative team is one of the best parts about working at Franco and this is a great tool for managers to help overcome common hurdles and create an effective working environment.

The Five Dysfunctions of Team: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

9. Above the Noise: Creating Trust, Value & Reputation Online Using Basic Digital PR by Carrie Morgan


It’s hard to find a social media book that is not already outdated, but Above the Noise was recently published in January 2016. I preach consistency to my social media teams and this is a great guide that follows the same approach.

Above the Noise: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

10. Mastering the New Media Landscape: Embrace the Micromedia Mindset by Barbara Cave Henricks & Rusty Shelton


Have you mastered earned, owned and rented media? As PR people we are all familiar with earned media, but many of us are still navigating the new opportunities that social media and online content bring to the table. Mastering the New Media Landscape provides strategies for each approach.

Mastering the New Media Landscape: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

11. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant


I will admit it, I’m an idea person. I love coming up with new ideas and challenging the status quo. Originals is all about bucking outdated traditions and coming up with new ideas. This just came out in February 2016, so it has some fresh, relevant examples and challenges you to not just think differently, but to be an agent for change in your organization.

Originals: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

12. Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg


Written by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Smarter, Faster, Better teaches you how to work smarter, not harder. Working at an agency with billable time, makes you think about ways to boost your productivity. This author has researched the most productive people and shared what they have in common.

Smarter, Faster, Better: 12 Books to Sharpen Your Public Relations Skills in 2016

Which of these books is on your 2016 reading list? If you have a recommendation let me know in the comments.

Elizabeth Robbins-Sabourin is an account manager at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at (313) 567-5029 or sabourin@franco.com. Follow her on Twitter @DetroitDuchess.

From particle physics to parts of speech

What a universe we live in.  And now we’re one step closer to understanding how it all began.

This was the big news out of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, for people who think about things like why matter has mass (hint: it’s not because you supersized your meal). We’re talking really big. As in the Big Bang theory of our existence.

It’s a Higgs boson or at least looks like a Higgs boson to be scientifically accurate. It’s the key building block to, well, everything – what the universe is made of and how it works. Rebecca Boyle’s blog in POPSCI simply explains this discovery so we all can get “Higgsy” with it.

ATLAS Experiment © 2012 CERN

I love science. In seventh grade I aspired to become the next Madame Curie, complete with a lab in the basement of my family’s home in Germany. My dad, a Major in the U.S. Army, was stationed in Frankfurt to continue his quest to help save the world. I had ideas of doing something for the universe. Not unlike my life as a fourth grader when I made a Paper Mache solar system. There was space to explore even if the gravitational force caused Jupiter to drop from my bedroom ceiling and roll across the carpet.

And then I discovered a power very different from gravity or proton smashing. It was the power of words. Literature class. Tenth grade. Words could move, dance, provoke thought. They gained mass and power as the sticky surface of creative thinking pulled them together into paragraphs and chapters. A literary boson field.

I left my gumdrop DNA model and headed to the language laboratory to diagram sentences and better understand what makes them work. I discovered Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style a little book with a big lesson in writing.

The Elements of Style is emphatic. Write with vigor. Use active voice. Create sentences that are vivid, specific and concrete.

Consider Strunk’s Rule 17: Omit needless words. “Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”

White refers to rule 17 as “sixty-three words that could change the world.”

In 2011 TIME magazine named The Elements of Style one of the 100 best and most influential nonfiction books written in English since 1923 (the year TIME began). My yellowed, dog-eared copy has followed me from newsrooms to my office at Franco – a loyal golden word retriever. TIME’s 100 list also included A Brief History in Time by physicist Stephen Hawking.

How perfect – parts of speech honored alongside particle physics.

Both world changers.

Do you have a favorite proton or pronoun? Particle or participle?

Maria Leonhauser is president of Franco Public Relations Group. She can be reached at leonhauser@franco.com. Connect with Franco PR Group on Facebook and Twitter @FrancoPRGroup.