Category Archives: Social Media

*Pang* *Flash* G is For ….

Anyone who knows me will immediately think of one G word … “Go.” Yeah, high speed and lots of curves. I thrive at full throttle with steep climbs and sharp curves.

That’s not the G word that matters.IMG_8715f

Others will say it’s got to be God. Well, that’s a big one. Capital G. Still not there though. Perhaps it’s greatness or goodness, or the flip side: grumpy, goofy, gauche … Regardless, these attributes, relevant or not, aren’t that important.

The G word that keeps flashing through my dreams and thoughts is sobering. And a struggle.

Grace.

Is it a noun or a verb? Growing up Christian, I heard it and learned it frequently: man is inherently sinful. God freely gives me grace and erases all the gunk, gook, idiocy, mouthiness and moments of madness from my life. Through Christ his son.
But I can’t help but think that grace extends beyond pulpits and prayer clubs. Grace is act of individual will. It extends unmerited favor from one to another.

The flashes and pangs of grace-mindedness are daily for me. They hit like a combo punch from Rocky Balboa and Clubber Lang, usually when I:

  • Drive behind a moron driving 55 mph in the fast lane on Central Expressway
  • Stand in the grocery line behind a lady oblivious to the rest of the galaxy, slowing reading and debating the value of the 25 coupons she just handed the cashier
  • Work with others who deliver little more than excuses or blame, yet lord over others with self-importance and arrogance
  • Perceive an issue as “petty” while another may not, and continues to chatter, chant, rave and rant, ad nauseum

In each of these real-life cases, I felt a very real pang at the moment I begin my criticism and judgment. “…What about grace, Roy, remember?”

And so I breathe and realize that it’s OK. The slow driver may be new and nervous; the lady in line may be facing the financial crisis of a lifetime; the worker may be ill equipped or in the midst of some crisis that is fragmenting their work performance. And yes, what’s petty to me is irrelevant. If it’s important, then it’s important.

Now blow this up. The world is increasingly anti-grace. We have a conservative pundit attacking an American doctor for being a Christian and a missionary; we have zero-tolerance rules that put teenagers in prison for life—for weed in their cars. We have grandmas and granddads being beaten to death for food, cars and money.

And in the PR profession?Helloooo. We have prima donnas treating junior employees like dogs, interns not being paid for their work and a workplace that’s often cold, harsh and impersonal.

Where is the grace? Where is my grace? The flashes and pangs are reminding me. Helping me. Even encouraging me. They actually rattle me into remembering the countless times I’ve experienced unmerited favor from parents, friends, bosses, colleagues, neighbors and strangers. And God. I can think of at least three times in my life when I did not deserve unmerited favor from someone. If they had chosen zero tolerance, I could have lost everything. Everything.

Grace. Can you find it, face it and pay it forward?

Even now, there’s a circumstance where I’m resisting grace. “They deserve my contempt and wrath …” Yeah. *Pang* *Flash*

OK.

Let’s go to work. See the faces. Think grace.

Go home. See the wife. See the kids. Think grace.

Drive to the store. Think grace.

Then do it.

Grace is a verb.

 

Blatant promotion: Please Follow me on Twitter, www.twitter.com/practicalpr

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Dallas, PR, practical pr, Social Media

Do I have a chronic disease (CLS)? Do you?

I recently discovered I may have CLS. It’s often called CCLS as well. I’m talking about Communicator Lay-off Syndrome, also known as Chronic Communicator Lay-off Syndrome.

sickguyIt seems more prevalent than West Nile, perhaps even the common cold. I got hit last week. I walked into my boss’ office and there stood the Angel of Death: The HR manager. I knew I was dead meat at that point. 

So it was bye-bye, good luck. Sayonara. It’s odd to be struck by CLS, i.e., standing alone in a slow-moving elevator with a cardboard box of trash and trinkets that I’d accumulated.  As I walked through the parking garage to my car, I noticed the pages of my cherished yet aged AP Stylebook flapping in the wind. I had to smile. It was as if the The Great Journalism Spirit in the Sky was waving to catch my attention. “Miller … Miller! Listen up. All the pages haven’t been written in your life or career. Don’t give up, especially when the wind slaps you in the face.” 

So, I seek full-time employment. NOW. CLS  is more real than ever. Seemingly ubiquitous. It never discriminates, no matter your age, gender, industry or where you live. It’s a fact. Look at mid-October. WaggEd layed off 5% of its workforce. That’s 40-plus men and women put on the street. Think about all those journalists that wrote for something called a newspaper — the paper kind. Many are now freelancers. Many said “to hell with it” and started over. I know some who are now Realtors, day traders and even stay-at-home Dads.

Yet, I know I’m blessed. I’ve only been laid off twice during my 25-year communications career. Once in 1993 when my employer was bought by another company. And now, this time.  It is what it is. And here I am. I’m thankful for always pushing myself to never be satisfied with the status quo and what “I know about PR.” When you stop learning and growing, you stop living. You kill your career. You dull your skills. You become obsolete.

I love social media and writing blogs. I like showing a company executive that becoming a subject-matter expert isn’t about being Tony Robbins. It’s about knowing your audience, Telling Your Story and leveraging the expertise of a strategic communicator.

There are good days ahead. And for my colleagues feeling caught in the chronic cycle of CLS, be encouraged. Look in the mirror. Explore, examine and initiate personal change. Improve yourself. Push forward.

Bottom line, just keep moving.  Sometimes, that’s all it take to beat CLS.

-R

Leave a comment

Filed under PR, Roy G. Miller, Social Media, Uncategorized

It’s Not Practical. It’s Personal.

I’m proud to call myself the PRactical PR Guy. Through one lens, I see this week’s baby killings as a crisis of epic proportions — a crisis of community and literally dozens of organizations ill equipped (perhaps) for an unexpected slaughter–police, a school district, hospitals and health care organizations–even politicians with their callous opportunism.

The reality is, none of that matters to this Guy, for now anyway. I’m a Dad first. A human being who can’t fathom the shock and horror of a Dad getting a call on his cell to be told that his little one may be dead. The long commute and the bank account with that loud sucking sound just don’t seem that important anymore.

How much does it matter  that there’s a medical examiner who may be seen as  “too giddy” to be in the limelight, or whether police could tell us what the children were wearing when they were gunned down (Did a reporter really ask that question?). I’m the Dad of a high school senior, a 9th grade daughter and a 5th-grade boy. They are the Triple Crown of my life. They are the treasures that will always shine bright in this ornate chest called life. Losing any of them for any reason at any time is unfathomable. But as 6-year-olds, just as they throttle me with “why Dad?”, learn to tie their shoes, giggle through  goobersmooches–and sing along to Barney (let’s not go there). Well, it’s too much to handle. Seemingly. My sister and I have always agreed. “You can mess with me, you can mess with my spouse–you can mess with anything EXCEPT, do not mess with my kids.” Doing so will reap a grave response. First response. Hellish response. Good or bad, right or wrong, It Just Is. It’s that simple.

It’s time to grieve, reflect–and to pray for every parent who faces a gaping wound much more painful than those blasted by a mentally ill boy. The parents face a lifetime of loss. That’s why we pray. That’s why we feel rage and sadness. And disgust.

Sleep little children. Sleep.  Horror found you, but it is no more. I see your faces high in the blue yonder somewhere. A heavenly site. Little ones romping and rolling through the grass, hiding from Peek-A-Boo Dad, discovering a lizard on a brick (Why shouldn’t Heaven have lizards?).  And waiting on Mom and Dad to come join the fun.

That’s what I choose to see. It helps. And brings a little smile to my face.

Blessings to all those in the whirlwind of tragedy.

My kids rock. May blessings and safety be upon you forever.

kids2

1 Comment

Filed under journalism, Media, PR, Public Relations, Social Media, Uncategorized

Finding resuscitation with a little inspiration … and discipline

It’s shameful to admit. But I will. The PRacticalPR blog went on life support last year. At one point I almost pulled the plug. In my typical winterland ruminations, I’ve moved to a place where some self discipline is in order–a real goal or two included–that helps me. And you. That’s the goal. So here we go, reinvigorated, re-set and ready to share what I’ve learned and continue to learn about work, PR, communications … and a whole lot about living. Let’s get started.

Leave a comment

November 28, 2012 · 2:21 pm

IE, Chrome & Firefox: Why Mozilla is the Master

“The battle of the browsers continues, with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer losing market share to Google’s Chrome and others, while analysts predict a sub-50-percent dip for IE as early as March 2012. Counting all versions, Internet Explorer dropped to 51.9-percent market share in December according to Net Applications, ComputerWorld reports, with Chrome ending the year at 19.1-percent. However, Microsoft maintains that the most important number to consider is the growth in IE9 installs on Windows 7.”

Maybe browser users are beginning to understand. Maybe not.

The report also says: Chrome has gained most of what IE and Mozilla’s Firefox lost this year, boosting its numbers by 8.8 points in 2011. Firefox, which dropped three-tenths of a point during December and 1.9 points for the year, ended 2011 with 21.8%, a new low. Firefox will lose its second-place spot to Chrome in March if the two browsers keep to their current Net Applications’ trend lines.

Damn. What’s wrong with people? Chrome, IE or Firefox? You’re kidding me? We can take IE out of the mix immediately. This browser’s the equivalent of a dancing elephant, fat and slow. Chrome? My kids swear by it. Its simplicity and speed are its ultimate value, they say.

As for me, Firefox is the El Dorado of browsers. It’s not simple or always speedy, nor is it fat or slow. But there’s not a browser within 2,961,112,156 miles or more (That’s the distance between earth and Pluto.

Why the loyalty and applause? It’s never failed me. Updates are more rapid that Windows Updates, and less annoying. And its greatest advantage is the developer community and add-ons. Tell me, do other browsers offer hundreds of different features—ancillary to just browsing—to benefit its users? If so, tell me. I don’t want to be ignorant.

For example, when I’m using Firefox, I can immediately see all my bookmarks at the top of the browser for instant point and click (Multirow Bookmarks). I’ve got rolldown Google Shortcuts, and I can tweet directly by typing into the URL box. One cool add-in is the Color Picker. When working on graphics or websites, it scrolls over a web page and automatically tells me the html colors—and RGB. All in one click.   Two others? Flashkiller and MeasureIt. The first clears out annoying flash ads; the second allows me to measure images or columns on a website.

So why be a Chromehead or IE Idiot? Switch. Change. Find joy. Fulfillment. The best of the browsers.

Leave a comment

Filed under PR, Social Media

How to Cheat Clients and The Value of Your Company

We were told we needed to brainstorm ideas for a client. Can we stop what we’re doing and go to the conference room. We all piled into the room, sat in our chairs and waited for the company pariah to enter. And share his ideas. We’d pretend to brainstorm, then parrot the incredibly creative ideas from Mr. Pariah. His ideas were the best, so the ideas were written down, and we all moved on. Another wasted hour sitting in a room and sucking up.

Now let’s move to a different time and place. The agency needs to quickly create a leave-behind for a client. One agency employee—a writer—suggests brainstorming ideas. He’s told he’s a writer in a different group. Ideas and concepts are the job of the creative design team. Uh. OK.

Another shot across the career spectrum. There’s a call for a brainstorming session. This time, the room is outfitted for comfort. There’s food, drinks, a whiteboard, notepads on easels, markers, paper. Even crayons. The focus: What ideas can we muster up for the agency itself? How can we best showcase the agency strengths and communicate them consistently. Ideas were shared, no matter how crazy. And were written down. No idea evaluation or criticisms. Just ideas.

I can’t think of a word or exercise that is more overused and misused than “brainstorming.”  The sad reality is that those who should know the value of collective creativity—putting crazy creative types in a room together—can yield brilliance, clarity and wham-bang ideas (and some craziness too). It’s all good. As professional communicators, it’s our jobs to collaboratively develop the best ideas for our clients–and to foster an environment for brainstorming.

The best ideas come from best practices. Yep, one best practice is brainstorming, working together and seeing value in every individual, no matter their title, department or perceived strengths or weaknesses. Anything short of this is is milk toast and gray matter, and certainly far from excellence.

So why is it so hard for creative types – usually graphic designers, copywriters and marketing strategists – to hole up in a room and share ideas? Smart ideas. Stupid ones. Funny ones. Why?

Based on my experience, here are the top 5 reasons why
brainstorming is busted
:

1. The Temperaments. Sometimes personalities clash. So we avoid contact. A designer once told me, “The only people who are more temperamental than writers are designers.” I’ve been in sessions where both types gather and the duel for control begins. It ruins all the creative energy and fuels more battles. I’ve been there and learned myself. Guilty as charged.

2. The Territories. I’ve heard these statements from real people: “I’m creative, you are not.”I’m in the Creative Arts department, are you?”  and “Why do we need a copywriter to sit in on a ;graphic design’ concept meeting?” Wow. Wrong mentality, attitude and approach. If someone thinks they’re more creative—or the only creative—that’s a problem.

3. The Threat & Inferiority. A creative director or team that feels threatened by others—and other ideas—struggle with inferiority. They feel threatened and fear  others who may be  “more creative than me.” I’ve learned that great creative comes from great people, and to recognize them for their talent. There’s enough glory to go around.

4. The Time.  Who’s got time for another freakin’ meeting? Let me do my real job. No wonder that’s the prevalent attitude. Brainstorming is too often a torturous exercise in futility.

5. The Working Wounded. If someone absolutely runs from a brainstorming session, it’s likely they’ve been wounded at some point. They were embarrassed or criticized. Or both. Great brainstorming includes NO evaluation or opinions about others’ ideas.

Here’s the bottom line: Improper, impotent brainstorming yields nothing. Worse, it’s the best way to cheat our clients and the valuable services we offer as communicators. Shame on us.

What is your opinion or war story? Please share.

Our next post offers advice for effective brainstorming.

Leave a comment

Filed under PR, PR agencies, Small Business, Social Media

Make-Up Monday: Info You Need

Stories you may have missed.

Enjoy!

4 Ways to Integrate B2B Social Media into Marketing Plans

Click here to find out more!3 Stats to Think About When Crafting Your Social Media Campaign

New Research: 60% of B2B Decision Makers Use Social MediaClick here to find out more!

Managing Stress and Other Small Business TroublesClick here to find out more!

Women Owned Businesses Have Come a Long Way But It’s Not Far Enough

B2B Technology Collateral Consumption Declines YOY

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, PR, Public Relations, Small Business, Social Media