Code-switching: How to date a publicist

While sitting in front of the bank last week, I received my daily email from Ragan.com alerting me of the top stories when one title caught my eye: How to date a PR professional. Interesting subject matter on a site all about communications. I mean relationships are based on communication but not really this kind. It was an interesting breakdown of four things to consider, in short: our relationships are our top priority, we’re very positive, we know what’s hot and what’s not and we’re incredibly efficient. Obviously more detail was put into it so if you want to read it feel free! The original list actually includes 5 thing and is featured here.

When a friend and I were talking about dating and the reasons we are not in a relationship, she said that I needed someone that would be able to handle my code-switching, as she called it. By this, she was referring to the ability to remain the same person but apply the appropriate personality to the crowd that I am with. So, this makes me sound like I have multiple personality disorder but I assure you that is not what she was getting at.

Considering that PR people have to maintain a million different relationships with a million different kinds of people, they need to be adaptable to different groups, switching interests, conversational styles, vernacular and anything else that can be related to a culture, often times within the same room.

In short, to date me, you have to deal with my mild personality disorder that’s not really a disorder but more of an occupational hazard. Hey, it could be fun! We could jump from crowd to crowd pretending to be different people.

I mean, if you can keep up with the quick changes anyway.

Ha!

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Goals here, there and everywhere!

Though I swore to myself that I would be having a “Goal Setting Party” this weekend, it didn’t happen…..sad story.

As my Saturday night becomes my Sunday morning, let’s talk a little bit about goals then shall we?

1. A Better Relationship With God: If you do not know, I am a Believer in and follower of Christ…..well, as of late, not so much the follower part. Let’s be honest, I have fallen of in a way that I am not proud of. I want to go back. Step one: Open the doors of Communication via Bible reading and prayer. Can’t have a relationship without conversation now can we? Step two: Fellowship and accountability. I’ve always been a member of a church but I don’t think I’ve ever committed to a body of believers. A friend of mine sat in Ben & Jerry’s and spoke a little about this, “We’re made to be with other people….God gave us each other to help out.” These have been things that I’ve always known and even lived by at least in college (trust me, at a Christian college, you understand community. Graduating is a weird thing because you are ripped out of the Christ-loving bubble you were so safe in). It’s time to make some grown-up relationships that are not based on our love for certain subjects or people but Christ’s love.

2. Perpetually clean room: …they say geniuses are messy, I must be a genius. I’ve been finding my messy space to actually be more of a distraction than anything right now. When I was commuting back and forth to school or work, I didn’t spend much time in more room, not as much as I thought I did anyway. Now that I am working from home and taking online courses, it is not only where I sleep, eyes closed for like 5-12 hours with no way of seeing the debris, but it is where I get work done. Step one: CLEAN THE ROOM!!!! This is actually quite hard. It gets a little frustrating when I am doing it. My head begins to feel congested and I simply don’t want to do it!!! But gotta get’er done Step two: always putting things back where they belong when I am through with them. I hear it takes 30 days to create a habit, maybe if I do it long enough, it’ll become my nature to be clean.

3. Read 12 books: This amounts to a book a month. Totally doable! This one isn’t too hard, I guess. Find the book and get to reading. I may have to tweak this one later.

4. Have 3 paying clients at all times: So this one may be a little harder. This one may take a little more planning but I do know that it is a goal. I currently have one and have a meeting on Monday with a potential. I need to start networking again and seeing where the prospects are. The steps to this have yet to be developed as I’ve been moving on dumb luck and not so much skill, I really am looking to the book I am reading for some ideas on better ways to conduct business as a freelancer.

5. Losing weight: My ultimate goal is to be 150 with a current starting weight of….uh, I’ll let the other blog speak to this issue a little more. Step one: change eating habits. I’m currently living on a pescetarian diet for this month to see how I like it and whether I can sustain it. Step two: start with exercising 3 days a week. Gotta love those wee hour workouts; they really do start the day off on an interesting foot!

There are many more goals that I have and I do wish that I’d been able to take the time and map them out over the weekend. I think I’ll make the attempt on Sunday. The way to achieve your goals is to know them and work toward them constantly.

…I don’t really have a kicker for this post. I’m a little tired so it will have to end on a bland note.

Ok bye!

 

Time is of the essence

My professor assigned this reading. It all makes sense. It’s not really a new lesson but it’s always something to consider with planning. 

Perhaps the greatest single problem that people have today is “time poverty.” Working people have too much to do and too little time for their personal lives. Most people feel overwhelmed with responsibilities and activities, and the harder they work, the further behind they feel. This sense of being on a never-ending treadmill can cause you to fall into the reactive/responsive mode of living. Instead of clearly deciding what you want to do, you continually react to what is happening around you. Pretty soon you lose all sense of control. You feel that your life is running you, rather than you running your life.

On a regular basis, you have to stand back and take stock of yourself and what you’re doing. You have to stop the clock and do some serious thinking about who you are and where you are going. You have to evaluate your activities in the light of what is really important to you. You must master your time rather than becoming a slave to the constant flow of events and demands on your time. And you must organize your life to achieve balance, harmony, and inner peace. Taking action without thinking is the cause of every failure. Your ability to think is the most valuable trait that you possess. If you improve the quality of your thinking, you improve the quality of your life, sometimes immediately.

Time is your most precious resource. It is the most valuable thing you have. It is perishable, it is irreplaceable, and it cannot be saved. It can only be reallocated from activities of lower value to activities of higher value. All work requires time. And time is absolutely essential for the important relationships in your life. The very act of taking a moment to think about your time before you spend it will begin to improve your personal time management immediately.

I used to think that time management was only a business tool, like a calculator or a cellular telephone. It was something that you used so that you could get more done in a shorter period of time and eventually be paid more money. Then I learned that time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends.

In your work or business life, there are so many demands on your time from other people that very little of your time is yours to use as you choose. However, at home and in your personal life you can exert a tremendous amount of control over how you use your time. And it is in this area that I want to focus.

Personal time management begins with you. It begins with your thinking through what is really important to you in life. And it only makes sense if you organize it around specific things that you want to accomplish. You need to set goals in three major areas of your life. First, you need family and personal goals. These are the reasons why you get up in the morning, why you work hard and upgrade your skills, why you worry about money and sometimes feel frustrated by the demands on your time.

What are your personal and family goals, both tangible and intangible? A tangible family goal could be a bigger house, a better car, a larger television set, a vacation, or anything else that costs money. An intangible goal would be to build a higher quality relationship with your spouse and children, to spend more time with your family going for walks or reading books. Achieving these family and personal goals are the real essence of time management, and its major purpose.

The second area of goals are your business and career goals. These are the “how” goals, the means by which you achieve your personal, “why” goals. How can you achieve the level of income that will enable you to fulfill your family goals? How can you develop the skills and abilities to stay ahead of the curve in your career? Business and career goals are absolutely essential, especially when balanced with family and personal goals.

The third type of goals are your personal development goals. Remember, you can’t achieve much more on the outside than what you have achieved on the inside. Your outer life will be a reflection of your inner life. If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and your career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development. You must build yourself if you want to build your life. Perhaps the greatest secret of success is that you can become anything you really want to become to achieve any goal that you really want to achieve. But in order to do it, you must go to work on yourself and never stop.

Once you have a list of your personal and family goals, your business and career goals, and your self-development goals, you can then organize the list by priority. This brings us to the difference between priorities and posteriorities. In order to get your personal time under control, you must decide very clearly upon your priorities. You must decide on the most important things that you could possible be doing to give yourself the same amount of happiness, satisfaction, and joy in life. But at the same time, you must establish posteriorities as well. Just as priorities are things that you do more of and sooner, posteriorities are things that you do less of and later.

The fact is, your calendar is full. You have no spare time. Your time is extremely valuable. Therefore, for you to do anything new, you will have to stop doing something old. In order to get into something, you will have to get out of something else. In order to pick something up, you will have to put something down. Before you make any new commitment of your time, you must firmly decide what activities you are going to discontinue in your personal life. If you want to spend more time with your family, for example, you must decide what activities you currently engage in that are preventing you from doing so.

A principle of time management says that hard time pushes out soft time. This means that hard time, such as working, will push out soft time, such as the time you spend with your family. If you don’t get your work done at the office because you don’t use your time well, you almost invariably have to rob that time from your family. As a result, because your family is important to you, you find yourself in a values conflict. You feel stressed and irritable. You feel a tremendous amount of pressure. You know in your heart that you should be spending more time with the important people in your life, but because you didn’t get your work done, you have to fulfill those responsibilities before you can spend time with your spouse and children.

Think of it this way. Every minute you waste during the waking day is time that your family will ultimately be deprived of. So concentrate on working when you are at work so that you can concentrate on your family when you are at home.

There are three key questions that you can ask yourself continually to keep your personal life in balance. The first question is, “What is really important to me?” Whenever you find yourself with too much to do and too little time, stop and ask yourself, “What is it that is really important for me to do in this situation?” Then, make sure that what you are doing is the answer to that question.

The second question is, “What are my highest value activities?” In your personal life, this means, “What are the things that I do that give me the greatest pleasure and satisfaction? Of all the things that I could be doing at any one time, what are the things that I could do to add the greatest value to my life?”

And the final question for you to ask over and over again is, “What is the most valuable use of my time right now?” Since you can only do one thing at a time, you must constantly organize you life so that you are doing one thing, the most important thing, at every moment. Personal time management enables you to choose what to do first, what to do second, and what not to do at all. It enables you to organize every aspect of your life so that you can get the greatest joy, happiness, and satisfaction out of everything you do.

 

I’m here for the App, not the ads!

Sitting with my Elle magazine, I come across a word that I am not familiar with while reading an article. As is my custom, I pull out my handy-dandy iPhone and go to my Dictionary.com app (sincerely, my favourite app in the world. I love words!). I begin typing in my query and hit search. As the definition is about to finish loading, a video pops up on my screen. Usually when this happens, there is a little ‘X’ in the corner that I can hit before some advertiser invades my personal space, but this video did not have that option.

Ok, this is a little annoying. I then realize the sound on my phone is switched on so I can, at least, switch it off to avoid the barrage of sound that I know is coming my way. I hit the switch. The sound still comes. The sound still comes?

Confused and annoyed, I sit through an HP commercial for a laptop that I still don’t know the name of because I was trying to avoid the commercial with great earnest. I just wanted the definition of this word.

I truly understand that the developers of free apps need to be paid somehow, so, like many others, I bear the ads that are placed at the top and bottom of my screen. There are times when I will even click on one of these ads to at least see what they are about. Even the video ads that pop up, I will occasionally endure them knowing that I have the option to end it when I realize that the product that they are demonstrating is simply not for me. But to show me and ad that I cannot escape makes me feel invaded, and like the person who felt it was a good idea to molest my screen in such a way does not have respect for my time.

What I pull from this is that these advertisers feel that they have been ignored for too long and would like for their hard work to be seen, even if it is impeding on the viewer’s personal pursuits. If the advertising makes the viewer uncomfortable is it really doing a good job? The point of advertising is to show consumers what they may need and how this company can better improve their lives. well, my life did not feel like it was being made better by this video pop-up intentionally keeping me away from the word that I was trying to define.

Is this a good enough reason not to buy the product that they are selling? Probably not. But if I were in need of a new laptop that I could enjoy in my school library while sliding across tables and handing it to other people (if you saw the ad, you’ll know what I’m talking about) then I would think twice about this model, as their advertisiment annoyed me.

Better late than never?

I don’t like to be late for meetings. In fact, I’m early. Way early. Almost awkwardly early. So early that I will sit in my car until around 10 minutes before I am expected and then appear. I’ve always known that if you’re early, you’re on time, if you’re on time, you’re late and if you’re late, you never even showed up.

At 9 AM of Friday morning, I was supposed to meet with a potential mentor. I was quite excited about it. While there are things that I know about and can do pertaining to, I am certain there are little aspects that I am probably unprepared for having never been in the field beyond beyond an internship and freelancing.

I found my potential mentor on a few different websites and read about her, figured some questions to ask her, set my alarm clock to 7 and went to sleep around 12. You may think this is a little late to sleep, but by my recent standard (and a study by the Sleep Foundation) this is an adequate amount of sleep and actually, much more than I’m used to.

As the sun was rising, my eyes opened. It was 6:30. A little anxious about the meeting, I didn’t really want to be awake but I could not get back to sleep. When my alarm went off at 7, I hit off, read my Bible and stayed in bed for a second. Apparently, that second was all it took to fall asleep.

As I opened my eyes from what I thought was a blink, I look at the clock. 9:11!!!!!!!!!!!! You can’t be serious!!!!!

I don’t have her phone number (very dumb! If you’re meeting with someone, be sure to exchange numbers) and I live 15 minutes away from where we were to meet.

In a panic, I got out of bed, ran to the bathroom while sending a text to the friend who was kind enough to introduce me to my mentor-to-be and asked for her number. Calling her, I’m trying to figure out what to say, I’ve never actually been late for something like this. I’m not even on the road to at least say that, nope. Standing in the bathroom in a late panic, I call.

She answers and says that she’d only allotted a half an hour for this meeting and we could reschedule.

Yea, that’s great but that first impression, it’s gone!!! Her first experience of me is not young professionalism embodied. Nope. It’s LATE. Just got to love that.

Oh and before you say, “No, Olivia. That’s not what she thinks about you!” consider her email response.

So the idea is to be on time for meetings (a.k.a. early), but I get that stuff happens. However (more than likely) you know you are going to be late before the meeting time, so just give the person a call prior to the meeting and let them know you’re running late.

She then advised me not to make a habit of it and said we could reschedule.

Yup! Late AND irresponsible.

Nice.

Do I need a mentor?

Sitting down to coffee with a friend, she asks me what I have been up to.

“Oh nothing, school, starting a PR business.”

This is met with a smile and nod, nothing new but instead of just telling me how wonderful that is or saying how well I’ll do she responds, “Oh, I’m coalition sisters with the former president of the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society (check ’em out). Actually, the current president, too.” With this she promises to put me in contact with one of them and maybe this opening up to a mentor opportunity. This is amazingly exciting.

I didn’t really think too much about having a mentor. I’ve always felt the best about myself when I have learned what I am doing by myself. While I can work very well with other people, this little twinge of pride does present itself every now and then. I guess it’s time to squash it. The more I think about it, I feel like I mentor would be awesome. There are only so many things you can learn from books and instead of having to experience certain mistakes and failures, I’d be able to learn from someone else about what they have done and why they should or shouldn’t have.

So, I received an email from my friend with a name CC’d that I recognized as beloning to the former PBPRS president. I was so excited, I almost did not know how to respond to the email or go about setting up a meeting. Somehow, I pulled the words together and the date is set for Friday, August 10!

If you can’t tell, I am painfully excited right now. Like what to wear, what to say, do I have questions prepared, apprehensive about whether or not to show up excited! (Of course I’m going to show up! This is a great opportunity that I am truly thankful for and would NOT turn down for almost anything).

Recently, the idea of a mentor has been popping up a lot. One new journalist friend that I was asking about media relations suggested it and I found this and this as I was surfing the business and PR circuit. I guess that settles it: I need a mentor and I think I might find one by Friday.

The question is, will she want to take me on…

I’m part of the elite!

Actually, I’m not yet. It’s interesting when you go to a social networking site and instead of the “become a member” option, you come across “request an invitation.”

Really?

But this is actually incredible marketing!!! What this does is causes users and hopeful users to feel that they are part of something exclusive, rare, elite. They were chosen, invited to be a part of this grand network. How Pinteresting!

In the meantime, as I wait for my acceptance into the oh-so-clandestine society of Pinterest, I started a Twitter. I’m not a big believer in Twitter for a couple of reasons but I will only give the important one: people tweet really stupid, unecessary things. I think that really sums up the frustration that I hold with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that 140 characters can hold a wealth of life-changing, super-important, completely-amazing information but I also believe that many do not know how to utilize language well enough to be finicky about their word choices and even if they are, a lot of people tend to tweet foolishness. Oh yes, but the place that Twitter has in my heart stems from the idea that business can keep their clients abreast of internal happenings very easily and succinctly through Twitter and the news media can quickly transmit messages about exciting and important events. That’s cool.

Is that why I joined Twitter? To follow ABC and INGDirect? No, I did it to build an internet identity, to continue creating my brand and market myself. It’s a strange thing to sell yourself but for the freelancer, it must be done even by means that I am not so sure of.

I hope I can use Pinterest soon :-/

Big dreams, big anxiety?

Well, once again, I’ve been experiencing this mix of great excitement and excrutiating fear. I mean, it’s a great feeling because it moves people and I guess it means that I’m doing the right thing. I’ve heard it said that if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough. Mine keep getting bigger and bigger and I’m not sure how much more of this (good) fear I can handle.

This time though, my fear isn’t so much about PR. It’s about grad school. I’ve decided to pursue a new media journalism degree from Full Sail University. I’m only a few clicks and a fax away from starting classes on Monday. I am rather excited about it all while feeling apprehension. What if my work is not as good as other students? What if I cannot keep up with the material? What if I come across something completely foreign and cannot figure it out?

So many questions, so little time.

This is the part where I have to jump head first into my decisions and try to make the best of everything, learning useful leasons along the way that I will look back on, fondly remembering when I thought I would not be able to overcome. Yeah, that’s great.

Today, I had to go to my undergrad campus for my transcripts and ran into my computer professor. He was sitting in the library, misplaced due to the construction going on around his office. We chatted for a little until he stopped, looked me in the eyes and told me that there were many people he’d spoken to and that they are proud of me for graduating despite all of the obstacles. I certainly had some overcoming to do and, by God’s grace, I did it.

And I’ll do it again and again.

I doubt he knew that this was something I needed to hear today more than most other days. While my dreams scare me and there are a few hurdles to jump in order to make it, I’ve done it before and it can be done again.

There are people silently watching and cheering me on.

Exciting events and fear

I feel like things are falling into place. I have opened an account to save for office space and many other things that I will need, I am planning a few campaigns for the event planning company that I work for, you know stuff to fill my book with, and I have two meetings tomorrow that I hope will turn into clients. Doesn’t it all sound so progressive? I feel like it does anyway but there are times when I think about all that has to be done in order to run a successful business and I am somewhat discouraged. Still, I have business to attend to so there is no time for that.

The first meeting is with a woman I met who has begun making energy bars to sustain herself during her exercises. She’s offered samples to people she has met during her activities and they are a real hit. When we met, she offered me a positon with her assisting in production of her product and also to show her artwork to galleries so that they could exhibit her photography, which is very beautiful by the way. Her talent is nothing short of amazing. I am looking forward to this meeting.

Next, I will be having a phone meeting with a YouTube personality who is looking to establish her brand and market herself appropriately. This one is kind of interesting because when watching her videos and looking at her website, there are so many things that she can do, it’s almost hard to point to one thing and say that is who she is and that is the audience that I will target. Still, it needs to be done. I feel that after she has one personality in the spotlight, she can begin slipping her other talents in little by little.

All of this sounds fine and dandy but like I said before, there are the occasional twinges of fear. My mother and I were talking the other day and I expressed that I like to put my best foot forward at all times and try not to do anything that will embarass myself. For instance, this blog is actually a leap for me. Under normal circumstances, I would not be blogging about an endeavour for fear of public failure but I did it. I started a blog letting anyone who reads it know that I want to open my own public relations firm. Mom told me one simple thing: Do it while you’re afraid.

She’s right. If I never took this first step, I would not still be considering this career path. It’s scary and it’s exciting and I’m all in. Can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow but tonight is preparation: researching the energy snack market and trying to nail down a niche.

Fun stuff.

When I fell in love

It all just seemed so glamourous the way she explained it all. She stood there about 5’8″ in her heels and beautiful black wrap dress, obviously well made as you could see the quality in the barely there stiching. She told the class about her exploits as a publicist for a talent agency called Vanguard and how she balances it all along with being a mother. She almost seemed magical as the words, “Dress like you’re eveyone else’s boss,” came from her mouth. At that moment watching her in my public relations class, I knew what I wanted to do.

She explained that the job was not all glitz and glamour. That you have to fight to earn and keep respect of your peers and media influencers who you want on your side. She told us that your personal life may occasionally take a hit for the sake of your work schedule. That everything she’s gotten, the people she’s met and the things she has, she’s worked for them and it is wholly possible for any of us to do it to.

That was nearly three years ago when I sat in that class room listening to my professor’s good friend and I knew that I would go into public relations.