FORUM Fall 2016 - Page 3

help . I like to have one cup of coffee before I do any work , and watch the morning news . Take your time with the first cup . Allow yourself to wake up . Then I pour my second cup and take it to my desk .
Duhigg says in his book that the real power of habit is , “ the insight that your habits are what you choose them to be .” You are more in control than you think , and you really can change your habits with simple cues — the first cup of coffee — and small rewards — the satisfaction of crossing items off the list . But for some , crossing items off of the list isn ’ t reward enough . To jump-start the habit , you may need a stronger reward to start , like treating yourself to an episode of your favorite show if you complete a certain item or number of items . Whatever reward you choose , try to keep it consistent so the habit loop continues to get stronger and your productivity does as well .
I also live by deadlines . Deadlines remind me that after that time , my task will be completed and I ’ ll have free time to spend on myself . But deadlines work best when they have a level of accountability behind them . For some it may be impressing a supervisor by getting it done early and for others it may be the motivation to not let someone down . Sometimes I set my own deadlines
, even when it ’ s not required . For example , if someones asks you to complete a task but doesn ’ t give you a deadline , try to respond that you ’ ll have that action item done by tomorrow evening . Get specific with these deadlines . If you say it will be done by 5 p . m ., it may keep you on schedule .
Now that we ’ ve created productive habits and crossed all of those items off of our to-do list , let ’ s take time to make time for ourselves . The word “ unplug ” may trigger shock for many of you . For this generation , putting away our technology and communicative devices is a serious challenge . However , a recent Kent State University study showed that those categorized as “ high-use ” smartphone owners actually experienced more stress and anxiety during their leisure time . Reserve an evening during the week and a day during the weekend that you completely unplug and quiet your mind . Instead , have a meaningful conversation with a friend or read that book that ’ s been sitting on your nightstand for months .
Set your out-of-office email and abide by it . If you ’ re truly taking
time off for yourself , and you ’ ve illustrated that in your automated response , people will understand . For compulsive email refreshers like myself , this isn ’ t easy , but you ’ ll be glad you did . Just like your body , your mind needs rest . Plan a weekend vacation , or staycation , and absolutely relax . Spend time with friends or family or just take a much-deserved nap . Whatever you do , do it for yourself .
No , really , take a walk . Or a hike . Or a bike ride . Just take a moment to look around you . Listen to music or a podcast while you do it if you ’ d like . Bring a friend and catch up . Or don ’ t and take in your surroundings completely on your own . But literally just get outside and move .
These tips and habits I ’ ve discussed should help you work smarter , not harder , so you have more time to do the things that make you happy . “ Habits , scientists say , emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort ,” Duhigg says . Get in the habit of being productive , do your work and do it well , then take a moment to enjoy yourself .
The deadline to register for the 2016 National Conference is Friday , Sept . 16 . Visit the Conference website for more information and to register now .


Public relations is not a new profession , but it is ever-changing and developing to better suit the world we live in . The Public Relations Society of America ( PRSA ) defines public relations as “ a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics .” Simply put , public relations is a communications process tasked with fostering and maintaining relationships between a business , company or organization and those they want to connect with .
Even still , this definition doesn ’ t tell those who are unfamiliar with the profession what we do or how we do it . This lack of familiarity with public relations , a profession based on communication , trust and authenticity , often leads to misunderstandings and misrepresentations by those who don ’ t understand it . Here are three myths surrounding the public relations
profession — busted .


It ’ s all about “ spin .”

There is a common belief that public relations professionals make a living by telling lies and spinning the truth . This is untrue . The bottom line is , public relations professionals utilize a strategic communication process to effectively do their job . This process often begins with determining what the facts are and forging the most appropriate path toward moving forward after a crisis or situation arises . While the goal is ultimately to maintain the existing positive relationship between an organization and its publics , no quality , longterm solution could ever be found in fabricated reports or deceitful messaging . Organizations maintain credibility and respect of both
customers and competitors when they are straightforward and honest , not only in times of trouble , but in day-to-day communication . It wouldn ’ t be in an organization ’ s best interest to approach these situations in any other way .


Public Relations

is just a lot of talking . Anyone could do that .

It is generally agreed that there are four guiding principles to the public relations process : research , planning , execution and evaluation . While various methods of communication are integral in each of these areas , there are also a wide array of other skills at play . Before pen is put to paper for a communications plan or press release , pages upon pages of primary and secondary research must be reviewed and assessed in order to determine
what is relevant to an ongoing situation .
Public relations requires a substantial amount of listening , too . Unlike advertising , where communication between brand and consumer is calculated , controlled and carefully monitored , public relations relies on the relationships built by conversations , branded reputations and a solid communications plan . Creating strategic messaging doesn ’ t just mean talking . It means taking a step back , evaluating the goals of an organization and creating a response that rings true to its core values and resonates with its publics .



only need public relations if there ’ s something to hide .

At its core , this profession
is focused on building positive relationships between an organization and its publics — a process that requires a great deal of time , transparency and mutual trust over the course of many weeks , months and years . While public relations is a helpful tool when a crisis does develop , its foundation in these situations is not to “ cover up ” what has happened but to assess the situation and then create and coordinate a plan to improve it . There is no shortage of misunderstandings and misrepresentations of the public relations profession , and the only way to bust these myths is by living and working in a way that promotes the best of the industry .
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