Snack Attack

The Media Snacker Respect meme started by Jerimiah Owyang is now at my blog doorstep courtesy, friend and mentor, Kami Huyse.

Communicators Anonymous caters to snackers by posting my del.icio.us feed in the left bar of blog. The feed does not clutter my posts and is updated real-time. Don’t have time to get to know me and the feel of the blog? Follow me via Twitter, also in the left bar. Notice I have few categories listed in CA blog. I want to make sure my APR experience and CA Twelve Steps are the core focus of blog.

As a teacher of evening college classes, I know my students are eager for information, but don’t have the leisure to peruse the Internet or the skills to wade through Social Media. Marcom Colloquy also displays my del.icio.us feed, but the path is to purpose-built pages like this one for an upcoming marketing sales management course.

And now I will carry on the meme by tagging fellow instructor Karen Russell and one of my favorite PR voices, Ike Pigott. Healthy snacking to all!

The Golden Ticket

I was very lucky to have Samra (Sam) Jones Bufkins as a member of my Readiness Review panel. Sam was greatly encouraging and candid about areas I needed to improve. This year, she has lit the way for those contemplating an APR. In response to last week’s Dallas PRSA Communications Summit, Sam sent this email to perspective APR candidates. Sam has consented to post her message on this blog. Thank you!

Hi, y’all–it was great to see so many of you at Friday’s Communicators Summit. For those of you who couldn’t make it, attached are the handouts from the APR session.

Based on feedback from the group, the major theme I hear from APR prospects is "When will I have the time to do this?" So, in the spirit of blogging here are my thoughts.

If we are committed to something, we MAKE the time, whether it’s getting a master’s degree, redecorating the house, training for a triathlon, or getting our APR. I look at the things I want to do, and realize that the time spent procrastinating, avoiding, and making excuses for why I can’t do them would probably be enough time to lay out a plan and START doing them.

(How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!) When we have multiple commitments at work, we prioritize–isn’t that usually a box checked off in the performance appraisal? And Oprah and Dr. Phil and others tell us we should do it in our personal life, too–prioritize. Sometimes prioritizing means putting something on the back burner for the time being. So, I’ll ask you all to take a realistic look at your personal and professional life and see where getting your APR really does fit into your priorities. That should be the first step in your plan.

Plan–yes, we’re communicators, and we all work within the framework of plans every day. Set out a plan for your APR study. Try this–go to

www.praccreditation.org

, click on "Become an APR" and download the Readiness Review Questionnaire. Schedule some time alone to complete that questionnaire as if you were doing it for real. You might also download the KSAs/Competencies tested as a guide while completing the questionnaire. You can’t do this in an hour–block out some time each day for as many days as it can take to complete it. Set a deadline, and reward yourself, if necessary. When you’re done with the questionnaire, let it rest for at least 24 hours, then revisit it with the KSAs and possibly the Readiness Review Score Sheet at hand. Give yourself a really honest critique. Then give it (and the KSAs,

etc.) to a trusted APR to review and comment on. I don’t know anybody with their APR who isn’t willing to help–you can pick one you know, pick one at random from the membership directory, or let me know and I’ll find you a mentor. So many of you ask if this experience "counts" or worry that your past experience is appropriate. Worrying won’t change anything, so channel that worry into positive energy and self-assessment–completing the questionnaire will clear up a lot of your concerns, help you identify areas you need to work on, and guide you in your plan to become an APR.

After you’ve done this initial, personal assessment of your readiness, lay out your plan for the next steps.

That could be to pull together a portfolio that illustrates the questionnaire, send in your application fee to the Universal Accreditation Board, and schedule a readiness review with the chapter APR chair. You may also decide that you need more experience in a particular area and ask for more responsibility at work, or volunteer for a non-profit organization that needs your help. You could also sign up for the online course and take that to brush up on terminology and skills–some people do that before the readiness review, others find it more valuable after. Find a study buddy (I can help you there, too) and start an informal study group with one or more of the recommended texts. There are a lot of options at that point, but the advantage of doing this exercise NOW is that you’ll get past the first hurdle without eating into the one year time frame that starts with your application to the UAB. You’ll feel more confident in your readiness, and more focused on what you need to do next.

Reace said it best in her talk about recently taking the APR exam–it’s a big elephant, so pick a bite and go for it.

I’m here for you, so don’t hesitate to yell any time you have questions or concerns. I really, really want to see each of you an APR, hopefully by this time next year. I truly believe that is possible, too.

Regards–Sam

Book Review: Fire Them Up!

Fire Them Up! by Carmine Gallo

Fire_up_book Many motivation books say the exact same thing over and over again. What was that penguin book? I am always reading something. Fiction or not, the book must inspire me to keep flipping the page. Monday, 8 October, I could not put down Fire Them Up! by Carmine Gallo. To put it simply, I was fired up!

For me, Monday was a government holiday and an extra day to mentally prepare myself for a busy week. This year has been full of ups and downs and anything but simple. In 212 pages, seven simple secrets to inspire colleagues, customers and clients; sell yourself, your vision, and your values; and communicate with charisma is revealed.

"Few of us will live at a confluence of history where we can unleash previously untapped powers to change the world, but we are all catalysts of change for the people around us."

Passion is not a dirty word. Dreams are not silly. In one book, Gallo lights the way to a better future with stories and lessons learned from past and present leaders. The book is an easy read, full of lists and real life examples to become a better storyteller.

The holiday season is often a spark plug for stress and distress. I recommend you self-medicate and rejuvenate your spirit with this book.

Disclaimer: Carmine Gallo did provide me a complimentary copy of this book for review.

Making a Difference

This weekend my friend and I attended a Scrap-a-Thon for Breast Cancer Research. It was fun and we raised quite a bit of money! This was the best charity event I have attended. It feels good to be part of a cause.

Dsc00770 (Me on the right.)

As CA Readers, you know I write about the Steps we need to take to repair our industry education and perception. The Cause motivates me to listen, learn and stand up for my beliefs. This is why I find it strange that I send a message to Dallas PRSA Leadership about volunteering for a local communications summit and receive no response. None. Several messages were sent over time to different members.

My time, just like yours, is precious.

Conversation with the Boss

A relaxed work atmosphere may inspire creativity, but does this environment foster respect? Some lessons you have to learn the hard way. Don’t let the conversation with the boss bring your career to a halt.

  1. Don’t gossip. It doesn’t matter how big the company is or if you are only talking with "friends", stop the water cooler talk. What you say will always be taken out of context and come back to haunt you in this job or the next. Remember, you never know who will be your next boss. Also, be careful of your digital identity. Don’t vent about your boss online in your blog. Save it for your journal or confession.
  2. Don’t become personally involved. Set boundaries. An occasional drink with the team after completing a milestone is OK, but don’t make it a habit. Leave the drama at home. This means physically, verbally and digitally. A conversation with your best friend over the phone discussing your previous night’s adventures is not what your boss needs to overhear.
  3. Don’t tattle. Settle disputes amongst one another and take responsibility. Be the bigger person. Your boss is managing so many relationships, does she have to manage yours?

More things NOT to say to your boss:

Zany: Keeping it real

This weekend was husband and child-free. Without guilt, I read a good book (fiction) and played on my laptop. It was del.icio.us! StumbleUpon kept me occupied for three hours. I was still in Internet oblivion when my Mom called. Immediately, I chatter away about my blog plans, cool Facebook add-ons I just found and trying to convince Mom to download StumbleUpon.

My Mom thinks I am speaking Greek. I should have known better. My Mom is anti-Internet; she just figured out email and is incredibly afraid of identity fraud. I received a twenty minute lecture about the problem with the world today is no one knows what is real or virtual. According to her, I am being sucked into the "Internet vortex" and assimilated. If Mom only knew…

What would I do without an Internet connection? I was looking for fingerprint painting ideas for daughter when I stumbled upon this…my Mom has to agree this is awesome!