What Were They Thinking?





There is an unflattering news clip making the rounds right now of B.C. Premier Christy Clarke’s new communications director. I am sure it is going to be included in every media training session for the next decade – it is a perfect example of what not to do. If you haven’t seen it, you can view it here.



I have an entire rant about how valuable journalists are to a free and just society and how I believe communicators and journalists actually work in partnership (we don’t always have to agree or even like each other, but we do have work together). The actions of this communicator go against everything I believe you should do in media relations. But that’s not what I am going to talk about today. Today, inspired by this video, I want to go back to some common courtesies of communication. The basics.



I am often amazed (and appalled) at the lack of courtesy and common decency that I see in the world. Seemingly small things like please and thank you. Holding a door so that the person behind you doesn’t get it slammed on them. Responding to an email or phone call in a timely fashion. Showing up on time to meetings and appointments… the list goes on.



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I am sitting in a ferry lineup as I write this blog post. I commute from Gibsons, BC – a pretty little seaside town on the Sunshine Coast that is only a 40-minute ferry ride from West Vancouver. We have our AHA office in Gibsons and we have a business development office in Vancouver. (I am rarely in the Vancouver office because I go to the offices of our clients.)



We have an Internet stick that I use when I commute, when I travel, and even if we are out and about on the Sunshine Coast and I might need to do something for a client. My computer and Internet stick are my constant companions. I have spent most of my life travelling for work or for pleasure; and when you run your own agency and are a bit of a control freak like me – when you travel for pleasure, you are often working too.



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For some reason, we are experiencing an increase in those time-wasting, frustrating, painful calls from telemarketers that try to sell you something that you don’t want and you don’t need. We’re also getting companies that want us to send business their way because “we’re good” and “your clients would be happy using our services.” (Really? Is that why I get up in the morning? To introduce you, someone I don’t know, to the clients we have built strong relationships with over many years???)



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My friend, mentor and former boss, Della Smith of Q Workshops, is a smart cookie. She may, in fact, be the smartest person I have ever met. (And I have met a lot of really, really smart people!)



Now, I am not sure I would put Della up against Jeopardy genius Ken Jennings—that’s just a different kind of smart (and one that I believe has more to do with memory than anything else). But I have seen Della in a wide range of scenarios—from dealing with an organization facing a huge crisis to sipping a cold beverage at an outdoor patio on a hot summer day—and along with her strategic, steel trap of a mind… There is something else, something special and rare and well, simple, that is the foundation of her style of genius (and her success). She is a relationship builder.



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