Every so often in public relations, we have news about our clients that we’d like to share with media but also keep confidential until a certain time. If the news leaks, it might not be the timing or message you and your client wanted. There are several preventative measures we can take as PR pros to make sure the news doesn’t leak. Here are a few.
Have a detailed plan. Of exactly who you’re sharing the news with. Make sure your team is aligned.
Make everyone you come across sign an NDA. Before you tell them anything. This includes reporter and any third party vendors that are involved with your campaign.
Be very clear. State in every email that the news is confidential and can’t be shared until X date. This saves your back.
Shred all materials. You never know who will end up with your trash. Don’t leave paperwork lying around.
Reiterate the embargo. Until your face is blue.
Be extremely careful when hitting send. You can’t take back any emails.
Monitor social media. An easy place for news to spread.
Last week, my dear friend and favorite blogger, Nichole of Vanilla Extract, was in town for New York Fashion Week. During her stay, she brought her San Francisco style to the streets of New York City and we couldn’t be more obsessed.
Each season change I go through a crazy cash crisis. I want to spend my rent on a new wardrobe, but I’d also like to eat more than garbanzo beans and ramen for the next month (not to mention indulge in a little football viewing… it is autumn after all). Especially this season, when there are so many new trends to indulge in and keep for the coming months and years (the Chelsea boot – hello!!).
Instead of denying yourself any shopping this season, you just need to go about it the smart way. I’m lucky that I work downtown on 5th avenue, so I’m able to scope out all the best places and comparison shop. You can also check out my shopping Pinboard for some inspiration. As the temperatures cool off the coming weeks, here’s where you can find some of this season’s best trends:
Leather Jackets, leather pants, mixed materials – I’m loving this trend. I’ve been holding back on buying a leather jacket until I find the perfect one, but I’ve seen a lot of great shapes. Try Piperlime, H&M (awesome, affordable pants) and Free People
Slouchy sweaters, and crisp sweater suits – Slouchy sweaters started to have their moment last winter, but cozy knits are in full swing to balance out trendy jeans and leather pants. Try Old Navy for basics, or Joe Fresh for affordable cashmere or fun, 70′s-esque sweater suits
Boots – This year, I’m going back and forth between a must have boot purchase. Riding boots have had a run as a classic for the past 8 years at least, but the surge of Chelsea boots are a great basic too. Nine West has great quality and prices so you don’t have to sacrifice both. Also check out Zara for simple styles and great construction at a good price point
Bags – Big and structured is best for work this season, while the cross-body is still having its moment. Try Asos and Zara for stylish bags without the designer pricetag
Sales! – Some of your favorite stores are already going into sale mode to prep for the holiday shopping season. J.Crew and J.Crew Factory are both having crazy store-wide sales this week. Banana Republic and Loft, awesome for work or interview attire, are also slashing prices
A question we often receive – how do I ask for a raise? It’s something many of us have to do throughout our careers. And something I personally dread since I hate talking money. If you’ve put your time and hard work in and feel you’re deserving of a raise, here a few tips that might help you along.
Make sure the time is right. Find out when your company usually gives promotions and raises.
Assess yourself. Look at the work you’re doing and be honest with yourself. Are you meeting all of your positions needs? Attributing to your clients success? Make sure you’re really deserving of a raise. If not, wait and start improving yourself.
Determine what you want. Have a solid number in mind. And be able to support it.
Speak with your manager. Discuss the assessment of yourself in person and why you think you’re deserving of the raise. See what his/her immediate feedback is and if they’re on the same page.
Be open to negotiation. They may be able to offer you something else besides money. Extra vacation and other benefits.
Be patient and prepared. Raises don’ t happen overnight. Also don’t be offended if you get any push back. There are a lot of reasons why the raise won’ t be able to happen at that time.
September has already been a blur. Before Fashion Week one of my biggest clients was in town, then followed by a weekend full of runway presentations and events, which drove me into sickness for the next week. I haven’t been able to catch up on sleep or a proper daily routine ever since, and it is really affecting my productivity overall. While we like to think of ourselves as PR warriors, every warrior needs to take a rest. And there are right and wrong ways to go about it.
Since I’ve gotten a bit older, I’ve learned that listening to my instincts about what my body and mind needs is really what leads to the best results. Sometimes, all you feel like doing is sitting on your couch and watching Scandal for 10 hours. Sometimes, this really wouldn’t be the most productive or beneficial way to bounce back from a slump. Here are some low-key, low-commitment ways you can treat yourself right and get back into an ass-kicking routine.
Find your favorite tea – One of my favorite things to do is sit on my couch with Pinterest or the Food Network and test out a new tea flavor. Tea is like a warm bath for your insides. Weird, but soothing
Change out your closet – With the seasons change, it’s time to take care of your clothes and redefine your style. Pack up your shorts and flip flops, and donate any clothes that don’t fit your professional and personal aesthetic any longer
Go for a walk – Fresh air is amazing. It cleans out your lungs and your mind, and straightens your spine
Make something healthy – Soup has been on my mind about 24/7 with the weather even getting just a little bit cooler. There are a bunch of recipes I want to try in a crock-pot or on the stove
Find a new book, and nap – I was reading religiously in August, but work caught up to me and I find I’m missing it terribly. Nothing is better on a Thursday evening or Saturday afternoon than starting a book and taking a quick cat nap in between chapters
One thing I’ve be adamant about since I left my last agency job nearly 4 months ago is keeping in touch with my old co-workers. Since I’d worked with many of them for over three years, I didn’t want to lose touch and lose those relationships. We all know that it’s important to keep good relationships with your peers, since your paths may cross again, but carving out time to see everyone can be difficult. Here’s how I’ve found ways to keep in touch.
Calendar reminders – Mark down who you’d like to see this month. Don’t brush this off.
Morning coffee sessions – Before the rush of the day begins, pick a middle point between your old and new office to catch up.
After work dinner – Have a night without any events? Meet up with one of your old co-workers to chit chat about your new gig.
Office events – Invite them to any events you’re new office is throwing. They will do the same in return.
At home parties – Throw a get together on an off night to see everyone. Make sure old co-workers are invited to your housewarmings, holiday parties, etc.
On a whim – Realize late minute you’re getting out of the office early? Shoot a text to see if anyone can meet up. Or pop by your old office.
How do you keep in touch with your old co-workers?
If you follow me on Pinterest, you know I have a fascination with anything a bit vintage when it comes to decor and fashion -60′s and 70′s especially. One of the looks I can not give up from the summer, no matter what time of year, is a fabulous tunic. A little bit beatnik, a little bit surfer girl, a great embroidered tunic gives a care free but cleaned-up vibe you can wear year round. When one of our favorite designers, Jules Reid, released the Margaret tunic, it was love at first sight. I plan on wearing mine with leggings and tuxedo loafers when running errands or hosting game night at the apartment. Also would be great with boyfriend jeans and a messy bun for brunch with the girls!
Ladies, there is no reason to schlum around in a sweatshirt when running errands (ahem, you may just run into Mr. Dreamboat in line at Whole Foods). Check out the new Margaret tunic here.
You can shop all Jules Reid looks on the website here – they’re also having a 70% off sale you have to check out!
Yesterday I read an article from the Wall Street Journal that was about the biggest office interruptions. It’s something we can all relate to – disturbing your cubemates, gchatting and logging onto Facebook. But what can we do to prevent it? The below article explores what happens when we get distracted and several ideas to prevent it. Including a do not disturb sash I’m seriously thinking of getting. Keep this article in mind the next time you distract one of your co-workers.
The big push in office design is forcing co-workers to interact more. Cubicle walls are lower, office doors are no more and communal cafes and snack bars abound.
Like most grand social experiments, though, open-plan offices bring an unintended downside: pesky, productivity-sapping interruptions.
The most common disruptions come from co-workers, as tempting as it is to blame email or instant messaging. Face-to-face interruptions account for one-third more intrusions than email or phone calls, which employees feel freer to defer or ignore, according to a 2011 study in the journal Organization Studies.
Other research published earlier this year links frequent interruptions to higher rates of exhaustion, stress-induced ailments and a doubling of error rates.
It’s easy to turn to a neighbor for, say, tips on how to tweak a spread sheet or where to go for lunch. But such interruptions—which many feel it would be rude to rebuff—nibble away at the ability to stay on task.
There’s a range of compensating behaviors. Some wear headphones. Some invent “do-not-disturb” signals like wearing hats or armbands, or stretching yellow barricade tape around their cubicles. More employers are training co-workers to communicate differently, and to limit unscheduled meetings.
Registered nurse Yvette Juarbe wears a ‘no-interruption’ sash while preparing medications for patients at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center in California.
Employees in cubicles are interrupted 29% more often than those in private offices, research from the University of California, Irvine, shows. Intercubicle traffic at one telecommunications company peaked daily from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., when employees played music, talked over cubicle walls or walked among each other’s desks, according to the research published in Organization Studies.
Such patterns can be costly. Employees who experienced frequent interruptions reported 9% higher rates of exhaustion—almost as big as the 12% increase in fatigue caused by oversize workloads, according to a survey of 252 working adults published recently in the International Journal of Stress Management. Interruptions also sparked a 4% increase in physical ailments such as migraines or backaches, says the study.
Error rates skyrocket after interruptions. Participants in a recent 300-person study were asked to perform a sequence of computer tasks, such as identifying with a keystroke whether a letter was closer to the start or the end of the alphabet. After even a brief interruption of about 2.8 seconds, when they were asked to type two letters, the subjects made twice as many errors, says the study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
“Two seconds is long enough to make people lose the thread,” says Erik Altmann, a psychology professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing, and the study’s lead author.
To make matters worse, it takes more than 25 minutes, on average, to resume a task after being interrupted. After resuming a complex task such as design or programming, says Tom DeMarco, co-author of “Peopleware,” a book on productivity now in its third edition, it takes an additional 15 minutes to regain the same intense focus or “flow” as before the interruption, based on an 800-employee study for the book.
While another study by Dr. Altmann found people working in controlled laboratory conditions were capable of getting back up to speed on complex computer tasks within 15 seconds of being interrupted, few people actually dive right back into a demanding task after an intrusion. Most employees attend to two or more other tasks first, research shows. “It takes effort to get back into it. That work is aversive, so you start checking your email,” Dr. Altmann says.
In some professions, breaks in concentration can result in serious consequences. Nurses at 24 Kaiser Permanente hospitals wear bright-colored sashes or vests to prevent interruptions while they are preparing medications for patients, says Scott Heisler, a registered nurse and innovation specialist for the nonprofit health plan and hospital system based in Oakland, Calif.
Some Kaiser hospitals also mark off “no-interruption zones” near medication dispensaries, using red floor tape or different-colored floor tiles, he says. Mr. Heisler says Kaiser got the idea for the program from federal regulators’ “sterile-cockpit rule” for the airline industry, which prohibits interrupting pilots during critical times, such as takeoffs and landings.
A variety of quirky solutions are being marketed to cubicle dwellers. CubeGuard, of San Jose, Calif., makes neon-yellow plastic “do not disturb” barricade tape, to block off cubicle entries.
More than 6,500 workers each year download a free “Interrupters’ Log Worksheet” from MindTools.com, a career-skills website, to help them analyze the sources of interruptions and either eliminate or reorganize them to save time, says James Manktelow, chief executive of Mind Tools.
One way people can dive back into a task more quickly and reduce errors, research shows, is by bookmarking their place, marking the next step with a large, bright symbol such as a red arrow.
A few have you may already have been working hard over the summer to land the internships you’re starting this fall. If so, good for you! You’re kicking off the year on a high note, and about to learn some invaluable lessons you may never learn in a classroom.
If you haven’t scored an internship for the fall yet, but you look at your peers enviously when they head off to the city for work before class, it’s not too late! Here are a couple ways you can still get an internship for the fall season.
Look for smaller companies that may always need help – The bigger companies and organizations probably began looking for an intern over the summer. Your best bet is to look at smaller agencies (any place with under 50 people in the office) who may be looking for an extra set of hands and a quick brain year round.
Start with small projects – Maybe a boutique agency needs someone after Fashion Week or for a big event they have coming up. Perhaps a firm needs an admin after taking on a large client. Look for notices about needing help for a short-term project. You can still learn a lot, even if the job only lasts a couple weeks
Check out Twitter and Social media – Make sure you are checking all avenues for notices about job openings. Follow blogs or websites that post random job listings as they come in (@nycprgirls posts jobs every now and then!)
Consider something a bit out of your wheelhouse – Even if you’re POSITIVE you want to be in fashion PR, or thought you would never end up in a marketing office, weigh out your options if you find an opening in something a little outside of your “dream job.” You will definitely learn something new, and you never know where it could lead. Hey, it’s worth the interview practice anyway.
I’d like to think that Adrianna and I are a special breed of PR girl. We like to look at the bright side, we almost always have a smile on our face, and we think there is fun to be had in almost any situation. Public relations professionals have a bad rep of being pushy, demanding, and cut-throat, so why add to this unattractive stereotype?
There are instances when a girl needs to stand up for herself. Especially in a client services industry like PR, it is easy to be taken advantage of or led into unfavorable circumstances if you’re not careful. Of course, there is a right and a wrong way to go about it.
Here are a few signs you need to get tough:
You feel you’re being dismissed – A person isn’t paying attention to you, you have been told you’re being taken care of and see no results, a solution needs to be found ASAP
Your needs are really important – A client is depending on you, there are finances involved, a contract is being misused or ignored, your career/job depends on it
You’ve done all you can, and now you need support - If you’ve carried your weight and you’re depending on action from others, it’s time to get movin’
Here’s how to get tough, the right way:
Use a stern voice – No yelling. Ever. Your professional life is not the time to let loose and scream (unless its at your computer). You can use a hard tone and strong wording (no swearing)
Drop the C word, or the R word. - Contract. Responsibility. These are big flags with the PR world. Calling out a breach in contract is serious business
Make sure all parties are aware of what’s going on – Supervisors, assistants, professors, deans… be sure they know you contacted the appropriate person to solve an issue and you are trying to resolve the problem. They can throw their weight around as well