I also realized that this is something I need to give more emphasis to, especially for students in my Public Relations Concentration at Curry College. These troops rely on me to give them a good dose of reality as we cover everything from “here’s what public relations is” to “here’s how to create winning materials to support a client’s or employer’s goals” and on and on and on.
Those folks (clients/employers)…who sign the checks that make it possible for us to buy food and beverage…rely on us to produce plans that turn into programs that result in increased visibility or increased sales or increased public approval. That’s what we do. We help others succeed!
This doesn’t mean that each and every plan or program is guaranteed to be a smashing success (although it would be totally cool if that were the case!). Some things really should never see the light of day.
What it means for us, as the creator or champion of a plan or program, is that we accept full responsibility for its success or failure. And we have to be willing to say that something we suggested is actually not going to be the smashing success we initially thought it would be.
Better to pull the plug now than to invest more time and money in something that, love it though we may, is not going to deliver value.
This is tough, I know. I, for one, take total ownership of every single thing I produce. If it’s good, I bask in the warmth of success. If it’s a dud, I suck it up and try to figure out how to do better the next time.
But someone else is waiting for something to happen. And, as I have learned from painful experience, he or she is not going to be a happy camper when nothing happens and there’s no warning.
I’ve also learned that the (usually brief) moment of unhappiness when I deliver the “it ain’t gonna happen and here’s why” news is a lot more pleasant than what could easily turn into a l-o-o-n-n-n-g-g-g-g period of extreme unhappiness because he or she didn’t know what the situation actually was.
For students in internships, this can be a “learning experience” that will serve them well in the future. They will have learned the true value of clear communication. They will have realized that the world isn’t perfect, and things do go kerfluey from time to time.
More important, they will understand…before they venture into the “real world,” that “actions do speak louder than words.” It’s about delivery…of the product……of the promise…of the message.