What wouldn’t I do for PR and more?

Ellee Seymour has tagged me on her post to list 10 things I’d never do – so I thought I’d answer this professionally and personally.  My 10 public relations no-no’s are:

  1. Lie – I could never be a celebrity publicist as I think honesty is an essential part of my own reputation

  2. Break a promise – when I tell you I’ll do something, I’m as good as my word (and if for some reason I can’t deliver as promised, I’ll tell you so immediately)

  3. Get drunk on duty – I can never understand anyone who sees free booze as an invitation to get blathered

  4. Steal someone else’s ideas – I believe you should always give credit when its due and it will come back to you

  5. Abandon a friend (or client) – if you need someone in a crisis, I’m your woman

  6. Work without clearly defined “roles and responsibilities” – I believe its fair to everyone if you set out at the start the exact parameters of a project

  7. Put up with bad debt – big organisations are the worst, and some are on my blacklist – why should little me paying my way help their corporate cashflow?

  8. Work for morons or people I didn’t like – life is just too short

  9. Hold anyone down – I believe in promoting talent, so if I work with you and you’re good, I’ll tell the world like your personal PR

  10. Play snakes and ladders – you meet everyone twice, once on the way up and again on the way down (I’ve met too many prima donnas who forget this)

My personal top 10 things I’d never do are:

  1. Take drugs – apart from the odd glass of alcohol, as I believe you can get the best high on a clear head

  2. Steal – I work hard for everything I have in life, and would never take something that belonged to anyone else without their permission

  3. Sing in public – I’d make a marvellous X-Factor outtake

  4. Say no to a good opportunity – you never know what’s around the corner and where an interesting suggestion could lead

  5. Live without music and lyrics – even if I can only play them in my head

  6. Knowingly discriminate against anyone on grounds other than that they are proven to be an idiot!

  7. Give up my personal, private, favourite pleasures

  8. Go a day without reading – even if just a cereal packet

  9. Stop having good – and rubbish – ideas

  10. Deliberately let someone down if I could possibly help it – and there are a few very special people for whom I’d do anything, no matter what, even if it hurt

What would you never do? 

Published by

Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.

10 thoughts on “What wouldn’t I do for PR and more?”

  1. I’d never write something that I knew would be to the detriment of the people I’ve quoted. I’m lucky, my words are never altered – apart from the odd typo I may have missed of course. The subby doesn’t have to do much when my copy arrives. Being freelance means I can write about what I want basically.

    Reputation means everything – mine and the people I write about.

    I take pleasure in sending people hard copies of what I’ve written.

  2. Sometimes we might have to say things that people don’t like, but of course, we should be cognisant of giving everyone a chance to have their voice heard. It is a useful reminder to think about the impact of our words on others and whether they have a right to reply.

  3. Talking of a right to reply, I read a letter in yesterdays Independent letters page argueing that a hospital’s patient had been treated fairly despite what the grandaughter said, who was Janet Street Porter, who’d previously criticised the hospital through her column. The hospital in question had also said they’d been cirticised through an opinion column in the same paper. The hospital said they’d had no right of reply apart from through the letters page.

    Not given the right of reply in an actual story, does this mean that the only way the hospital’s PR department could fight their corner was through the letters page? Or, does this demonstrate the clever use of the letters pages by PRs in general?

  4. JSP is entitled to her view and to recount her experience – giving her a privilege that other patients don’t get. I sympathise with the hospital PRs faced with such high-profile patient relatives – but the letters page is a forum through which they can get across their perspective.

    I have to wonder why if JSP had previously criticised the hospital, the PR team hadn’t been more aware of the likelihood of the story being revisited and perhaps opening themselves up further to discussion rather than going for a denial strategy which is likely to infuriate JSP and possibly lead to other patients writing about their stories.

  5. I’m not sure In fully understand. How could the hospital open up to further discussion when their view wasn’t asked for in the opinion piece or the JSP column?

  6. You implied this wasn’t the first time that JSP had criticised the hospital – so in which case, one would have expected that the PR department discussed this with the management who were responsibile for her relative’s care and also sought to discuss the issue with JSP. Even if this was the first time she’d written about it, the hospital could, indeed, should, have communicated with her outside of the pages of the newspaper.

    JSP is no different in many ways to anyone else with a complaint – it is better to have dialogue and look at how the situation can be resolved (2-way symmetric). I am sure that someone like JSP who is quite prepared to get involved would have welcomed the chance to meet and talk with the senior hospital management to look at how the issues she raised could be addressed. If she was engaged in improving the situation, it would be likely that a more positive column would emerge in due course which made the hospital look responsive not beligerent.

    Very little is to be gained from what is in effect parallel one-way communications through newsprint – certainly it can be seen as rhetoric from both sides enabling the public to make up their own mind. In that case – it would depend on trust and reputation. Is that something the NHS and this hospital would come out well from?

  7. Heather, Thank you for following through with this, you are a good sport.

    I would never take on a client unless I was totally sure I could deliver what I promised, I would never misrepresent myself.

  8. Thank you very much, I didn’t think of the alternatives for the hospital after they were excluded from the one-way persuasive newspaper dialogue.

    I don’t think the NHS would come out well if public opinion depended solely on the rhetorical direction of the articles no; public faith isn’t strong enough.

  9. How are you? How is the family? The wee one wont be so little now?
    I was recently writing for the Scotsman Publications.

    Tell me, what brings you to the green banana blog? Doing some homework for Mercedes?

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