Absolving PR sins

Andy Green is about to start on his Challenge Your Thinking UK Tour which aims to help PR practitioners reduce compound stupidity with some helpful creative insight.

I’ve suggested to him that as well as collecting examples of stupid thinking, he should issue an amnesty to absolve those who confess to acting daft. To illustrate the point, a couple of good PR confessions appear on blogs today:

  • admits to some spelling howlers following the news Dr Bernard Lamb of Imperial College London intends to shame students who litter their work with spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Over at the an anonymous practitioner owns up to sending the entire media distribution list in the cc rather than bc of an email. [Noted by Judy Gombita]

I remember being told very early on in my PR career, when taking a group of journalists on a car launch not to worry as there was nothing I could do wrong that hadn’t been done before.

Oddly this was very comforting – knowing you are not alone when you make a booboo reminds you that however dreadful your error is, others have survived (unless they are winners of a ).

I’ve always believed that it is better to confess a cock-up and work out how to put it right.  Once I forgot to pick up some VIP journalists and their partners who had arrived very early in the morning for a weekend car launch.  When they phoned to locate the transfer to the hotel, I immediately went into crisis management mode (no, that’s not the same as a panic, but does involve some choice language) and despatched a driver to meet them.

Meanwhile, my colleague (the much missed Lynda Shewan) and I set off in search of flowers to say sorry.  The hotel couldn’t help as their flower supplier, the local fruit and veg shop (this was in deepest Scotland), was too busy serving customers.  Lynda and I set off for the shop where we volunteered to run it whilst the owner kindly made our bouquets.  It was great fun and we paid her generously in exchange.

We arrived back minutes before the guests arrived – and fortunately our gesture of apology was appreciated and a good weekend followed.

But I’ve never forgotten this and perhaps now is the time to have my PR sin absolved.

What about you – anything to confess?

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.

2 thoughts on “Absolving PR sins”

  1. Heather
    I think it’s a great idea about the absolving one’s own stupidity – because at the heart of what I am trying to do with my new Stupid Aid campaign/crusade is to get everyone to recognise we are all capable of being stupid. Indeed, with the growing complexity and faster pace of life we will all inevitably be guilty of more 1 star stupidity (making less than best decisions based on inaccurate, imbalanced, or insufficient information.)
    So, please don’t beat yourself up about doing stupid things – but correct it or learn from it, but fight ‘compound stupidity’ in the world around you. Would love to hear of any more examples of stupid thinking at the web site http://www.stupidaid.com (which was done free for me by a great group of guys at eleventeenth to help raise money for Barnardo’s)

  2. This is an interesting topic – we are all making decisions more quickly which means the lack of time for research and reflection. Also the pace of change makes it difficult for people to stop and learn – we all move on and forget so easily. Until the next problem or stupid decision is made and we realise it has all happened before.

Comments are closed.