As candidates sprint from the traditional Labor Day starting line and push off from their national nominating conventions, another election race breaks into a full sweat with the usual overheated rhetoric and unremitting puffery. Despite the racket of all those feet (and mouths) flapping across the landscape, this season is a good time for each of us as communicators to mimic the political candidates and issue a pledge to our publics as well, a promise to make our efforts count and to improve on our past records.
Moving out front and remaining there—in politics and public relations alike—require that we take a stand for quality, diligence and timeliness. For those who elect to trust their communications to us in the PR and marketing world, we must continue our efforts to transform the middle class into world-class communications by standing on the following eight-plank platform:
- We promise to proofread not only our client’s articles but also the emails we attach them to so that we don’t look like idiots.
- We promise not just to make stuff up but rather to do a thorough and professional job of reporting before we begin writing.
- We promise to develop and share a set of questions before each interview we conduct with our clients to ensure we are using their time effectively and that we are complete in our information-gathering for client communications.
- We promise never to invite a client or colleague to a meeting without an agenda that clearly states objectives, roles and timeframes.
- We promise to help our clients engage in social media, not just shout commercials into cyberspace.
- We promise to write in the active voice and paint pictures with our words, rather than spread obfuscation with contorted sentence structure.
- We promise to avoid trite phrases like the plague and not to use unnecessarily repetitious redundant words over and over again, time after time.
- We promise to listen more than we speak.
We’re all running hard to keep up with the competition; let’s not stumble in our own potholes as we work to clear a path for our clients and their messages.