Insight #12: Tips and Tricks

For this assignment, our task was to reflect on the work we’ve done throughout Dr. McArthur’s Integrated Strategic Communication course, while also shedding light on some “tips & tricks” for future students. After all of the work that has been accomplished in this intense 7 week course, it’s nice to give some feedback and any helpful advice for others.

(Image courtesy of Michael Krigsman’s article on ZDNet)

The first on the list is what I’ve learned. Oh boy, this could take a while. I feel like I learned the entire trade of what public relations professionals do, but I know this was just the tip of the iceberg. This course is highly necessary for anyone who wants to pursue PR as a career. In addition, I found it very helpful in honing my voice as a writer and improving my writing/blogging skills; that being said, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for all students to take this course. In all honesty, if it weren’t for this class being a requirement for my major, I’m not sure if I would have taken the challenge. However, I am glad it was because due to the work being intense and demanding, it made me feel such success after each assignment was completed. Fraser Seitel, author of the class text, was so brilliant. Usually textbooks are so dry to read, especially when it refers to a trade with such specifics, but it was quite easy to follow.

Second on the list is what I wish I would have known before the class. This is tricky; if I knew how intense the course was ahead of time, I might not have taken it in the summer, then again it was a blessing taking it in the summer because of how much time it demanded- time that is much easier to find during the summer than the fall/spring semesters. I have always taken summer courses, and preferred them online. At times I wish this course was in class, only because some assignments were new experiences for me and others were very specific. Nonetheless, Dr. McArthur and most participants in the course were always so helpful. If ever there was an issue or misunderstand, post it to moodle and usually within a day or two someone will respond with an answer. This saved me so many times!

What was the most valuable learning of mine was third on the list. My dream is to pursue a career in writing, specifically being a movie critic. Since every single assignment was completed and uploaded on WordPress (a blog site) it increased my skills and knowledge of how to use and navigate through a blog. Times are-a-changing, and almost everything is paperless today. Whether during this course or in my near, near future, I would have needed to become more in-tune with my blogging techniques; this class was a great way to do so. It also inspired me to continue doing so by creating my own personal blog. Most people have been telling me to do so for so long, but this was just the push I needed.

Fourthly, what should a student do for success in this course? Whether you take this course during the summer, in class, or online, you NEED to be able to prioritize and manage your time wisely. Everyone says they are a procrastinator, and I thought I was too, but there is absolutely no room for that in this class. The most important and helpful thing you can do in this class is to work ahead. From day one, all assignments are available to do, so the work is what you make it. My schedule was a bit hectic, particularly Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I would do the assignments for those days ahead of time. Sometimes I would work through the weekend so that all my work for that week was completed. It really is up to you, which is great. Just don’t get behind, because once you’re behind it’s going to be extremely difficult to catch up; late assignments are not accepted! Also, make sure to look at every assignment and what it entails at least a day before it’s due- preferably two or three. This gives you insight on how much time it might take, depending on how comfortable you are with what the assignment is. If there was an assignment I planned to do the day of, but it required skills I have never used, I would rearrange my week and do it two days before- just in case.

The fifth and final point on the list is how I might use the skills I’ve learned to advance my career. The most important part of writing that I learned was being to differentiate between writing for the ear and writing for the eye. When you’re writing for the eye, you should be cautious to everything from your grammar to your tone of voice because it’s printed and permanent- your readers will be able to re-read and evaluate what you’ve said. Writing for the ear is much different. Even though you should be just as cautious when writing for the ear, any mistake or grammatical error isn’t as easy for people to pick up; most importantly, they can reference back to it. This is so crucial for all communications majors- and really, just about anyone- to know; especially those who want to pursue any career in writing. Learning all of this has only diversified my writing skills, and given me new insight on different techniques to writing.

(Image courtesy of acreecreative.com)

Insight #11: Rogue Websites

walmart

(Image displayed is credited to walmartsucks.livejournal.com)

For this assignment, our class was to assess a major corporation and any rouge websites that may help or hinder it’s reputation. With Walmart being an option, it had to be done. Rogue websites are the “bad guys” of online communication. According to Seitel, author of The Practice of Public Relations, they seek to confront an organization by: presenting negative information, satirizing policy/management, allowing employees- current and former- to vent publicly, serving as a gateway for complaints to regulators and media, and confuse the public regarding which web site represent the real organization. It’s confusing in itself that the public would question that; what organization would jeopardize their brand like that? Take Walmart for example: considering the picture shown above, would anybody really think they were in favor of that?

Walmart attracts a wide range of customers due to their low, and I mean low, prices. Having such a diverse customer base means you never know what you might see; especially late at night. That being said, someone came up with the idea of starting the website peopleofwalmart.com; a site that posts pictures, videos, and comments about any and all Walmart customers. What do you need to do to get on the website? By the way this rogue website runs, have no sense of style, wear clothes five sizes too small, look funny or anything too bizarre for daily life. The worst part? The captions. They’re completely awful and down right mean; people shouldn’t be judged for things like that. However, more people than not simply don’t care and chime on in for kicks and giggles.

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(Image displayed credited to People of Walmart’s photo page.)

*A monkey in a stroller.. a little awesome, but too bizarre.*

Another rogue website I came across was Wal*Mart Suck’s Journal. This live journal site consists mainly of people’s comments, concerns, and experiences- you can count on most being bad. This site allows current or past employees and customers to write and share anything they want about the organization. Additionally, occasional videos are uploaded, usually revealing something that reflects poorly on Walmart. A video currently featured actually does hinder Walmart’s reputation; it’s of a Walmart manager basically discriminating against a homosexual customer. This is a huge negative for Walmart, regardless of the fact that it’s one employee.

Considering the fact that the images displayed here are not making fun of any persons- as I claimed they usually are- and the video below is purely humorous without offense to others, it’s quite obvious that was a pre-meditated plan. My intent is not to contribute to the rogue websites discussed because no matter what humor people find in them, it’s simply rude. This point alone can be very detrimental to Walmart as an organization and is a prime reason why they need to consistently do web monitoring. Rogue websites such as these can cost them customers, especially ones that may be featured on the sites. Not to mention, if the public reads any negative perceptions of Walmart from a past or current employee how that will make them look; terrible.

Personally, rogue websites that are even remotely close to the ones mentioned above can not be anything BUT harmful to the organization it targets. Anything negative that affiliates itself with Walmart’s name, whether they have permission to or not, is simply bad press. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for Walmart to have a team of public relations professionals to keep a close eye on these sites and measure any correlation it may have with impacting their sales. In my opinion, rogue websites like these leave a bad taste in my mouth in regards to the company, even though I know they have nothing to do with it; they should have something to do with fixing it.

The video displayed is credited to YouTube and People of Walmart’s video page.

Seitel, Fraser. The Practice of Public Relations. 11th edition. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc., 2010. Print.

Insight #10: Integrated Marketing Communication – Red Bull

In Chapter 17 of our class text, Seitel discusses what integrated marketing communications is and the many ways it can be demonstrated. He defines integrated marketing communications as “the intersection of public relations and publicity, advertising, sales, promotion, and marketing to promote organizations, products, and services” (Seitel). In this class, examples of these have already been brought to our attention, we were just oblivious: creating YouTube videos, product placements, celebrity sponsors/spokesperson, etc. Since the task at hand is to identify a national- or international- brand that executes integrated marketing communications, only one shot through my mind: Red Bull.

(Image displayed is credited to Mark Hogan’s article on WordPress.)

     It all started from one man, Dietrich Mateschitz. Red Bull has already been around for 25 years, believe it or not. Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz created the drinks formula back in the mid 1980’s. A couple of years later on April 1st, 1987, the brand was officially put on the market and sold in its very own home in Austria. This wasn’t just an average beverage Mateschitz came up with, creating a new product; this was the start of an entirely new product category. Since it’s first day on the market, more than 35 billion cans of Red Bull have been consumed and it is available in more than 165 countries (redbull.com).

Since 1987, integrated marketing has changed drastically and has become highly innovative; it’s also pertinent for your brand’s survival. The 21st century version is online marketing, television brand integration, buzz marketing, television and movie product placement, song placement, and sports team sponsors. Red Bull is on top of each and every one.

Red Bull has completely revolutionized online marketing and has taken social media by storm. As of November 2012, their Facebook page alone had 34 million fans, and stands ahead of Hogwarts hero Harry Potter, McDonalds, and Starbucks. They’re the second highest beverage company on Facebook, behind Coca-Cola.  “Even though Red Bull has been credited with inventing the energy drink industry, they do not sell you an ounce of it” says Pablo Davidov, writer for Americas Internet Marketing website. If you look closely at their marketing, they sell you adrenaline, they sell you action, they sell you passion (Davidov). Red Bull gained huge recognition on October 14th, 2012 for sponsoring Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner perform a record-breaking skydive from near-space down to Earth. They were mocked for “wasting” their money due to weather conditions, but they pulled it off and captured over 8 million viewers on YouTube. In turn, they broke the record for the most watched live streaming event on YouTube.

(Image displayed is credited to Brian Kotlyar’s article on Dachis Group blog.)

     Integrating their brand into the “fabric of what is presented on the television screen” has never been a challenge for Red Bull. Red Bull has always been known to sponsor athletes in extreme sports like snowboarding, motocross, skateboarding, and surfing, so they’re logo is seen everywhere when you turn on a game in those fields. However, they even have their own TV series available to stream right from their website. Snowboard Chronicles is one of their featured shows and they travel all around the world with professional snowboarders and learn about their unique boarding styles. Aside from their own TV series, their brand is featured a lot on MTV’s show, Wake Brothers.

     Buzz marketing, more commonly known as word-of-mouth, coincides with Red Bull’s integration on the MTV show, Wake Brothers. The show is about the life of two professional wake-boarding brothers that live together in Florida. They live a lavish life and are either wake-boarding or partying. Both have a huge fan base, which only helps Red Bull. In almost every episode, they’re wearing clothes or hats from the numerous sponsors they have, one being Red Bull. It promotes their brand and fans are influenced to buy anything that has to do with Red Bull. They also only distributed to 8 U.S. territories initially, putting any others wanting it on a waiting list. This made their product and brand exclusive, while also maintaining its credibility and uniqueness.

Red Bull has marketed themselves quite cleverly through television and movie product placements. When Comedy Central introduced its adult cartoon show, Shorties watchin’ Shorties, Red Bull was one of the consistently featured brands. Some other TV shows the brand has been featured or mentioned in is Reno 911! and The Office. Red Bull is also very good with movie product placements. In addition to the TV shows the brand has been in, some movies include: Superbad, Disturbia, Baby Momma, Yes Man, The Ugly Truth, Hot Tub Time Machine, and most recently Flight: A Snowboard Film.

     Sports venues today are almost always named after the sponsor that pays for it, and Red Bull has had this opportunity. The New York Red Bulls, the Major League Soccer franchise, paid more than $100 million for the integrated marketing privilege (Seitel). They have even “branded” their own sporting events: Infiniti Red Bull Racing. Red Bull Racing is one of two Formula One teams, both being own by Red Bull. When you have your own sports team sponsored for, what other advertisement do you need?

What else does Red Bull have? Their own music academy. No need for song placements here. Red Bull music academy consists of two groups of 30, ranging from DJ’s to all-around musical mavericks, that travel the world each year for two weeks at a time. An energy drink company that has their own music academy definitely proves just how times are changing. It also exemplifies just how innovative and current Red Bull remains.

The video displayed is credited to YouTube.

Davidov, Pablo. “Red Bull Marketing: A Revolution.” Americas Internet Marketing. N.p., 29 Nov 2012. Web. 12 Jun 2013. <http://americasinternetmarketing.com/red-bull-marketing/&gt;.

Sieczkowski, Cavan. “Felix Baumgartner Red Bull Stratos High-Altitude Skydive Rescheduled.” The Huffington Post. N.p., n. d. Web. 12 Jun. 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/11/felix-baumgartner-red-bull-stratos-space-jump-date-time-live-blog_n_1958490.html&gt;.

Kumar, Arvind. “Buzz Marketing Success Story.” Experience. N.p.. Web. 12 Jun 2013. <http://s2b.experience.com/alumnus/article?channel_id=advertising_marketing_pr&source_page=additional_articles&article_id=article_1128702070987&gt;.

Insight #9: Going Global

   

(Image credited to article Making Headways into International Business.)

     It is majorly important to know your audience in a global audience, so imagine how major it is for a communication professional. Multinational businesses that operate in other countries, whether they are ran locally or not, need to always be aware of their audience. Between language barriers and cultural differences, it is not that hard to have a slip up. That’s why it’s so important to do your research. Fraser P. Seitel, author of The Practice of Public Relations, said it best: “The actions of individuals and organizations in one part of the world are felt instantly and irrevocably by people around the globe”.

Public relations professionals must always consider the audience, no matter what country- especially if it’s one that has had any hiccups with the one they’re from. There could be numerous reasons as to why two countries don’t exactly “get along”, but the most prominent reason today is because of the companies. When I say that you really need to do your research to prevent a slip up, I mean for every T to be crossed and I to be dotted. If the entire world was watching your organizations every move, was listening to every work-related phone call, and had access to all of your top secret information, would you be able to sleep at night? That is the mindset you should have if you’re in a multinational business.

Unfortunately the utility company Con Edison didn’t take that step. Instead, The New York Times shed light on something that hurt their reputation. In 2007, The New York Times published a report that manhole covers made for their company were being produced by “barefoot, shirtless, whip-thin men” in oven-like temperatures in India” (Seitel). Con Edison made claims that they had no idea of these working conditions, but immediately changed them and improved the safety standards on its manufacturer. If they did their research, they could have fixed it before the Times revealed it to the world.

(Image credited to referenceforbusiness.com’s article Multinational Corporations.)

     China had a slow start into the public relations world, but they might have the biggest finish. China is the world’s fastest growing economy, second only to the US, which it should pass soon (Seitel). It has even been presumed that by 2020, 70% of the world will speak Mandarin as their principal language. These two factors alone should be an alert to PR professionals around the world; the competition will be tough. Additionally as stated earlier, language barriers are a key concern. Nothing ever translates perfectly from language to language, so have translators; a single translator usually isn’t an expert in PR messaging.

Dr. Kevin Lin, head of KL Communications, stated these considerations to have when doing PR in China: translation is barely given any thought and most translators in China aren’t established enough in English to fully understand highly condensed messages. Coca-Cola said in China “If everyone could see the glass as half full and not half empty, the world would be a much better place” (Lin). They could have had ten translators- the concept doesn’t exist in China. Instead, the audience was confused beyond belief. It ties in perfectly with the next consideration I mentioned: don’t complicate the reader. The company I work for does most of their work overseas. My boss always finds himself re-writing certain employees business proposals; they’re focused on sounding highly intelligent, but all they end up doing is confusing the client.

As the nation with the largest consumer population, China ranks fifth in world trade and is climbing (Seitel). China’s public relations field has grown significantly since its start. They have over 1,500 public relations firms and employ more than 30,000 people; more than 15,000 of them are professionals. Their public relations field is responsible for $400 million of their annual revenue. A big reason of its expansion is their vast media competition. China has 8,000 magazines, 2,000 newspapers, and 3,000 television stations; no wonder why it’s predicted that their PR will only increase.

It’s hard to decipher what news outlets are reputable and the most reliable in a region you are foreign to. This is something PR professionals need to thoroughly research before doing PR anywhere outside of their comfort zone. China Daily provides authoritative information and analysis to global readers. Their main focus is China, but they also share information on other areas: United States, Asia, Europe, etc. They incorporate print media, as well as digital media; their digital media outlet works around the clock which is a great feature to have when you’re on a different time zone. Additionally, media outlets like Xinhua, CCTV, and People’s Daily have great market share in China and they are all state-ran. My advice to a PR professional would be to have more than one- or even two- news sources.

Seitel, Fraser. The Practice of Public Relations. 11th edition. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc., 2010. Print.

Lin, Kevin. “A Quick Introduction to Doing PR in China.” PR Success Monthly. n.d. n. page. Print. <http://www.peterbartram.co.uk/downloads/train5.pdf?PHPSESSID=cdf5c4f9df4ddb01d0793fb24c19c5c4&gt;.

Insight 8: Government Relations Lingo

(Image courtesy of occupyaustin.org)

     A lobbyist: similar to a republican or a democrat, but aren’t represented on the ballot. A lobbyist is an activist with a goal to persuade members of the government (as opposed to citizens)- Congress, for example- to represent legislation that benefits their group’s views. It is a legitimate profession; some people get paid to be a lobbyist, while others volunteer. There are so many misconceptions about what a lobbyist is and who they are by the public. One example is that all lobbyists get paid. Another, that they stuff the governments pockets to get what they want.

     They like to use the term gifts instead of bribes. A lot of the public feel that the only way a lobbyist gets what they want is by bribing the government official. Their bribe could be anything from gratuity, entertainment, loans, hospitality, discounts, favors, to other items having monetary value (Cooper). However, it is illegal for anyone involved in the government to accept these so called “gifts” from a lobbyist.Most of these misconceptions come from people gossiping by “word of mouth”. It’s the same as when you hear conjured rumors about a republican or democrat, or even the C.I.A. It’s someones already misconstrued opinion that someone else took as a fact.

     Another HUGE misconception is that lobbyists only represent the wants of large corporations- as if they didn’t already have such a bad rep. In the words of The Grinch, “Wrong-o”. This is so wrong, it makes me laugh. Pennsylvania State University student Michael Mancini wrote a very enlightening blog post on the most common misconceptions the public makes about lobbyists. Lobbyists represent a wide range of groups and organizations: small businesses, entrepreneurs, teachers, elderly, hospitals, disabled people, and even children (Mancini). According to the Commission on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, “Virtually everyone in our democracy whether they are aware of it or not has a lobbyist working on their behalf…” (Mancini). This is making lobbyists sound worse and worse, but it can actually be a good thing.

     Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has their own group of lobbyists that persuade for the better. The root of persuasion is usually something the sender of the message wants the receiver to do. But is it really bad that mothers are helping to prevent people from driving drunk on the roads? Absolutely not. Lobbyists from MADD can directly contact our representatives with issues that are important and serve the purpose of increasing all citizens driving safety. When people know details such as this, they feel empowered.

     So why don’t people know the good of what lobbyists can do? Well, most people jump on society’s bandwagon and start pointing the finger before actually checking the facts. I, myself have to admit that up until recently I scorned them as a negative group of people. Whenever I heard the term, I would instantly envision angry people rallying together in front of buildings protesting inappropriately- don’t be fooled, those kind are out there. However, a lobbyist is only as good as his/her reputation; if any bit of the truth isn’t revealed or told upfront, there’s another one waiting for them to fall, swoop in, and save the day. Citizens that don’t quite know what a lobbyist is change that.

     Always check the facts. Whether you’re reading a news article, listening to your favorite radio host, or watching something on YouTube, don’t just assume it’s correct. Everything comes from somewhere, and that information came from someone’s opinion other than your own. Do your research and form your own view point. If you do research the pros and cons of a lobbyist, it’s safe to say more good has come from them. For example, The National American Woman Suffrage Association used lobbying to gain women’s suffrage back in 1920. In addition, Martin Luther King was a lobbyist and his efforts have benefited the passage of important Civil Rights.

“Lobbying is a constitutionally protected activity that plays an important role in the governmental process. It is precisely because of the importance of lobbying in the conduct of the public’s business that it should be more open to the public’s scrutiny.” -President Jimmy Carter (Quote courtesy of intellectualtakeout.org)

Video displayed is credited to YouTube and Arnold Public Affairs.

Mancini, Michael. “Lobbying: The Misconceptions.” WordPress. Pennsylvania State University, 06 Feb 2013. Web. 5 Jun. 2013. <http://sites.psu.edu/mmancini/2013/02/06/lobbying-the-misconceptions/&gt;.

Insight #7: Laws of Public Opinion

Public opinion is a concept that can be interpreted in so many ways. To think critically, you can use newspaper columnist Joseph Kraft’s definition “the unkown god to which moderns burn incense” (Seitel). To simplify it, think of it as defining public and opinion separately. In chapter four of Seitel’s book, The Practice of Public Relations, he defines public first as “public signifies a group of people who share a common interest in a specific subject”. This would include employees, community members, stockholders- they’re all their own group concerned about a common issue. When defining opinion, Seitel states that “an opinion is the expression of an attitude on a particular topic” (Seitel). The result of this is attitude->opinion->action: a strong attitude becomes an opinion; a strong opinion becomes an action. Public opinion is really when there are various individuals opinions on a specific issue that affects a group of people.

Hadley Cantril, a well respected social psychologist, developed the “Laws of Public Opinion”. Public opinion can be difficult to influence on someone, but Cantril’s six step method is a great guideline that measures it. Influencing public opinion seems almost identical to winning over your audience in a persuasive speech. You must first identify and understand the opinions you desire to change or modify. Secondly, remain very clear on who the target audience is. Third, there must be a precise focus on what the “laws” are that govern public opinion.

Let’s examine how Cantril’s “Laws of Public Opinion” would play out in regards to Tiger Woods marital indiscretions? The first point states opinion is highly sensitive to important events. “Opinion doesn’t become stabilized until the implications of events are seen in some perspective” (Seitel). This directly relates to the immediate news coverage of Tiger Woods’ marital indiscretions because so many fans, and a couple endorsements, were on the fence about what to initially think- that is until all information was revealed and stamped with approval. The second point states opinion is generally determined more by events than by words– unless the words are interpreted as an event. Most of Tiger Woods’ endorsements dropped him as soon as news coverage broke, which is perceived negatively on his behalf. This also relates to the third point: people become more sensitive to the sufficiency of the leadership during critical times. Basically, if the public opinion was overall good for Tiger Woods after this scandal, his poor choices deem tolerable. If not, then the public opinion of him lacks confidence so will sway the other way. This is tricky to measure in regards to Tiger Woods because immediately after the news of his many affairs, he lost a lot of respect, a lot of money (endorsements), and almost his entire family. Now that time has passed, he has become more and more “tolerated” in public opinion since it now focuses on what he does: playing golf.

The fourth point Cantril noted was that once self-interest is present, opinions become slow to change. In relation to what I was just talking about, initially everyone was all for Tiger losing his endorsements, and potentially his family; he took them both for granted by the actions he took and should pay for them. However, over time that lack of support started to change into actual support- the public opinion figured he already paid enough by losing his wife and endorsements, but that shouldn’t keep taking away from the fact that he is ultimately the best golf player there is. In continuation, the fifth point states that people have more opinions and are able to form them much easier on goals, as opposed to the methods to take to reach those goals. There are many individuals within the public that still will never forget what Woods did, and will hold it against him. They disregard the fact that he is a great golf player, potentially the best, but instead will continue to see all the negative words they read about him. It wasn’t just the cheating, but also negative qualities about his personality that came to light: controlling, disingenuous, careless, etc. However, it’s easier for them to focus on never supporting or watching him again, than realizing if they go buy a golf hat he wears from a company that endorses him, they’re technically doing so.

The sixth and final point to Hadly Cantril’s “Laws of Public Opinion” states that if people in a democracy are provided with educational opportunities and ready access to information, public opinion shows a headstrong common sense (Seitel). In the end, people aren’t really against Tiger Woods anymore because what he did doesn’t affect them. He cheated on his wife, but still gives them the game they want to watch. Even though he’ll never be as well-liked as before the scandal was revealed,  it’s a total turn around from how the public opinion was at the start.

Seitel, Fraser. The Practice of Public Relations. 11th edition. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc., 2010. Print.

“Top 10 Most Hated People in Sports.” Real Clear Sports. N.p., 17 May 2013. Web. 31 May 2013. <http://www.realclearsports.com/lists/most_hated_people_in_sports/intro.html?state=stop&gt;.

Image displayed is credited to The Huffington Post.

Insight #6: Employee Relations

employee relations clip art

If you ever find yourself interviewing a CEO- or any person within an organization with high authority- and you ask them what the organization’s top five goals are, effective employee relations better be one of them. Better yet, for any future interviews any of you readers find yourself in, do some research on that company’s employee relations; if you dislike what you find, I highly suggest you move on to a different company. Employee relations is critical, for both the employer and the employee; it is the communication between any management and all employees. Some concerns of these discussions include workplace decisions, conflicts, and their solutions. Without this, there can’t be successful communication within an organization.

Each person is different, so the first step to being a good manager- and employee- is to understand that. For example, some people work best when they feel as if their manager is one of them, a base-level employee. They might function best under the six criteria Milton Moskowitz described as continually successful, specifically visibility and proximity of upper management employees. Having visibility and proximity of upper management is when there are minimal rank distinctions. By doing so, the company is eliminating the hierarchical separation between management and employees. However, it was specifically said that some people work best that way, not all.

Nobody likes when authority holders abuse the power they hold; but, for me, having distinctions between myself and management isn’t a bad thing. Personally, I work best- and respect its reasoning- when I know the task I need to accomplish, any specifics it might have, etc. Management has a huge role in that scenario. I respect my management and co-workers, but having the distinction of the two is necessary. If my boss gave me a task to do and my co-worker asked for help at the same time, I’m going to complete the task my boss gave me first. Upon it’s completion, I would offer my services to my co-worker. If my work environment insinuated that my boss is on the same level as my co-worker, my task completion might change- in which that could jeopardize my work and appear to higher authority that I don’t prioritize properly. Maybe that’s over-thinking it- and don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoy a work environment where everyone gets along and is on the same page.. very much- but being that laid back seems too good to be true.

If an organization was trying to acquire me as an employee, showcasing the five principles of trusted communication might aid at achieving that: respect, honest feedback, recognition, voice, and encouragement. Studies have shown that incorporating these five principles into your management style is quite successful. This is the type of organization I would want to work for. To produce my best work, I need to feel appreciated. Maintaining a job or two since I was sixteen is seen in my eyes as a privilege, not a right. One has to earn a job, in most cases- unless someone knows someone and gets the job by that instead of their credentials; but essentially, they’ll have to prove they’re worthy after that. I am fortunate enough to have never been fired, always the one to walk away. The two jobs I left were because I felt there was no respect of the employees- you were just another body. If I don’t feel respected, I feel my work isn’t respected. If I feel my work isn’t respected, it will suffer, in which case that doesn’t benefit anyone. Respecting anyone- from a co-worker, to an employee, to the CEO- is an important quality for any company to have.

Honest feedback is hard for people to do, but it has to be done for an efficient workplace. I’m human, so I’m going to make mistakes. If my boss doesn’t correct me when they’re noticed, I won’t learn. Dun-da-da, we learn from our mistakes! If my mistakes aren’t pointed out to me- respectfully, of course- then I’ll continue to make them and my work will never be sufficient. The worst part, I don’t know any better because they weren’t addressed.

Recognition and encouragement go hand in hand. I don’t need praise after completing every task at my job, but the occasional “thank-you” or “good job on that report!” is always nice to hear. Without receiving any recognition, I second guess my work and value as an employee. It is important for me to know that the work I am doing is good, as well as being completed in a timely manner so that I continue to do so. If I feel encouraged, it will only improve my work ethic and results. I need to feel as though I’m a contributor to the organizations goals, because lets face it- why else would I be there?

First image displayed is credited to utmb Health’s website.

Second image displayed is credited to ShopitPress Blog.

Seitel, Fraser. The Practice of Public Relations. 11th edition. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc., 2010. Print.