Having just joined family and friends in Thanksgiving spirit, it occured to me that we might cause better public relations by noticing when folks do it well. A recent complimentary call from my friend Katy Perry regarding last month’s article further causes this month’s article. Katy called to say how much she liked the points made in the column and wondered if she might quote from the article liberally. How could I refuse?
Katy is one of the most positive people I know. When she calls (and it is always a privilege), she always has something positive to say regarding what she has observed me doing or not doing as the case may be. I am sure she doesn’t just do this with me and that she is doing this positive action deliberately.
Taking time to tout what others do well should be just as deliberate in our public relations and marketing.
When was the last time you called a reporter to note a well written article (one not written about your organization that is)? When was the last time you contacted another organization, even a competitor, to compliment them about good public relations or marketing? Have you taken the time to comment on the good public relations brought to your organization by a co-worker?
This doesn’t come under the heading “If you can’t say anything good about someone, don’t say anything at all.” To quote Alice Longworth, I come from the school, “If you can’t say anything good about someone, sit right here by me.” Seriously, though, there is a very selfish set of reasons to be complimentary. You can probably add to this list:
I have a reputation in the restaurants I frequent of being a good tipper. Now I don’t have lots of free cash to give away. I tip well because I expect great service. When I go out to eat, I get good service. Similarly, I give compliments to people providing service when I catch them giving good service. It can have interesting consequences. Once when traveling back from business on Thanksgiving eve I found that my airplane had been cancelled due to equipment failure. The long line in front of me became increasingly angry as options dwindled in front of them. The clerk was experiencing horrific grief through no fault of her own. By the time I arrived at the front of the line, she was well beaten with verbal abuse. I deliberately smiled and complimented her on how well she was doing in being nice to these people in spite of themselves. She smiled back, hailed a nearby electric cart and had me immediately transported to a plane across terminals where there was one remaining seat to my destination. She said my luggage would be delivered the next day. I think I got the last available seat out of that airport that night thanks to a compliment.
Good Vibrations/Good Reputation
When you are positive other people can’t help but notice. As a result, you set up a chain reaction of positive behavior which can only come back positively about you. What do other people say about you? Are you known as a positive human being? Friendly? Quick to help out? What do you want to be known for? Are your actions consistent with your reputation goals?
Cause Others to Do Good
Positive behavior is infectious. Every morning provides a new opportunity to change. You can decide to have a good day or a bad day. But, you must make the choice deliberately or all is left to chance. Likewise, when you start your day by noticing someone doing well you will see a difference. That person will have a change in their day and most likely will make a positive difference in someone else before the day is out.
Tout the good stuff!
Originally published in the Kennebec Business Monthly in December 2000 as part of a monthly guest series on public relations and marketing.