“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 15 minutes to ruin it.  If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
– Warren Buffet

I just taught a PR class on Digital Marketing at Salem State University, so I wanted to share the lesson. It’s about How to Prepare for a PR Crisis – not if it happens, but when it happens. Most of us sail through life and business, but at some point you’ll be caught off guard and it’s not always your fault. Here’s my version of a crisis management plan. Put it in place now to protect what you’ve worked so hard for. Protect your ‘ass-ets’!

9 Steps to a PR Crisis Plan

  1. Put together a crisis management team before a crisis. You may not think you’ll ever have a PR crisis, but if you’re in business it’s not only possible, it’s probable. Include your CEO, legal, marketing, HR and yes – your PR person to be part of this influential life/business saving circle.
  2. We all know you’re busy, but you have to listen. What are your employees, community, customers, enemies and advocates saying? Pick up chatter early enough and you might save yourself time, upset and a major PR crisis. Oh, did I mention lots of money?
  3. As in any relationship, it’s wise to preview expectations. What works for your personal relationships can work in business too. If you say you’re going to call back a customer in 48 hours, do that. If your policy is to call them within 24 hours and don’t follow through, you’ve lost their trust. Here’s an easy rule. Under promise and over deliver.
  4. Being transparent isn’t a bad thing. If you’re a CEO you might see this as a sign of weakness, but being transparent shows that you bleed like everyone else and you’re human. People like, know and trust humans as well as brands. If you’re the leader of the pack and you’ve messed up, admit it and don’t fudge the details. Position them accordingly.
  5. Everyone has made mistakes so how will you respond? My suggestion is to be mindful and thoughtful in your responses to all who have been affected. Someone or a group has been offended or worse, and often there’s more than a BAND-AID® needed. To fix relationships, TLC is needed to build trust again.
  6. You might be angry but for heaven’s sake keep calm. It’s hard to keep your cool when you’ve been attacked and it takes some coaching to stay even keeled. It’s also difficult to not take everything personally. You’ll never be everyone’s best friend.  If you want a best friend, adopt a dog.
  7. Who has ‘keys’ to your social media accounts? A really frazzled fired employee who has your passwords to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn might post something negative about you, your staff or business practices. Put a system in place and know who has the passwords to your social media accounts and online voice to the world. Hint: This is critical.
  8. Create social media guidelines that are simple to understand. Sure you can’t control what your employees post on their own social media accounts, but you can ask them to adhere to certain guidelines about your company without infringing on their freedom. Every employee, vendor or volunteer is a brand ambassador for your company. Make sure they share a voice that aligns with your brand, not one that fights it.
  9. Your mom gave you good advice. You’ll never be perfect or please everybody. As a leader every day you step up to the plate and take risks. Some work out and some don’t. My ask is that you think ahead to what might be problematic and plan for it, without being paranoid. Fear puts you in a paralysis state often enough – and you’ve got things to do, places to go and a brand to build.

Create a community and brand advocates that love you and will go to bat on your behalf when times are tough. Don’t hide from bad news. Take a deep breath and suck it up. It not only builds character, but it also builds a stronger brand.

When I was a Girl Scout, this was our motto – and I think it still is.

If you’ve ever been in a wobbly situation where your confidence was down – join the club! I can bet that we’ve all been there in our professional and personal lives. The trick is to reframe the brain and cancel all the negative chit chat that’s ‘not paying rent’ in your head!

One thing I love to talk about in all of my coaching programs is breaking the terror barrier and building confidence – as well as enhancing charisma. It’s easier to be charismatic and magnetic when you’re feeling on top of your ‘A-Game’– and, it’s especially important as you project your best self in PR, marketing and social media. Confidence is a mindset!

Here are some confidence building exercises I’d love to share with you:

7 Tips to Feel More Confident

  • Begin with a pep talk every day. Make one up according to where you need to go, who you need to see, how you need to feel.

  • Say hello to at least 5 strangers and have a short conversation. It’s a great way to meet new people and especially helpful if you want to widen your circle or build up the courage to date.

  • If you like jokes, practice telling a joke! And, get good at it. Pick three favorites and change them up. You’ll never know when you need one to break the ice!

  • Challenge yourself in some new way. You don’t have to learn Chinese overnight, right? Think about a new hobby. Join a meetup to expand your interests, Every journey begins with one step.

  • Give yourself lots of chances. Throw a party! There are so many adjacent possibilities to trying something new. Just like marketing and PR, you don’t put one media pitch out there, you have a MIX. It’s the same way in building confidence.

  • Move the chi – it’s your life force energy! Meditate or do some yoga. Try acupuncture to feel more balanced. Feeling calm helps you feel more confident.

  • Review your progress. How are you feeling on a day by day basis? What are you accomplishing in your career or in other parts of your life? Make note of your accomplishments and take a look at the week’s end. See how small changes in your attitude, change you!

Your Turn

What exercises make you more confident?

How do you change the stories in your head, so you can be more confident in the heat of the moment?

Do you have a ‘persona’ on stage – if you need a boost of confidence – or when you’re ready to speak? (Mine is Rockin’ Robin)

Believe me, confidence is a game changer. And we wouldn’t have courage, without fear.

RSI Crazy ClientsI wish I could tell you that business was always a breeze and a field of roses scented my office day after day.  Though I do love roses, and even more appreciate them as a gift (hint hint) the flourishing fields of commerce (and e-commerce) sometimes brings a client or two that don’t fit into even the most flexible of plans and makes you wonder why you agreed to work with them in the first place.

Here are 3 Important Lessons Crazy Clients Teach You

  1. Make sure you have a signed document which outlines your work. This could be a contract, agreement or Statement of Work which clearly identifies your role and responsibilities, deadlines and payment terms. In marketing and PR, best efforts should always be made and clearly stated, but there are of course no guarantees. Coaching typically involves participation from the other party, and if there’s no participation, it’s not your fault if the campaign or project goes bust.
  2. Establish Boundaries from the GetGo. In an effort to win clients, in the beginning especially, we may cross boundaries we shouldn’t. That may look like getting sucked into someone’s story, over-delivering, not valuing your own time or profit model, or accepting calls or demands at night, and service within 24 hours. Yes, we are available as PR and Marketing specialists, experts and communicators for the media – I like to say 23/7, but not for crazy clients who can easily leave a message and receive a call back at 8am the next day. Texting tyrants are annoying, as are repeated hang ups on your cell phone when you’re sleeping. We’re not in high school here.
  3. Learn How to Fire a Client. If we’re forecasting and expecting to meet certain revenue projections, we sometimes take clients that we know may be – a little off. I’ve witnessed some hairy scenes from out of balance/scary clients at events and a couple of my own – who not only shocked me (hard to do) but also took their aggression out on me, because a nerve was struck on an emotional wound. Remember to be your best, we sometimes look to the past to see why we’re not sharing our best. That said, I should have listened to my gut and ended the client/consultant/coach relationship. Big lesson learned there.

On a positive note, crazy clients also afford you the opportunity to see how to grow personally and professionally, to see what you missed and how to be a better communicator and implementer.

My clients are from all walks of life.  They each have gifts to share and interesting and varied backgrounds. The common denominator is that they want to be noticed and give back.

Truthfully, we found each other. My mission is to help them get to the next level, and they to mine.

 

Boston-based communications and PR Firm Robin Samora Inc.’s new RSI MediaReady Program is an interactive, one-on-one program that helps clients become “media-ready” within hours, and to create a turn-key audio product to feature on their website or send to prospects. Clients who sign-up for the program via the Robin Samora Inc. website by May 31, 2013 will also receive private coaching on how to successfully respond to H.A.R.O. (“Help a Reporter Out”) and Profnet Reporter requests – a $199 value.

 

Entrepreneurs, experts, authors, coaches and other success-minded business professionals who wish they could be “media-ready” within hours, and who want to easily create a turn-key audio product to feature on their website or send to prospects, can now sign up for PR and communications firm Robin Samora Inc.’s innovative new program, RSI MediaReady.

RSI MediaReady is an interactive, one-on-one coaching program that features:

• Interview preparation and training for clarity, focus, practice and ‘ready-to-go’ promotion
• Q + A review of 15 initial questions, with feedback and comments for review
• Review of answers for sound bite quality and content-specific goals
• Etiquette and media training for on-air and pre-recorded shows and programs
• A recorded mp3 file of the interview questions for future editing
• A recorded mp3 file of the 45-minute interview (“pod cast”), which can be posted, edited or referred to for messaging

Clients who sign-up for RSI MediaReady will also receive a number of special bonuses, including:

• A sample Pitch Letter to a Radio Producer
• A sample Media Release announcing their guest appearance to the press
• A customized list of up to 10 radio shows/hosts who they can contact immediately
• 3 selections of intro and outro music on a separate mp3
• A Special Report: “10 Ways to use Audio to Boost your Brand”

“Across the country, media professionals and potential clients are very interested in booking coaches, entrepreneurs, experts, authors and other professionals for speaking engagements, article and broadcast interviews, or hiring them as consultants,” commented Robin Samora Inc.’s founder Robin Samora, a widely recognized PR and media relations expert who leads each session. “But if these talented professionals are stuck being the `best kept secret’ in their industry, how can they be found? They won’t. And that’s where RSI MediaReady comes to the rescue. It rapidly helps professionals clarify their message and communicate their brand through the media, so that they reach new and better clients – and ultimately, boost sales and profits.”

Added Samora: “In addition to numerous other business benefits that clients will reap, which include improved SEO/SEM, and the ability to rapidly create a media kit and re-purpose content for their other marketing collateral, there’s also a very important personal element to the program, too. RSI MediaReady will turn just about anyone from an anxious media-newbie into a self-assured media superstar, and unleash a level of self-confidence that will elevate every aspect of their life.”

For more information or media inquiries, contact Robin Samora at (617) 921-3448 or Robin(at)RobinSamoraInc(dot)com.

About Robin Samora Inc.

Telling a story is personal. Sharing it is an art. Technology makes it global. Robin Samora Inc., a Boston based PR, branding and promotions firm blends all three to take its clients’ businesses and brands to the next level. With clients like Comcast, WBZ-TV and Blue Man Group, and a roster of authors, entrepreneurs and experts nationwide, the firm prides itself on being a “Promotional GPS” that takes its clients’ brands where they want to go to be seen, heard, engaged and remembered. With over two decades of experience, the firm is as comfortable on major media highways as it is on out-of-the-way niche back roads.

Robin Samora Inc., a Massachusetts-based communications company, has expanded its services to help its growing roster of expert-turned-author clients place their books in front of people who matter and make decisions.

Communications company Robin Samora Inc. has expanded in order to provide expert authors the same cost-effective, results-based PR, marketing and coaching services that it has successfully delivered to Fortune 500 businesses for decades.

“In a crowded marketplace, experts of all stripes – from financial gurus to health specialists and everyone in between – are discovering that handing out a business card is basically an invitation to be forgotten,” commented Robin Samora, principal of Robin Samora Inc. “And even having a great website and glowing testimonials just isn’t enough to stay on the radar screen. Having a book changes everything. It doesn’t just open doors – it knocks down walls. Our new, expanded services allow us to place our clients and their books in front of people who matter and make decisions.”

Some of the expanded services that Robin Samora Inc. is now offering its roster of expert-turned-author clients, such as Business Relationship Specialist Shari Harley and Legal Business Development and Marketing Expert Julie Fleming, include:

* Public Relations/Promotions
* Event and Promotions Strategy and Execution
* Brand Training and Development
* Assessment and Evaluation
* Editorial Timing and Planning
* Media Kit Review and Creation
* Press Release writing and distribution
* Signature Speech Development
* Public Relations Campaigns
* Visibility Strategies

Clients can also connect directly with Robin Samora for VIP Coaching that provides them with the strategies, tactics, tools and methods they need to get noticed, generate results, and create a platform that brings more of their ideal clients to their door.

For interviews and all other media inquiries, contact Robin Samora at (617) 921-3448 or visit RobinSamoraInc.com.

About Robin Samora Inc.

Telling a story is personal. Sharing it is an art. Technology makes it global. Robin Samora Inc., a Boston based PR firm blends all three to take its clients’ businesses and brands to the next level. With clients like Comcast, WBZ-TV and Blue Man Group, and a roster of authors, entrepreneurs and experts nationwide, the firm prides itself on being a “Promotional GPS” that takes its clients’ brands where they want to go to be seen, heard, engaged and remembered. With over two decades of experience, the firm is as comfortable on major media highways as it is on out-of-the-way niche back roads.

For Women & Co. by Mercedes Cardona, OMH Communications
Once a year, you probably have to sweat out the annual employee performance review. And, if your employer is doing it right, it’s not only when you find out how much of a raise you’re getting, but where you stand and where you’re going in your career.

A glowing performance review is always a good experience, but a negative one doesn’t have to be a setback. You can turn a bad review into an opportunity to grow and improve your career if you handle it the right way. “Plenty of highly successful performers have had a not-so-stellar review at some point in their career,” says Nancy Sherr, life coach and owner of A Zestful Life in New York.

The first priority is to stay calm and objective—a tall order after hearing negatives about yourself, but it’s important if you’re going to be constructive going forward. “By handling the interaction in good form, you’ll illuminate your ability to remain professional in what may be a challenging situation,” Sherr says. “Becoming defensive, argumentative, angry, or sobbing will not lead to a positive outcome.”

The easiest way to remain calm is not to respond right away. Most employers will give you a copy of your performance review in writing for your records, so sit with it and really pay attention to the critique. Then, ask your supervisor to explain what his or her expectations are: What exactly would have earned you a good review on each point?

“Let it sink in,” says Linda Wright of Wright Co-Active Coaching. “A lot times if you’re handed a bad review, you see it as: ‘You’ve done poorly and everything is wrong.’ Well,” she points out, “that may not be the case. It may be one area where you need to work.”

How to respond is another issue. Experts disagree on whether to contest the substance of the review. Unless you have some specific achievements you want to point out that were overlooked, arguing that the criticism is unfair can be counterproductive. After all, it is based on the impressions of your supervisor about how you perform within the company.

It is a good idea, however, to set up a time to sit with your supervisor and develop a plan to work on the weak spots that were mentioned in the review. “Everyone is not super-duper at everything,” says Robin Samora, president of Let’s Make You Shine. “It’s a good idea for the supervisor to be able to expand on your strengths and offer suggestions for things they think you can do. You can also ask what development programs are available in the company.”

A negative performance review doesn’t have to be a setback.

If you’re told you’re having trouble expressing yourself or participating at meetings, you can ask if the company will help you join a training group such as Toastmasters. If it’s technical or language skills, maybe your boss can help you line up training or classes. The bottom line is: You need to own up to the trouble spots and offer ways to improve.

During the performance review, listen carefully and ask questions, but frame them in a positive manner: “What would have been a better solution?” is better than “What would you rather have had me do?” A good manager will perceive your interest and focus as a good sign, says Sherr.

Samora recalled once in her twenties when she got a 2% raise that she felt was smaller than she deserved. So she set up a meeting, asked her boss to reconsider, and she not only got a bigger raise, but a confidence boost, as well. “There’s always a nice way to say everything, even when it’s unpleasant,” she says. “You have to be able to stand up for yourself.”

Wrap up your meeting by setting up a timeframe to check in again with the boss to ask about your progress. Regular check-ins should be a part of your routine, anyway.

Negative reviews rarely come out of left field, say experts. If they do, it can be a sign that there’s something wrong in the workplace or how you fit into it. If that’s the case, you need to take inventory and decide how to move on. It can be asking for a transfer to another department—or maybe starting a job search.

“You can tell if the supervisor is willing to work with you or not,” says Wright. “If they gave you a bad review and just want to get rid of you, you’re going to know that.”

For Women & Co. by Mercedes Cardona, OMH Communications

Need a little direction in your life or career? Is that rut you’ve been in feeling less like a rough patch and more like a lifestyle? It might be time to call in a professional.

“It’s a good idea to look for a life coach when you’re stuck, you seem to be spinning your wheels, and your gut tells you there’s something more, and that you need to make a change,” said Robin Samora, president of Let’s Make You Shine in Boston, MA.

So what do life coaches do, exactly? Generally, they help you clarify your life and career goals and develop a plan to make them happen. A coach will help you set up the steps you need to take and follow up—either in person, by phone, or online—as you work through each step. You will need to do the work, but the coach will serve as a guide and facilitator.

“A life coach is to a therapist as a personal trainer is to a doctor,” said Nancy Sherr, life coach and owner of A Zestful Life. “Life coaches work on forward momentum and goal-attainment tailored to the client.” (There are times, however, when you may need some extra-professional help. If you suffer from burnout, and you think depression may be a factor, you should talk to your doctor and work with a therapist.)

The costs of coaching vary widely, depending on the region of the country and the coach’s experience and credentials. In a major city like New York or Los Angeles, $150 to $300 a session or $500 to $1,000 a month is not unreasonable for top coaches, said John McGrail, life coach and author of The Synthesis Effect: Your Direct Path to Personal Power and Transformation (Career Press, 2012).

Many coaches create packages or have sliding-scale fees to accommodate clients with all ranges of income. Coach Steffi Black in Toronto said she charges $90 per session to students and the unemployed, and $150 for working clients. Her three-month intensive package, including email and phone follow-up, starts at $1,200.

So how do you find the right coach to make your investment pay?

Coaching is not a licensed profession, but there are a number of coaching organizations that offer training and certification. Most coaches will belong to one or more of them, and these organizations are a good place to start looking, advises Keri Kuerbis Lehmann, a coach in the San Francisco area. The International Coach Federation will help you find certified coaches, but contacting coaching schools will give you a clearer view of the coach’s philosophy, she said. The ICF has a referral service and membership directory online and a tip sheet with sample questions to ask a prospective coach.

A life coach is to a therapist as a personal trainer is to a doctor.

Most coaches will offer a complimentary session to see if there’s a fit between coach and client, notes Amelia Gandomi Lewis, owner and coach of Advance Yourself Coaching. “Do you feel an instant rapport and understanding with the coach, or as if you are talking to someone from another planet? Your instincts will tell you if it feels right,” she said.

McGrail advises making sure you find someone who works in the areas you want to improve, and ask for referrals to past clients you can talk to. “If a potential coach will not offer you a chance to talk with clients with whom they have worked on similar issues,” he said, “in two words—don’t go!”

McGrail also suggests looking for someone who will not only teach you how to get where you want to be, but also show you the tools to work on your own, not expect you to stay dependent on them. “Someone who keeps you hanging on and writing checks may not be as interested in your empowerment as in filling their pockets with your money,” he said.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the MED (Minority Enterprise Development) Day in Boston, learning more about the benefits of being a WBE (Women’s Business Enterprise) in the state of Massachusetts. I was thrilled to be certified to develop coaching and branding strategies, and find additional ways to grow my business!

At the convention, I met a radio producer who interviewed me about a year ago. His show was called Radio Entrepreneurs, and we talked about setting up a time to discuss Let’s Make You Shine.

Knowing I would be on-air as soon as next week, I revised a list of Radio Interview Do’s and Don’ts that may be useful for your own media training:

Easy Guidelines for Creating A Powerful Radio Interview

  • A picture is worth a thousand words, but your listener can’t “see”. Speak in terms of vibrant images and make sure to use details. Think of ways to describe what you’re talking about so your audience can “see” for themselves.
  • Start with a bang! Talk about something you find interesting, so your listeners will too! Don’t build your talk brick by brick, start strong. Making a positive impression straight from the gate can be a deciding factor in whether the listener tunes in, or out. You want them tuned in and tuned on!
  • Don’t fib. Today’s audience can tell when you aren’t being authentic. A sensitive subject? Learn to sway gracefully, but still hold integrity.
  • Please don’t bore your audience to death. Stand up when you talk – put your game face on and enjoy your time on stage as an expert. If you’re sleep talking, they’ll be walking. They snooze, you lose.
  • Have an important conflict and afraid reschedule? Think twice. If you’re feeling OFF, you’ll most likely come across that way. Better to be 100% IN than 60% OFF. Be media ready.
  • Do some R & D on the station where you’ll be featured. What’s the format? The host’s style? Make it a point to know the culture of the station as best as possible, before your interview.
  • Put yourself in the listener’s shoes. What makes you an expert? What’s happened in your life that can be used as example? What challenges have you overcome and what can you teach others? What’s your story and why would someone want to listen? Be memorable.
  • Don’t be intimidated by the radio host; in truth, they’re just like you and me, with a different job. Not crazy about a question they ask? Learn about the Art of Transition in Radio, and how to get from one sensitive subject to the next without being rude or self-centered. (Interested? Email me for a few subject transition tips).

And finally, be yourself when you’re on air. That’s all you are, have been and ever will be. If you’re an entrepreneur or professional looking to get more visibility and the media knocks on your door (or you boldy seek it xo), be prepared. Go for it. Chances are you’ve got everything to gain, and not a darn thing to lose.

Click Here to listen to listen in on Enterprise Radio host Eric Dye & guest Robin Samora discuss the following:

  • Who is Robin Samora and what qualifies you as a Business and PR strategist ?
  • Who needs your services?  How does a client work with you?
  • Can you give us an example where you’re especially proud of the success of one of your clients because it shows a direct result from your counseling?
  • Name the symptoms experienced by someone who needs to embolden their lives by strategizing with you?
  • Why can’t people sort this out themselves…what does strategizing with you provide them that they can’t do on their own?

TIP: You are your own brand and you need to market yourself with that in mind.  Identify who you are and what your company stands for before hitting the road with the latest PR gimmick. What good is it if the world sees or hears you and thinks of fuzzy kittens on your YouTube video, but you’re selling hardware? You need to develop a strategy for your self-promotion that just doesn’t get you out there, but instead gets you out there with meaning, with creativity, and that’s consistent with your business mission. You need to be able to stand out in a crowd.

Robin Samora is a business and PR strategist who helps entrepreneurs take a leap of faith to make more money and get recognized in a crowded marketplace.  Her passion is coaching professionals to expand their limits to get the business and attention they deserve – so they can share their gifts and profits with the world.  With a background in business and marketing, Robin not only drives clients to uncover their personal profit centers, but she goes one step farther – she works with her clients to uncover unique strategies to bring their messages to the masses. Robin is a life-long entrepreneur, idea-generator and the founder of the Let’s Make You Shine Fund, which empowers young women to advance their education and use their special gifts to help others.

It seems like this week, I’ve been especially busy with appointments – and looking ahead to the next ninety days. Psychologically we’ve been trained from the school model that Fall is a time of new beginnings, and along with the seasonal changes, the energy of autumn inspires us into action. This energy of opportunity, along with the release and the “power of goodbye” from last week has officially taken effect for me. I’m realizing that the Universe really does abhor a vacuum. And so, it’s interesting to note that prospects that I haven’t heard from in a while are resurfacing, new opportunities are knocking on my door, and clients are asking for specialty services that I’ve been thinking of offering. I’ve also been able to make the time to teach Reiki at night as a matter of paying it forward and fulfilling a promise I made to myself last year. Since I’m an entrepreneur who values freedom, I’m fortunate to find pockets of time during the day – and at night – where I can fit in activities that don’t include work (though I love it), coaching, networking, chores or paying bills. With an hour or two, and sometimes more, I have the freedom to choose what I’d like to do. For me, and for you – there are lots of choices, and I’ve been inclined as of late, to enjoy myself, and do things without rules or limits (we only limit ourselves). On my calendar: swing dancing, shopping in a new gourmet market, fitting in a wine sampling during the day and taking an afternoon break to just “rest” – without an ounce of guilt. More often than not, I don’t plan an activity for those free times. Sometimes, I’m in the mood to just sit and write in front of the fire or create a new radio station on Pandora. It’s very freeing to just decide what you’d like to do, without judgment. There will always be work to do. There will always be business to catch up on. And until our last day. there will always be time. It’s what we do with it that counts. There’s only now. If we have to refresh our computer, why don’t we refresh ourselves? I’m making a habit of it more often. Maybe you’d like to join me