5 Resolutions to Improve Communications and Business in 2009

Businesspeople haven’t needed a holiday break like this in a long time.  Talk about stressed out.  Tough times have been made even tougher lately because so many people we encounter seem to just need to regroup and recharge.  

While looking ahead to 2009, here’s a list of suggested “Top 5” New Year’s Resolutions that we hope will make next year as positive as can be, under the circumstances:

1.  Embrace New Media-  Despite what you may see on some Web sites, there are no “social media experts.” We are all in a period of experimentation.  But, we are seeing success with several forms of “new media.”  Others can learn from our clients’ forays.  Professionals who rely on referrals have much to gain.  Corporations that need to manage reputations also can benefit.  This year, if you haven’t yet, it’s time to at least get your feet wet.

2.  Learn the “New Rules” – The fundamentals of communications and media relations are alive and well. But, if you think you have your strategy figured out with press releases and pitching stories to “print, TV and radio” outlets – think again.  Do yourself a favor, get help if you need it – but whatever it takes, it’s time to learn how things have changed, will change and why it’s not all bad for your organization and its messages.

3.  Respect Time – Here’s something that literally happened to me this year that was not an isolated incident.  It’s a symptom of a problem – there’s not enough respect for time in business these days.  I was called to a meeting with a senior executive at a potential client nearly three months ago.  I drove approximately 45 miles, early in the morning, to be at this executive’s office.  The executive was more than 30 minutes late for the meeting.  We did end up talking, seemingly productively, for nearly 90 minutes.  I was asked to put together a letter of proposal – by the following week – so we can begin working together. I sent that letter on time, as requested.

To this day, that letter has never been acknowledged by the recipient. I followed up by phone and email multiple times.  Keep in mind – I did not knock on the door and ask for a meeting. I was called to the office and, after a meeting, a letter was requested by this senior executive.  Nearly 3 months later – no response.  No “I’m sorry, it won’t work for us.”  No “now is not the right time.”  Nothing.

Please don’t do this to anyone you encounter in business.  It is beyond frustrating. It is disrespectful.  

4.  Take Advice  – I hear this not just in the PR business, but with all professionals.  Why pay someone good money for their advice and counsel and then ignore it?  Of course, you have the right to do it. And it happens all the time.  Remember, all successful businesspeople will tell you that outside advisors can add value and make a positive difference – but only if you listen to them.  

5.  Put People First – As I have written before, there are a lot of short fuses out there.  There is a lot of emotion, fear and anxiety running through offices and organizations. If there’s one thing we can all do this year, it’s remember that we’re all people, trying to support ourselves, our families and our communities.  Let’s treat each other with professionalism, the way we wanted to be treated, in all of our business interactions.

Happy Holidays and here’s to a successful 2009 for the readers of the Tanner Friedman blog.