Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Two Cents on Humor's Pivotal PR Role

Last Friday, when I let newspaper editor Helen Karakoudas know that I had a "timely and hilarious" news release coming her way, she immediately gravitated to the "hilarious" half of that promise.

"Now you've got my interest," said Karakoudas, managing editor of Wednesday Journal, Inc.

I was referring to my effort on behalf of Charo's Hair Design and Day Spa, involving former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his wellspring of hair.

Karakoudas posted the story on the paper's web site a few hours later, and the media ball had begun rolling.

Communicating with a sense of humor, clearly, is an immense aid, no matter who you are and no matter what your professional (or amateur) pursuit.

When I was a newspaper reporter, having a sense of humor was an indispensable part of how I built rapport with people, either one-time interviewees or long-term sources.

Did they always appreciate my humor? I strongly doubt it. But at least I tried, and it's something that I continually strive to weave in to my everyday interactions as I meet a steady stream of new people, from prospective clients to folks riding the elevator with me to dealings with the cashier at Trader Joe's.

In my experience, the key is authenticity--to work with whatever humor God gave you, and not try too hard. In sports, this is called "letting the game come to you." In day-to-day life, it springs forth from being an active, attentive listener--not constantly thinking of what I will say next--and identifying the lighter side of things.

On the sense-of-humor front, publicist Wayne Pollard wrote an essay that appeared in today's Bulldog Reporter. And guess what? Not only does it contain excellent content, but it's quite funny, too.

I highly recommend you read Pollard's piece, "Tough Times Call for Laughter: Obama and Reagan Got It—Why Doesn't PR?"

1 comment:

Steve said...

I didn't realize you had to ride the elevator to the cashier at Trader Joe's. It must be some place.