Re: DSM: RE: Getting it

Rick Stansberger (
Wed, 22 Nov 2000 08:02:10 -0700

Joe Jackson wrote:

> The purpose of this list for me is not PR. The purpose of it is for me to
> learn things by a)hearing other people talk and b) having to organize my
> thoughts enough to express them to other folks.


I actually ran PR for 9 years in one of the schools in which I was resident
pain-in-the-butt, and I gotta tellya that public relations is nothing more than
information. A lot of people think it's lying or sugar coating, but that's just
BAD public relations. People find out about lies eventually and there you are
with your pants down. The coaches found me to be a continual pain because I
didn't push the school's sports. I didn't see the need because sports
information was getting out fine. Reporters were calling the coaches several
times a week, and pix of games were showing up in the press. Nobody was calling
to find out about the math team, though. Nobody outside knew when we sent a
bunch of kids to the ivy league after graduation or when a teacher on our staff
published a book. What I did was fill out the true picture of our complex
school by supplying info the sports pages weren't geared to print and that the
city desks didn't go looking for.

Which brings me to the more important point. PR is information and information
is PR in that they both depend on how they're taken by the hearer. There's no
such thing as just telling the truth. If I had written all the above in Urdu,
would you have gotten it? If I had written it as a personal attack, would it
have made it through your self-defense filters? And if it had made it through,
what form would it have taken, and where in your brain would it have been
filed? Under "The Truth"? I suspect not. People with healthy self-respect
don't file badmouthing there any more than they'd put a hand grenade in a baby's

You can't separate the message from the packaging. Or rather, you can, but your
hearer won't.

I've had my days and years of being blunt, telling it "like it is" and letting
the chips fall where they may. They weren't my most effective times. Mainly I
was just letting off steam, dumping on people because I was too tired to be
patient and learn about my hearer so I could present my truth in a way s/he
could understand.

Convinced people, in my experience, often don't think they have to step outside
their beliefs and see them as a newcomer would, and that's where they fail in
their efforts to communicate. You can cast as wide a net as you want, but if
you can't keep the fish from flopping back in, what's the point?


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