Comms during labor strife, using multiple firms, more

We're going through a very uncomfortable confrontation with a labor union. What steps can we take to reduce the level of acrimony, improve communications, and facilitate a more pleasant outcome?

We're going through a very uncomfortable confrontation with a labor union. What steps can we take to reduce the level of acrimony, improve communications, and facilitate a more pleasant outcome?

According to James Lukaszewski of the Lukaszewski Group, there are very specific steps and strategies to undertake that can set the tone of public and private debates and discussions.

"Eliminate all negative words," he advises. "They cause misunderstanding and unanswerable questions and you'll have to eat every one of them sometime soon. Be constructive rather than critical. Criticism is negative, confusing, and starts fights."

Lukaszewski also suggests talking about moving forward into the future. Those who insist on staying in the past will simply lose or die there.

"The question to ask is, 'Are you a force for yesterday or a force for a better tomorrow?' The choice is yours," he says. "If given the chance, your employees will choose happiness and candor over anger, fear of the unknown, and the regimentation third-party membership requires."

Agency collaboration
We use multiple PR firms for our campaigns and communications. How can we better collaborate with them?

"Today, it's all about initiating, cultivating, engaging, and sharing dialogues with constituent audiences found in what is collectively known as Web 2.0," says Peter Granat at Bacon's Information. These Web-based knowledge-sharing tools are enabling PR pros to work smarter and faster by monitoring and managing the conversation overload in sane and productive ways.

"For example, database technology has transformed editorial research from 'list keeping' to a sharing dynamic and constantly updated intelligence," he adds. "Similarly, contact management systems enable personalized, real-time connections within multiple teams, just as effective search technologies and sophisticated analysis tools have revolutionized the evaluation and sharing of results.

"Those who get up to speed with these technologies are finding a new freedom to collaborate and spend more time doing what PR people have traditionally done best: engage in conversations that motivate action," says Granat.

Radio
How can I use radio to promote our annual convention?

"Conventions are a great opportunity to use radio," says Susan Matthews Apgood of News Generation. "There are a lot of spokespeople gathered in one place, making the logistics of recordings and interviews easier than when everyone is spread around the country."

For years, she adds, one way associations have been garnering publicity is by completing hometown interviews from conventions. "Media rooms are set up as interviewing stations, and spokespeople can report at a pre-determined time to do an interview with a media outlet in their hometown or state," notes Apgood. " Or, they can be recorded and the media team at the conference can pitch out sound bites to stations back in the spokesperson's hometown."

Logistically, using radio to promote the convention works well for a communications team. It also has a great cachet of having the sound come from the floor of a convention center, Apgood adds, where like minds are meeting to present groundbreaking information on their industry.

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