Walking in a Winter Wonderland…Back in Time

Simplifying communications during the holidays brings public relations back to its origin

By: Kathleen Procek, communications coordinator

With the snow that has accumulated recently, we are all reminded of time with family and well-loved traditions. Then the panic of the holidays sets in: the online shopping to be done, the phone calls to be made, and all the social media posts about people finishing their holiday to-do lists way before you’ve even scratched the surface of yours. This holiday season, we have some advice: simplify your life by simplifying your communication.

Every day of every week, we are connected. We constantly receive emails, Facebook notifications, tweets, new follower requests, text messages and phone calls. We know - we see them too. Working at a PR agency, it’s kind of hard not to. While some people may be connected to keep up with the Joneses, at CSC, being connected is what we do. In fact, we do it so frequently, it’s often easy to forget that public relations and communication used to be much simpler. Before the Internet and today’s technologies, people communicated by speaking with one another. They visited. They wrote letters.

At its core, public relations is inextricably linked to communication. It is public relations after all. Public relations is about building relationships. When done properly, people receive public relations efforts the same way they would receive a hug – with open arms, literally. How do you make a hug comfortable? By communicating with the recipient and developing a…wait for it…relationship with that person. We’ve all seen the articles about how the Internet and social media are distorting our relationships and making people shy away from face-to-face communication. This holiday season, we challenge you take a walk back in time and focus on communicating the old school way – in person. We promise we’ll take the (polar) plunge right alongside you.

Email to Snail Mail
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a slave to my email. With the first buzz of my phone or pop-up on my computer, I am checking to see who needs me to draft a press release or schedule social media content. This holiday season, I’m challenging myself to refrain from looking at my email for the entire time I’m away from my desk. I’m also challenging myself to send more personal letters via snail mail. Anyone I want to thank for working with me throughout the year, for example, deserves a handwritten message. I know, I know, it isn’t technically face-to-face communication, but a handwritten message communicates sincerity and authenticity in a way an email just can’t. Plus, when someone is too far away or too busy to meet in person, a handwritten message suffices as a sincere thank you.

Social Media to…Gasp…Nothing
I work on social media accounts every single day. It’s probably safe to say that I’m a social media addict (occupational hazard, what can I say). This year, I am challenging myself to stay off social media during the holidays. Yes, I know the dessert you made for family dinner is stunning and your niece just made the cutest sound, but those moments can be posted after the holiday. Your family and friends want to see YOU, not your Instagram story.

Text, Phone, Skype and FaceTime to Actual Face Time
Shooting a holiday well wish to your friend from college may work most of the time, but why not send them a text or call them and ask to meet up for coffee or lunch? Life is too short to spend all our time communicating through screens. The holidays are a time when people try to get together, don’t let that end with your family. Let’s set a goal for ourselves and make 2018 the year of fostering the relationships we have by being genuine and communicating in person.

The Challenge. Am I Crazy?
Some of you may very well think so, and that is perfectly fine. At CSC we believe the holidays are about those around you. We are connected each and every day – at work and at home. So, while technology and media are impressive and important, the holidays are the perfect time to simplify your communication. Let’s bring our professional and personal public relations back to what it has always been about: relationships. Communicate face-to-face. Remember the hug – they’re always warmer and more welcome during the holidays anyway.

So, while you’re decorating your tree or lighting your candles, put down the phone, close the laptop, shut down the iPad and enjoy more simplistic communication and improved relationships – we’ll be doing it too.