Tag Archives: Lou Cahill APR

The PR you do every day (but may not be aware of!)

Networking events can be pleasant, once you are comfortable speaking. Just ask these three!

Networking events can be pleasant, once you are comfortable speaking. Just ask these three!

It’s a mouthful of a title, but bear with me: as a businessperson, every time you open your mouth, you are doing PR for your business. If this has come as a shock, don’t be discouraged.

What I am getting at, is that your business’s “PR” is not just what you formally do with your PR agency or marketing team. PR is far more than just the sum total of media releases you issue, the social media messaging you send, or the media coverage you generate.

As my late mentor Lou Cahill APR famously said, “You’ve got PR whether you like it or not.”

In essence, what Lou was saying is, you and your business have a reputation. The variable he highlighted, is the degree to which you manage it.

And like it or not, every time you open your mouth, you are contributing to the sum total of that reputation. I was struck by this at the BNI meeting in Inverness last week. I am a founder member of BNI Highland; BNI is a worldwide business networking organisation founded by Dr Ivan Misner. Something that I immediately realised is that the group’s format of a 60-second presentation by each member — at every meeting, every week — is something that strikes fear into a number of would-be members.

What I am noticing however, is that after even two or three meetings, some member’s presentation skills are improving. They are becoming more at ease with speaking to the group about their business. Some [read: Hamish Malcolm, Grant] are even making the most of these “mini-pitches” by incorporating humour and using inventive props. Well done to them!

They may not realise it, but each member’s incremental improvements in their weekly pitch, results in an improvement in their business’s PR, because we all go away with an improved image of their firm. Woefully, the converse is equally true: people who mumble their way through a pitch, speak too quietly or never get to the point are not doing their own, or their business’s, reputation any favours.

If the thought of making a 60-second pitch about your business fills you with dread, then Toastmasters is the place to replace your fear with confidence, and get the skills to make sure you communicate effectively. You’ll have the unexpected benefit of making some new friends as well.

But remember, every time you open your mouth, you are contributing to your business’s reputation. You owe it to yourself to do the best you can. If you haven’t got the skills to do the job well, the onus is on you to get them. Your business deserves it. Don’t let it down.

Toastmasters Inverness is hosting a social evening Wednesday 17th June at 7pm at the Glen Mhor Hotel in Inverness. If you are interested in learning more about the group, go along for dinner and to get a feel for what the group offers. Membership in Toastmasters may be the best, most cost-effective investment you can make in your business! Click here to find out more about the dinner Wednesday evening.

“You can never have too many friends”: Nicky Marr and the power of goodwill

Nicky Marr captured doing a selfie with guests at the launch of her new venture

Nicky Marr captured doing a selfie with guests at the launch of her new venture

Last night broadcaster and columnist Nicky Marr invited several dozen friends and associates along as she launched her new enterprise. I was delighted to be invited to attend the post-work launch at the new Kingsmills Hotel venue, and it was a lovely evening. Her handsome husband Colin and two lovely daughters staffed the reception desk, and guests were invited to leave a stack of business cards to facilitate their own networking. A grand idea, really.

Glasses of fizz and a great buzz in the room, the formal programme began. After a delightful group “selfie”, Nicky took to the podium and shared plans of her new venture. She had been with local radio station MFR for 13 years, hosting the morning show and getting up at o’dark-thirty for ages. Increasingly, she was finding that she was coming home exhilarated at 1.30am after hosting/compereing/MC-ing awards events, industry dinners and conferences, only to have to get up again at 4.30am. Her weekly column in the Inverness Courier has also been syndicated around the SPP group of papers, and it seemed clear to Nicky, something was going to have to give.

She’s now out on her own full-time, having left her morning post at MFR, and available to host events, provide media training, do voiceovers, and more.

If you have ever attended an event she has hosted, you will know how obviously at ease she is in this role. Just the right blend of humour, familiarity with her hosts, and a business-like ability to get through the programme — your event is in a safe pair of hands, it would be fair to say.

Being new to the area, I first saw Nicky in action at the Highland Business awards luncheon last September at the Dromossie Hotel. She sparkled over the lunchtime programme, and everyone enjoyed the event.

What struck me last night, in the company of many of the people for whom Nicky has been that “safe pair of hands”, was the tremendous goodwill toward her and the speakers’ pleasure in giving her a bit of stick, back.

I was reminded of my mentor, the late Louis J. Cahill, APR, founder of Canada’s oldest PR firm, OEB International (now Enterprise Canada) and a founding member of the world’s first worldwide network of independent PR firms, the WorldCom Group. Early in my career at OEB, I remarked to Lou that he had more invitations and social engagements than anyone I knew. Given he was about 80 at the time, this was particularly striking. Lou advised me, “Laura, you can never have too many friends.”

Lou understood that you support your friends in their new ventures, and, if you ever needed it, chances were they would support you. From last night’s event it was clear: Nicky Marr has done a lot of good turns for people, and when she put out word of her new venture, they turned out for her in droves.

Nicky is going to be a huge success in her new venture — I just hope she isn’t too good at writing press releases, or we’re all going to be in big trouble! 🙂