Calm, Cool and Collected…Unfortunately

On March 7, 2017 I got into a fender bender.  It’s unfortunate that we live in a world that we constantly feel like we need to rush.  Blame it on the information age and speed I guess but there are situations where our full attention is needed.  Driving needs our full attention!

Anyway, here is what happened in a nutshell:

  • I looked to make sure no car was coming before I backed out of my park, then I backed out
  • As I was attempting to put my car in drive to leave, I looked again in my rear view mirror to see another person who works in the same building as I quickly put their car in reverse…and GUNNED it, without looking to see if there was anyone behind them
  • He rear ended me with his bumper, puncturing and scratching my bumper

When I got out of the car I waited to see how he responded, knowing we both knew who was at fault.  The first thing he said was “oh man”, to which I replied “yep.”  There was no way I was going to apologize for anything.  As he requested to exchange information, I asked what happened.  He stated that he was in a rush and didn’t look where he was going.  He then apologized and stated that it was his fault.

First sign of relief but my guard was still up.  We both established he was at fault.  Unfortunately it took a while to get his insurance information because he didn’t keep an insurance card on him AND the car he hit me with was his girlfriend’s car.  As he was trying to get his girlfriend to get him the insurance information, I took pictures of the accident then submitted a claim through my Geico app (how convenient!) but because it wasn’t his car, I followed up with a call to the insurance company to ensure proper protocol.

The gentlemen at fault was actually surprised that I wasn’t angry or as he said “cursing him out.”  Granted I had every right to be “angry” as not only was he careless in the act, his nervous talks revealed that he likes to read emails while driving, but thought texting and driving was stupid.  I was truly bewildered at this statement.

Despite the accident and his confession of reading emails while driving, I told myself there was no reason to blow a gasket when everything will be taken care of and because of that I reassured him that everything will get worked out.  Accidents happen but owning up to them is critical.

He even stated that he was in my position before and he did not act as “nice” as I did.  The main reason that I was nice was because I knew it would be resolved and covered by their insurance.  The second main reason was I know I would not want anyone to yell at me if I was on the other side of this accident.  I’m no stranger to owning up to mistakes as I make plenty but sometimes that’s not enough.  People want to vent and put their anger on someone else when the opportunity presents itself.

The last but most important reason I did not get angry with this man was because I did not want to be portrayed as the “angry black woman.”  It is sad that I have to always think about this in everyday situations.  As I stated before, I had every right to be angry however I did not want to give anyone the reason to continue believing the stereotypical image of the woman of color.  This goes beyond the accident.  If a man yells or curses at work, he is passionate but if a women does it she is emotional or a b!t*h.  It’s time to stop this way of thinking.

Women should be able to show the same “passion” as a man without fear of any biased backlash or consequences that a man would never receive.

 

If you like it then you should put a RIBBON on it

In a previous post, I talked about how being a public relations professional helps me think on my feet to work around threats.

In conducting and updating my SWOT analysis for this wedding, one of the opportunities for the bridal party turned into a serious threat:

The bridesmaid dresses didn’t fit 40% of the bridal party!

 

Now with less than 30 days to the wedding, I had to think fast to avoid raising the bride’s stress levels. Well it turns out my solution worked!

Here is how I turned an original opportunity that changed to a threat back to another opportunity…and technically into a strength.

 

My wonderful Etsy solution!

The bridesmaid dresses are one of the most expensive items to acquire for the wedding.  Normally this would entail the bridal party to go dress shopping and place the dress on order.  In this particular instance, we decided to go the least expensive route and find a dress on a website.  Pretty dress but to our disbelief, the FIT didn’t work out for our curvaceous features.  We took the risk and lost.

It’s now less than 30 days to the wedding.  There was no way we could order dress to have them arrive in time and even if they did, the fit out would not be favorable.  With two bridesmaids not being able to fasten the hooks, I decided to throw a ribbon on it and have all the bridesmaids wear a ribbon around their waist to cover the hooks.

It was my job to break the news to the bride but I had to make sure I present it in a way that would ease her worries.  The sandwich method helped (start good, drop the bad, top it off with good):

  1. Complimented the beauty of the dress
  2. State that the dress could not be secured for a couple of bridesmaids due to the tight fit
  3. Offered a solution that would solve any issues AND compliment the colors of the wedding

After having the bride check with her wedding planner, the ribbon worked and would not clash with any other decor. Whew, crisis averted.  I Pope’ed it!  This ribbon not only solves a problem but includes the bride’s favor color more in her wedding vision.

Anyone can complain and pout but the resilient figure out a way to make it happen.  Most entrepreneurs push and strive to see their vision come to life so get out there and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Don’t curve your curve balls, embrace them!

When it comes to an event, planning is crucial. No matter how much planning you do, especially in advance, you can bet something will always go wrong. It’s always good to have a backup plan however some issues are totally unexpected. Thinking on your feet is a major key! Mastering the art of problem-solving is critical when you’re experiencing a huge blunder.

Frustrated

Instead of complaining, be quick to find a solution.

  • The caterer cancelled at the last-minute? Have options that won’t need a long lead time to accommodate large groups such as Subway.
  • Your florist promised seasoned flowers that turned out to be in late bloom and can’t deliver as promised? Get alternative flowers or get fake flowers from Hobby Lobby or Michael’s….get real flowers from Walmart if you have no choice but make sure the florist gives you a hefty discount for your next event.
  • The venue double-booked but you already printed invites? Make sure you notify everyone on the invite list and that have RSVP’ed to understand any changes in venue or schedule.  Call them, email them, text them…make sure you communicate any and all changes to your guests!

Figure out how to solve the problem now and then find the best solution for the variable that caused the issue. Make sure you are made “whole” if someone unexpectedly changes or adjusts what was discussed and contracted out for the event.  Sometimes your solutions will not be glamorous but it will help you plan and prepare for future hiccups and continue on with your event.

Have your contracts ready!

PRessure Makes Diamonds: How my career as a Publicist helps me with Wedding Planning

HOW SWAY?!Having in-house experience has made me understand the work it takes into going in a PR plan for a single project.  It has also made me curious of what it is like to work for an agency.

Thus I’ve turned to virtual work for several PR agencies and I’m getting use to understanding that the work is non-stop.  Not only that, you barely have time to celebrate major accomplishments because there are always bigger fish to fry.  Delegation is key for agency bosses.

In a previous post I spoke about how important it is to delegate.  I’m currently the Matron of Honor for my sister’s upcoming wedding this spring.  Managing five other ladies while keeping the stress down for my little sister is quite challenging…but I’ve always loved a challenge!  Understanding your wedding party is key.  Get to know them and their schedules.

The wonderful ladies understand that communication is key.  We have each others’ phone numbers, emails, and we’re all in a GroupMe chat.  Everybody has different schedule and 40% of the bridal party lives outside of the bride’s state however understanding what we can or cannot do can help alleviate the pressures.  It also gives me the opportunity to incorporate how I can get them involved in a more creative way.

Doing a SWOT analysis for a bridal party may seem like a questionable action however I’ve found it to be most beneficial in the wedding planning process:

Strengths
– The bridesmaids compliment the bride’s life beautifully
– The bridesmaids come from different backgrounds, yes even me who grew up with the bride.  We all have different experiences from either being in weddings, going to      weddings and not even have been to a wedding
– Each bridesmaid is good at something (planning, coordinating, decorating, hunting great deals, etc.)

Weaknesses
– Different schedules
– Different states/locations
– Different budgets
– Different availability for wedding events leading up to the big day

Opportunities
– Our overall network has led to a great bridal shower venue at a vastly discounted price (WIN!)
– Our frugal-ness has led us to find a great bridesmaid dress at a very affordable price
– Our different experiences will aid in the bachelorette and bridal shower planning

Threats
– Any possible last-minute cancellations on behalf of the bride
– Not having finalized accessories and shoes for wedding day (less than 60 days away)
– Outside variables that can affect the bridesmaids’ duties

We just ran into this hiccup from one of our opportunities turning into a threat: to avoid increased costs, we purchased our bridesmaid dresses from a site where the dresses are not so flattering to our different shapes and sizes.  With little time left, we had to get creative!  How you may ask?

Stay tuned as we I will report back on how a solved a huge crisis with less than 50 days to the wedding!

 

Breaking Bad…News that is! How to Soften the Blow

uh-oh

It’s never good to receive bad news. To actually be the one to deliver the bad news can also bring an unsettling feeling to one’s stomach. No one wants to hear bad news without understanding how or why something happened the way did. Here are critical steps to cushion the impact:

1). Own up to the mistake if one is quickly identified. In the distribution industry, if a carrier missed a delivery appointment, then one would follow up with the carrier to understand what happened.

2). Shoot first, ask questions later. But shoot with precision!! Figuring out what your Plan B will be to finish the task at hand is vital. Being able to come up with a solution can help ease the delivery of bad news. Time may be of the essence in most cases. One example would be having a case of gloves go missing that is also no longer available at the vendor.

3). Research the nitty, gritty facts. Find an alternative approach, then figure out if multiple parties involved will be responsible. A “major key” (DJ Khaled would hopefully approve of the use of this term) would be to understand 5 W’s of the issue: who, what, when, where, why. Please don’t forget the “how.”

4). Summarize the timeline of the task. Summarize the timeline in an email. Doing this task can help clear any lingering confusion for all parties involved.

Being able to solve problems increases more opportunities for your personal brand. It make you a resourceful person and that makes people want to work with you more and more!

What key tips do you find most useful in delivering unsettling news?

Grace and Grit

Photo Courtesy of The White House website: Obama administration
Photo Courtesy of The White House website: Obama administration

During President Barack Obama’s farewell speech, a moment that truly got me emotional was how he spoke of his wife, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson.

From his speech: “You took on a role you didn’t ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humor. You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. You’ve made me proud. You’ve made the country proud.”

Despite your own personal political views, it is important to understand the complex position of the wife of the Commander in Chief. Mrs. Obama didn’t campaign to become the First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS), she was given that title once her husband assume the position of President of the United Status (POTUS).
Check out number 8 on the Huffington Posts on 12 little known facts about Michelle Obama that will make you love her even more.  She has inspired me to be a better mom, colleague and to understand different perspectives.

Not only am I truly interested in seeing what Mrs. Obama will do next, I’m very interested to understand what Melania Trump will do as FLOTUS these next few years. Mrs. Trump has mentioned that online bullying was an important issue to her. I hope she makes strides with this issue. According to the cyber bullying statistics website, from the i-SAFE foundation, over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet. She has even told her own husband to ease up on his twitter rants.

With the rise of technology and all the advances it has to offer, many people will continue to use it negatively and the side effects are taking a toll on our younger generation.  Mrs. Trump’s legacy is truly at stake, whether she asked for it to be or not, due to the person to whom she is married.

How do you think the role of FLOTUS has affected your own life? Have any former first ladies inspired you to be something or do something specific?

How Alternative Facts can Question your Credibility

The 45th president of the United States was inaugurated on January 20, 2017.  This is the traditional passing of the torch from the current president to the president-elect.  One this cold, and rainy day President Obama handed off this role after eight years.

A viral picture of the inauguration crowd from 2009 to 2017 has gone viral.  It shows what appear to be a smaller crowd at Trump’s inauguration compared to Obama’s from 2009.

obamavstrump
Photo courtesy of The New York Times

Due to the significant attendance, President Trump decided to have Press Secretary Spicer hold a press conference.  During this press conference, Spicer attacked the media for reporting on inaccurate attendance information.  He cited metro usage and infrastructural issues during this day however it appears that his facts and figures were off.

According to PolitiFact, an un-biased  website dedicated to fact-checking, the Truth-o-meter read Spicer’s statements at the press conference were so wrong that his pants were on fire.

To make matters worse, counselor to President Trump, Kellyanne Conway, appeared on “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd. Going back and forth with Todd she stated something that would turn the same situation viral again via memes.  She stated, “You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary — gave alternative facts,”

Todd then informed her that “alternative facts are not facts, they’re falsehoods.”  Conway then tried to pivot from the issue mentioning how Todd’s chuckle was symbolic of how the media has treated the Trump administration.

What does this tell us?

  • Make sure you’re facts are just that, FACTS. The word fact should not need an adjective in front of it to be true, unless you’re stating the CORRECT facts to fix reported falsehoods.
  • Make sure your entire team is aware of the response that will be issued so that no one will question your statement’s accuracy
  • Even if you pointed out a lie, you have to refrain from ridicule. Although Todd was right to hold Conway accountable for the falsehood, his chuckle was the ticket for Conway to use against that media outlet.  Although it is wrong, and Trump and his team have done it before, the press team at the White House could refuse to answer any future questions from any reporter from NBC due to the exchange between Todd and Conway.

Having the CORRECT facts can avoid any media blunders and future issues that derive from said blunder.  How do you think Trump’s press secretary and office can recover from the “alternative facts” viral statement?