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?

The Critical Art of Delegation

This Christmas was extra special as it was my daughter’s first Christmas. We spend time at our separate families. At my husband’s grandparent’s sock party, we wanted to remember the activity of exchanging stuffed socks with goodies. There were over 30 people who were crowded into this small area trying to take a picture. The only way we could get everyone in a family photo was to get a Pano-shot, or panoramic.

pano-family

Of course being a millennial with an iPhone in front of the group shot, I was the first to be able to volunteer my services to this group picture. I got up, excluded myself from the group shot and took the photo. After it was done I heard at least seven people say “Let me see!” on top of others crowding around me to try to view it as well.

With all of the commotion going on, I decided to pay attention to one of my elders only who had requested to view it. My great Aunt Gail was the closest to me after the photo was taken and she requested that I send it to her. I also had about 10 other folks asking to send it to them. Not having everyone’s contact information made that task more difficult for me. I had asked my aunt would she be able to send it to everyone if I sent it to her.

Here is where time is critical: She requested that I sent it to one of her daughters instead as they had everyone’s contact number. This was a brilliant change of action! Aunt Gail wanted to make sure everyone had that special picture commemorating another wonderful memory however she didn’t want to put up with the task of sending it to at least 30 people. Maybe she wasn’t as tech-savvy or maybe she wanted to save her precious time to spend with her sisters. Either way, Aunt Gail requested that I sent the pictures elsewhere. I’m sure it got done because A) Mom’s direction is law B) I didn’t get anybody asking me to send the pictures after I announced the picture would come from Aunt Gail’s daughter.

This is a very good lesson we can take heed in our business lives. Sometimes we don’t have time to do certain things, even though we may want to do them. That is why we hire other people to focus on doing those tasks so we can focus on what we do best. You may want to strategically plan what gets put on social media on what is written in a press release but your time may need to be securing more business opportunities or more sponsors. Having subordinates or interns can mean the difference of making an extra $50/month to making an extra $50,000/month, or more!

Advice for 2017: Stay in YOUR lane

Yes, you read that right and no… I don’t mean to be rude.  It can be so easy to compare and contrast our life to the lives of our siblings, friends, colleagues and mentors to understand how they all became “successful” while we haven’t experience our own just yet.  This needs to stop, now!  Stop trying to figure out why Sallie Mae was able to start her own successful business but you haven’t, yet.  Stop comparing your rising path to success to someone else’s paved road of success.

success

What was meant for Sallie Mae wasn’t meant for you.  Her background, up-bringing and experiences are different from your own so don’t get yourself into a rut because you haven’t found YOUR niche yet.

When I get down or I’m not having a good day, I’m guilty of retracting back to this bad behavior.  Lately I’ve been reading several different blogs and I’ve even started listening to podcasts, which is something I thought I’d never get into figuring how to set aside time for implementing in my life. I can thank Brittani Hunter for the podcast suggestions!

Everyone thinks of success in different terms.  You think Sallie Mae has it all figured out but she may start to resent what she does or she may want to start a family but doesn’t have time.  Unless an intimate conversation between both parties is held, you cannot assume what success is for others is what they have for themselves.  They may strive for more, or even for something completely different.

Be the best you that you can be.  Be unapologetic about being the best you.  Make mistakes so that you can learn from them, no one has everything figured out anyway.  Live life to the fullest extent possible and re-define your own definition of success.  That should be one of our resolutions for next year.

This will be my last post for the year.  I’m working on some exciting new projects and I hope you ask me more about the details of this to help me stay on track.  Hold me accountable!  Happy holidays and have a happy New Year!