Category Archives: Workplace Tips

Self-improvement advice for your work

Effective Meetings Tips: Participating in the meeting

  • Start the meeting on time. Review the agenda and announce all expectations at the outset of the meeting.
  • Keep the meeting moving along by sticking to the agenda.
  • Be attentive to the person speaking — do not begin sidebar conversations or be reading or completing paperwork while a person is talking. You expect common courtesy from others, so practice it yourself.
  • If you are the Chair, attempt to engage all the participants in the discussion.  This will ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Should the discussion be derailed, bring the meeting back on track by restating the objective(s) and expectations. Get their feedback during the meeting when you can improve the meeting process right away.
  • Consider the timely use of printed materials and visuals.
  • At the end of the meeting, review discussion and decisions made and any action items for follow-up to the meeting.
  • Assign action items and an agreeable follow-up process.
  • Attempt to keep the meeting to 60 minutes — spend as little time as is needed to understand the issues and agree on action items.


Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Effective Meetings Tips: In preparing for a meeting

By George begins this week by sharing tips on conducting more effective meetings. (We all spend too much time in meetings not to consider how to make them more efficient and productive.)

Here is the first of three posts this morning… tips in preparing for a meeting.


  • Determine whether there is a need for a meeting. Avoid a meeting if the same information could be covered in a memo, e-mail or brief report.
  • Set realistic objectives for the meeting. What information must be shared and what can be accomplished.
  • Have an agenda and circulate it prior to the meeting. Ensure the agenda expresses the objective of the meeting.
  • Circulate materials prior to the meeting, if there are articles or items that will be discussed.
  • Invite the correct people at the meeting those who have information to contribute or must follow-through on what is being shared.
  • Consider the physical surroundings of your meeting – a seating arrangement, writing materials and space, audiovisual aids including extension cords and outlets, refreshments, etc.
  • Prepare yourself and know the issues to be discussed. Consider print-outs and visuals.
  • If you are the chairman, you must: know the group, prep members prior to the meeting, set the agenda and plan ahead, prepare speaking notes in advance, be prepared to lead discussions – and evaluate the proceedings during and after the meeting.


Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Leaders within our Workplace

In surfing through old business columns (dated 2010), we came across a good commentary on effective leadership in today’s workplace. Dave Jones, then with Proximity Canada in Toronto, comments on the distinction between two types of people in the workplace – managers and leaders.

Jones says: “There are few true leaders in the world.  It’s risky.  It’s hard.  It’s often times unappreciated.”  

Here’s his distinction.



  • deal with what’s handed to them
  • iterate on what’s been done
  • chart a course in ink
  • check boxes
  • have “not my…” in their vocabulary i.e. department, job, budget, responsibility
  • lean to the conservative
  • maximize resources against goals
  • measure at the end



  • redefine their environment
  • allergic to “this is how we’ve always done it”
  • head in a direction, but not certain to reach destination
  • colour outside the boxes
  • strive to be innovative
  • focus resources on goals; but saves some for the sandbox
  • measure along the way; course-correcting on the fly




Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

6 Steps of Effective Advocacy

Advocacy 101… the six steps…


  1. Plan: Write your objectives and course of action down on paper and discuss with all participants.


  1. Identify target audience: Get specific about who you want to reach and develop your lists.


  1. Focus theme and message(s): Take time and pay attention to your messaging — be clear, concise, precise and use engaging language.


  1. Develop tools and tactics: Answer the question, “what will best make our point?”, and develop presentation materials that will be effective with your chosen audience(s).


  1. Implement plan and analyse response (and revise messages if necessary): Constantly monitor your exchanges and you might need to revise and redeliver the messages.


  1. Follow-through: You will foster strong relationships and realize goals when you pay attention to the details and follow-through with all leads.


Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Modern Business Wisdom

“In today’s business environment, a company’s website is the key to their entire business.” – Marcus Sheridan

“In the digital space, attention is a currency. We earn it. We spend it.” – Brian Solis

“Content is fire; social media is gasoline.” – Jay Baer

“Mass marketing is turning into a mass of niches.” – Chris Anderson

“The customer’s perception is your reality.” – Kate Zabriskie

“Content marketing is no longer a numbers game. It’s a game of relevance.” – Jason Miller

“Content is the fuel for your lead generation efforts.” – Dayna Rothman

“Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content marketing is showing the world you are one.” – Robert Rose

“The key is, no matter what story you tell, make your buyer the hero.” – Chris Brogan

“Every email is an opportunity to test a different benefit or angle.” – Heather Morgan

“There is no sale without the story; no knockout without the setup.” – Gary Vavnerchuk

“We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.” – Craig Davis

“Listening is not about skills or techniques or calculated movements or gestures. Listening is not about what you do. Listening is about what you intend, what you feel, who you are.” – Gavin Ingham

“When reps take the role of a curious student rather than an informed expert, buyers are much more inclined to engage.” – Jeff Hoffman

“People buy emotionally, and they justify their decisions intellectually.” – David Sandler

“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.” – Mary Kay Ash

“Prospects are making their purchase decision based on whether they think you understand their problems and you have the knowledge, resources and commitment to solve them.” – Trish Bertuzzi

“If you are not taking care of your customer, your competitor will.” – Bob Hooey

“Don’t find customers for your products. Find products for your customers.” – Seth Godin

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” – Jeff Bezos

“You are your greatest asset. Put your time, effort and money into training.” – Tom Hopkins

“For every sale you miss because you’re too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough.” – Zig Ziglar

“A mediocre person tells. A good person explains. A superior person demonstrates. A great person inspires others to see for themselves.” – Harvey Mackay


Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Our articles tagged “writing”


The By George Journal articles tagged “writing” are for those who fancy themselves to be writers, copy-editors, hacks and flacks. We trust these posts will be helpful for a public relations practitioner or corporate professional – or anyone else for that matter – who writes for a living. Here are examples of what you will find buried deep within this blog:

Rules for Writing Plan English
Basics of Developing “Good SM Content”
20 rules for fine writing
Your Wordplay Weapons
Paraprosdokians to Enjoy

Go ahead and check out our menu of articles tagged “writing” and take a moment to read our commentary “We believe the power of words is a magnificent thing.” You’ll find here, that the By George Journal and the wordsmiths at CG&A COMMUNICATIONS are dedicated to bringing you the “write stuff”!


Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.




A personal 360 for the Fall


To help prepare for your challenges throughout the Fall, here is a series of instructive articles that have been compiled from the archives of By George. The posts provide instruction on strengthening your sense of direction, confidence and self-awareness, and providing techniques to increase your productivity and ultimately your success in meeting your goals. The articles are a great refresher for the workplace – and for your approach to life.

All the best as you dive into your Fall endeavors tomorrow!

In Getting a Good Jump Start this Fall

Rejuvenate Yourself!

Tips for starting your week / your day

Techniques for being more efficient at your work

10 self-motivating thoughts


Increasing your Productivity

5-sure-ways to get more out of your day

Tips on Productivity & A Dozen Productivity Tips

Your Checklist for Effective Meetings

20 FAV quotes on being productive

A Dozen Great Quotes on Managing Time


Achieving Greater Self-awareness

Important Questions for the Self

Challenge Yourself

8 Essential Life Questions

10 Habits for Personal Success

3 “Must-Haves” for Success

Habits and ways of rich, successful people


Presenting a More Confident You

Answering That Question about What You Do

5 Steps to Mastering Your Performance (Ericsson)

Rudy Giuliani’s thoughts on leadership

The art of listening

10 Simple Truths Smart People Will Forget

14 Habits of Exceptionally Likable People

Communicate More Effectively, More Persuasively (our e-book on becoming an effective communicator)

Three Parables for Management Training (humourous look at the workplace)


With By George’s Twitter and Facebook threads this Fall, we hope and trust to provide the inspiration to drive and to achieve your goals. After today’s last hurrah of summer, it’s onward and upward!


Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Coaching Success

John Eades reveals in a great article the “7 Essential Leadership Lessons You Can Learn From Championship Coaches in 2017”.


Here are a few incredible takeaways from coaches who won championships in 2017:


  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots) — “Leadership means building a team that is exhaustively prepared, but being able to adjust in an instant. The only sign we have in the locker room is from the Art of War, ‘every battle is won before it’s faught'” — Key Takeaway: Preparation is critical for success; but, in today’s fast paced world, pivoting will be required and it’s only possible with great teamwork.


  1. Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriors) — Kerr’s leadership style is one of a true servant leader. After this year’s title he tried to avoid the microphone in order to give his players the chance to be in the spotlight. When he did finally speak, he used all of his time to give praise to his other coaches, players, and team ownership. Kerr knows he is just a spoke in the wheel, and it’s his job to push those around him to levels of which they didn’t even know they were capable. — Key Takeaway: It’s not about the leader, it’s about the team.


  1. Joe Madden (Chicago Cubs) — Madden didn’t shy away from making his expectations known from the beginning of the season. The players used terms like “Embrace the target” (world champions) and “Try not to suck.” — Key takeaway: Don’t shy away from high expectations, embrace them.


  1. Dabo Swinney (Clemson Tigers) — Swinney’s leadership style is one filled with purpose and positivity. In his post game interview right after winning the championship he said, “I told our players, the difference in this game was going to be love (for each other).” — Key Takeaway: Serve your people’s hearts and not their talents.


  1. Mike Sullivan (Pittsburgh Penguins) — “I think when we have focus–short-sighted focus on the task at hand, and we don’t get ahead of ourselves or we don’t dwell on what happen in the past–that’s when you have the best ability to reset that mindset, it always falls back to the leadership of the group.” — Key takeaway: If you are the only leader on your team you have no chance.


  1. Dawn Staley (South Carolina Gamecocks) — Staley lives by two mottos: ‘a disciplined person can do anything’ and ‘dare to do what you don’t want to do to get what you want.’ In a recent article from players tribune she said this about the secret to leadership: “If there were ever a secret to being a great coach, that’s it: the connection.” — Key takeaway: You are nothing as a leader without healthy relationships.


  1. Roy Williams (North Carolina Tarheels) — “Too many coaches lower their program’s standards and take talented players with questionable or poor character.” — Key Takeaway: Character matters and it always will.


This post comprises of excerpts from the original. Read Eades’s full article here…



Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

10 Habits for Personal Success

Here is a set of ten habits to adopt that can help take you to a more successful, fuller life.

  1. Set minimum goals for yourself. Exercise for an hour, review and organize one file, write one page of creative writing. Attempt to break your large projects into day-sized tasks.
  2. Waste less time. Life is composed of days, days of hours, hours of minutes. Think in smaller time periods and try to complete specific actions each period.
  3. Build strong friendships, and be kind to people. You can learn from everyone. Everyone has a potential to do good. By being kind and respectful and sharing with all those who you meet, you will increase your circles of influence and always have people to turn to.
  4. Learn to listen well and to ask questions. People love to talk about themselves. If you continue to ask the right questions, you will be recognized as a great conversationalist.
  5. Get yourself outdoors. Open your mind and allow yourself to breathe. Go for walks. Do some outdoor sport activity. Cognitive psychologists have shown that getting outside in natural elements can be a tool against depression and burnout.
  6. Make a point to talk to one stranger every day. With each stranger, there is a potential opportunity to learn something new, to make new friend, to get new ideas, to understand new perspectives, and much more.
  7. Spend time with old people (and also with children). Old people have been there, done that, and have lived to tell you the tale. Young children haven’t.
  8. Start meditating. Take time each day to close your eyes and focus on nothing at all. It trains your brain and your emotions coping measures to deal with the madness of this world, day in and day out.
  9. Save money. Pay yourself as you go and you will always have something for when you need it later. Just put a little bit away with each paycheck, and do it automatically so you don’t miss it.
  10. Diversify your experiences. Broaden your daily activities and get to know people who are different from you. The broader your range of experiences, the more creative your ideas and the better you can relate to people.

By George suggests that you pick one or two of these habits to perfect each week and, within a couple of months, you will propel yourself into a new direction.

Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

20 FAV quotes on being productive

To help get you through this Friday, here is some solid advice on getting ‘er done….

  • Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is specifically your own. – Bruce Lee
  • Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work in hand. The Sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus. – Alexander Graham Bell
  • Think of many things; do one. – Portuguese proverb
  • If we attend continually and promptly to the little that we can do, we shall ere long be surprised to find how little remains that we cannot do. – Samuel Butler
  • Effective performance is preceded by painstaking preparation. – Brian Tracy
  • Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it. – Theodore Roosevelt
  • Sometimes the biggest gain in productive energy will come from cleaning the cobwebs, dealing with old business, and clearing the desks—cutting loose debris that’s impeding forward motion. – David Allen
  • Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you. – Oprah Winfrey
  • The more reasons you have for achieving your goal, the more determined you will become. – Brian Tracy
  • If you see a snake, just kill it. Don’t appoint a committee on snakes. – Henry Ross Perot

Observations about being productive:

  • In the end, you are measured not by how much you undertake but by what you finally accomplished. – Donald Trump
  • Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. – Paul J. Meyer
  • If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. – Bruce Lee
  • Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work. – Stephen King
  • In trying to find who you are, be less destructive and more constructive. Look at art or whatever your passion is and be productive. – Nirrimi Joy Hakanson
  • It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste. – Henry Ford
  • Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest. – Leo Babauta
  • The way we measure productivity is flawed. People checking their Blackberry over dinner is not the measure of productivity. – Timothy Ferris
  • Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make. – Corita Kent
  • The enchanted day is only enchanted if we ourselves believe that anything is possible. – Mark O’Brien


Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.


Communicate More Effectively, More Persuasively

Becoming Better Communicators is a self-empowering handbook to improve your workplace and social exchanges.

Chris George, author, says the book is for anyone who wants to improve how they are received by others, “This book will help you express yourself clearer, present your ideas better and it will give you more confidence when communicating one-to-one.”

“The tips and checklists were first developed to assist senior executives become more effective within their workplaces. However, the handbook will prove helpful for anyone wishing to improve their relationships, whether it be with work colleagues, or with friends or loved ones. “

The e-book’s introduction provides direction for how best to use the handbook. Here is an excerpt:

   Becoming Better Communicators will help you convey your ideas and display your talents at work and in social settings. By accepting the suggestions, you will be nudged towards appreciating and honing your own unique style of communicating. This, in turn, will provide greater confidence and comfort in expressing your opinions, ideas and work.

   Your success with this handbook comes down to the degree you get to know yourself better. The challenge is to continually re-read the suggestions within, and make it a personal goal to take incremental steps towards self-improvement day-by-day, week-by-week. It takes effort to consciously change your communications habits. You must think about and reflect on your changes. Live with them. Take the time to think through how your altered approaches are being received by the different audiences you deal with each day — your colleagues, friends, and even your partner and family.

   By consciously following the suggestions within, systematically re-reading the handbook, and keeping your commitment to self-improvement, you will form new habits in expressing yourself, and you will become a better communicator.

Becoming Better Communicators is available for the low price of $5. To purchase this e-book today, visit the Our E-bookshelf.


Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Twain’s Rules of Writing

twain2Here are great rules for quality writing by America’s renown author Mark Twain. The rules are taken from Twain’s scathing essay on the “Literary Offenses of James Fenimore Cooper.”


  1. A tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere.


  1. The episodes of a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help develop it.


  1. The personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others.


  1. The personages in a tale, both dead and alive, shall exhibit a sufficient excuse for being there.


  1. When the personages of a tale deal in conversation, the talk shall sound like human talk, and be talk such as human beings would be likely to talk in the given circumstances, and have a discoverable meaning, also a discoverable purpose, and a show of relevancy, and remain in the neighborhood of the subject in hand, and be interesting to the reader, and help out the tale, and stop when the people cannot think of anything more to say.


  1. When the author describes the character of a personage in his tale, the conduct and conversation of that personage shall justify said description.


  1. When a personage talks like an illustrated, gilt-edged, tree-calf, hand-tooled, seven-dollar Friendship’s Offering in the beginning of a paragraph, he shall not talk like a Negro minstrel at the end of it.


  1. Crass stupidities shall not be played upon the reader by either the author or the people in the tale.


  1. The personages of a tale shall confine themselves to possibilities and let miracles alone; or, if they venture a miracle, the author must so plausibly set it forth as to make it look possible and reasonable.


  1. The author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones.


  1. The characters in tale be so clearly defined that the reader can tell beforehand what each will do in a given emergency.


An author should:


  1. Say what he is proposing to say, not merely come near it.


  1. Use the right word, not its second cousin.


  1. Eschew surplusage.


  1. Not omit necessary details.


  1. Avoid slovenliness of form.


  1. Use good grammar.


  1. Employ a simple, straightforward style.


Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.


Read the E-mail Charter

Computer Monitors Shaking HandsEveryone should read (and share) the E-mail Charter.


Here are the 10 rules – and click on the link below to take you to a very thoughtful explanation of each of the points.


  1. Respect Recipients’ Time
  2. Short or Slow is not Rude
  3. Celebrate Clarity
  4. Quash Open-Ended Questions
  5. Slash Surplus cc’s
  6. Tighten the Thread
  7. Attack Attachments
  8. Give these Gifts:  EOM  NNTR
  9. Cut Contentless Responses
  10. Disconnect!


Click here to read the E-mail Charter in its entirety.


Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.


Skills required for a SM Go-to Guy

Like all PR activities, your social media plan will only be as good as those you have to execute it. What skills and experience should you be looking for in your SM go-to guy?  Here are four core digital skills as a base requirement:

  1. Talent to create content that delivers the impact required on the various platforms used in your activity. (This is more than persuasive text-based content and includes design, visual imagery and audio-visual materials as means of influencing people. )
  2. Ability in growing and engaging a community of followers with two-way conservations that provide valuable input and feedback.
  3. Understanding of basic online analytical tools for monitoring Twitter, Facebook, the blogosphere etc. – AND – ability to interpret data to measure effectiveness of the activity’s reach and impact.
  4. Understanding of search engines and the ability to optimize text, images and video so your followers will be able to find them with ease.

Like all PR activities, it comes down to developing great content and knowing how to use it.  If you want to have a great SM initiative, you need skilled SM communicators.


Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Tips for starting your week / your day

So, you hit the office with a full cup of coffee, look at the desk and sigh. It’s a few minutes before 8:00, you have A LOT to do and no motivation to get started.

Here’s an effective way to start your week off… to start each day.

  1. Make a List – write down on a piece of paper everything you need to get done down (keep this list in front of you at all times).
  2. Pick the “low-hanging fruit.” Take the first 15 minutes and do the easiest, fastest things on your list (i.e. a quick e-mail or short v-mail). After 15 minutes, take a minute to refocus on your list, with all the completed items scratched off.
  3. Turn off all distractions. Switch off your phone, e-mail alert and close your door. Pick the item on your list that is the priority and put your head down to work for 45 – 60 minutes.
  4. Take a 10-minute break and repeat this process, re-evaluating your list about four times through the day. Before long you will feel better about the work before you and more comfortable knowing you are accomplishing what needs to be done.


Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.


Tough-Minded Optimism

Recently, William C. Taylor, cofounder of Fast Company magazine, had a provocative piece in the Harvard Business Review entitled, “Why the Future Belongs to Tough-Minded Optimists


Taylor was not talking about wide-eyed optimism, but rather as American writer and civic reformer John Gardner has famously coined the perspective, a “tough-minded optimism” that is a mix of original ideas, deep convictions, and an ability to accept change.  Gardner’s most famous insight is that “The future is not shaped by people who don’t really believe in the future. It is created by highly motivated people, by enthusiasts, by men and women who want something very much or believe very much.”


So, Taylor has observed that successful people and leaders have often developed compelling answers to four questions that get to the heart of what lifts their spirits and heightens their performance, and what rallies others to help them succeed.


Here are Taylor’s four questions of tomorrow’s leaders, whether we are speaking of individuals, or companies, or organizations.


Do you have a definition of success for your business that allows you to stand for something special and that inspires others to stand with you?

The most successful companies don’t just sell competitive products and services; they stand for important ideas, ideas that shape the future direction of their fields, ideas that reshape the sense of what’s possible for customers, colleagues, and investors.


Do you and your colleagues work as distinctively as you compete?

The most successful leaders and organizations think differently from everyone else. But they also care more than everyone else — about customers, about colleagues, about how the whole organization conducts itself in a world with so many opportunities to cut corners and compromise on values. It’s good to be efficient and professional; it’s essential to be memorable and meaningful.


Are you as consistent as you are creative?

Management guru Jim Collins puts it this way: “The signature of mediocrity is not an unwillingness to change. The signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.” If you want to be a tough-minded optimist, then your priorities have to stay consistent in good times and in bad.


Have you figured out how your company’s history can help to shape its future?

The most optimistic leaders don’t disavow what’s come before. Instead, they reinterpret what’s come before as a way to develop a line of sight into what comes next. Sometimes, the very act of rediscovering the past creates the confidence necessary to craft a game plan for the future.


To read the full article by William Taylor, click this link to take you to the Harvard Business Review


Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.


Better Media Relations 101

We were recently asked by some students in a public relations course how to attract reporters’ attention and what social media practices prove most helpful with fostering good media contacts.

Our response was threefold. First, get to better understand the person behind the keyboard and up against the deadline. Second, like with any relationship you are trying to establish, good media relationships take time and are built on the trust garnered from honest and transparent exchanges. Third, there are a few practices that you should consider honing in a consistent and persistent manner – with no expectations of instant success.

On this last point, here are a few of those practices that will foster better media relations.

#1) Think of six basic questions that must be addressed before you begin writing your press release. If you can’t answer the questions, you don’t have a story. If you find that your answers are lacking, likely your story is not newsworthy.

  • What’s the story?
  • Why is it newsworthy?
  • Who cares?
  • Why am I (or my client) a resource?
  • What’s my specific, relevant expertise?
  • What other resources/assets can I offer a reporter?

#2) Consider these 4 ways to make your relations with media stronger.

  • Get to know your media better by researching reporters’ blogs, Twitter, online forums and other spaces where you might learn from their online conversations.
  • Cultivate a relationship by interacting with journalists/bloggers online. Read what they’re writing, start a conversation and share ideas with them.
  • Spot trends to create new story opportunities. Find relevant, current news items to develop new hooks for your potential story.
  • Participation in social media will ultimately lead to media coverage. If you’re blogging and tweeting about timely, relevant topics, this can help you generate additional media coverage.

#3) Consider these ways to attract media attention via Twitter (perhaps your best tool to get reporters’ attention during their working hours)

  • Follow those reporters who you wish to follow you.
  • Watch for tweets asking for help, especially on deadline.
  • Comment on a story a reporter wrote or aired, making sure you add the reporter’s Twitter name to the comment – and when possible, link to the story.
  • Retweet their tweets, especially when they link to their stories.
  • Offer to connect them with experts you think will genuinely help them on their beats.
  • Thank them for RT and Mentions and for covering an event they attended.
  • Look out for story ideas for them, not just big stories but follow-up pieces on stories they’ve already done.
  • Extend the relationship to other social networks if they’re more active elsewhere.


Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Challenge Yourself

If you are looking to improve your performance at work (or looking to improve your life in some way) you need to be constantly challenging yourself with pointed questions. Take the time to reflect; answer yourself straight-away and as honestly as you can.

What questions will initiate a good personal review? Here are a dozen striking probes that we suggest can affect a positive change for you.

  1. Where do you want to be in five years – and how are you going to get there?
  2. What do you want to do with your money?
  3. If you have only one word to describe your actions in the last year, what would it be?
  4. If you had to start something over, in that time, what would it be? (So, why are you not starting it over now?)
  5. What is your daily source of energy? Of happiness / satisfaction?
  6. What is holding you back in your life? (Is this a justified complaint? Or a fear you must confront?)
  7. What are you grateful for?
  8. Tell me one thing that makes you smile every single day of your life?
  9. What would be the most amazing thing that could happen to you in this next 12 months?
  10. What are three things you will do so this has a chance of happening?
  11. If you could go back in time and tell yourself something you didn’t know 10 years ago, what would it be?
  12. What would “you in 10 years” tell yourself today so you have a great 10 years in front of yourself?


Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer or experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

How are my e-mails received?


Your e-mails matter. So, before you hit “Send” on your next missive, consider this interesting study.


Chelsea Rae De Jonge and Frank McAndrew, a professor of psychology at Knox College in Illinois co-authored a study published in Social Psychological & Personality Science, that looks at three elements of e-mail that shape how others perceive us.  The three elements examined are: first person versus third person, typographical errors, and punctuation.


When this study was first published in 2010, the Montreal Gazette interviewed the authors and the professors summarized their findings by saying:


“Very subtle little things you might not think about when writing an email -like the kind of punctuation you use, for example -actually have an effect on the people reading that message. If you’re emailing a friend, they’re not going to change their opinion of you based on how the message is put together. But for first impressions, we find these three elements really matter.”


The study findings include:

  • Emails written in the third person conveyed a sense of formality that caused study participants to believe the message had come from someone in a supervisory position. It also saw readers presume the sender was angry, as opposed to the perceived intimacy of first-person emails.
  • Emails riddled with errors gave readers the impression that the sender was apathetic. This is so particularly with an older demographic that, unlike younger people did not grow up with text-messaging. Older people make stronger judgments about the intellect of the person sending the message id they see typographical and grammatical errors.
  • Punctuation proved highly influential in moulding people’s opinions. E-mails with no question marks or exclamation points were perceived as being sent by a superior, while those that included lots of question marks and exclamation points were interpreted as coming from a subordinate. In general, question marks conveyed anger and confusion, while exclamation points, as you might expect, communicated happiness. The absence of both types of punctuation implied apathy, and a high frequency of such punctuation caused readers to assume the sender was female.


So, before you hit “Send”, reread what you have written and correct your typos and grammar errors!


Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

Keys to making a great first impression

There is a humourous and true adage, “You can only make a first impression once.” So, By George offers a few tips on how to make a great first impression.


Make conversation. Talk or better yet, entertain. Just don’t stand there and let others carry the conversation. Tell a story and share your opinion. And ask questions. Be engaging.


Be blunt, slightly controversial, and completely honest. State your thoughts clearly and with conviction. If you really want to be memorable, you may want to make a statement (without insulting anyone or saying something offensive).


Be a little bit unusual – do something that might be out-of-the-norm. For example, come up with humorous and unusual answers to the typical introductory questions such as, “How are you?” or “What do you do?”


Use confident body language. Have a firm handshake. Stand up straight. Most important: maintain eye contact both while listening and speaking.


Attempt to trigger emotional response(s) from your audience. For example, make them laugh, make a mistake and apologize for it, stroke someone’s ego, tell stories, being helpful, or discussing a topic in a heated manner could all do the trick.  As poet Maya Angelou has most aptly observed: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


Perhaps the greatest pointer is to be an engaged listener. When you are listening, be attentive. The best conversationalist is a good listener.


What are the subconscious questions on everyone’s mind?


Business Insider recently interviewed Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy on the judgmental questions people unconsciously have in their minds when meeting another for the first time. Cuddy has been studying first impressions for more than 15 years, and she says people quickly answer two questions when they first meet you:


  • Can I trust this person?
  • Can I respect this person?


Psychologists refer to these dimensions as “warmth” and “competence” respectively, and ideally you want to be perceived as having both.


Cuddy says that most people, especially in a professional context, believe that competence is the more important factor. After all, they want to prove that they are smart and talented enough to handle your business.


But in fact warmth, or trustworthiness, is the most important factor in how people evaluate you. “From an evolutionary perspective,” Cuddy says, “it is more crucial to our survival to know whether a person deserves our trust.”  He explains, when you consider primitive cavemen days, it was more important to figure out if your fellow man was going to kill you and steal all your possessions than if he was competent enough to build a good fire.


Trustworthiness. Respect. You have 7 to 12 seconds to demonstrate both a trusting and a respectful character.



SOURCES – Read the full articles here:

How do I become more memorable when meeting someone for the first time?

Psychologist says people judge you based on 2 criteria when they first meet you


Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.