A Tip for Tuesday – Don’t Suck

I don’t need you to be great. I just need you to suck less than someone else.

That is not my quote.

About a dozen years ago, I was enjoying the IABC Phoenix Copper Quills with my colleagues. The keynote for the evening was Peter Shankman, then-owner of Help A Reporter Out (HARO). During his speech, Shankman talked about how one need not be great; one simply needs to suck less than other people to find success.

Yes, I know he was bringing a little levity to the evening while making a point that we all make mistakes, and we all often beat ourselves up about them far more than we should. However, I raged. Hard. Still a little rage-y right now, in fact.

My mantra at the time focused on being the best. At everything. All the time. Period. Or else. And I did not care to joke about it.

Fast-forward to Jan. 21, 2021. Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) hosted a webinar featuring Shankman.

I don’t need you to be awesome. I need you to suck less than someone else.

That was his advice about three minutes into the webinar. Familiar, right? Yet, this time, I didn’t rage. I listened with a different perspective.

Over the course of the next hour, he shared a report that customers are more likely to purchase something from a business that messes up and then fixes the problem effectively and efficiently than a business that made no mistakes in the first place. He also shared the importance of communications professionals communicating with the media without an agenda, meaning it is important to be of service and proactively reach out to see how we can help all the time, not just when we have a story we want placed. He shared the importance of levity, meaning we need to help others get things done faster versus eat up their precious time. Shankman even shared the importance of investing in programs less narrowly focused on public relations or marketing and more broadly focused on writing soundbites, understanding people and even parenting. Finally, he shared that life – especially now – needs a little levity.

Do I think our goal should be to suck a little less than someone else to get ahead? No. A million times no.

My goal is to not suck at all. It is to be more human. Somedays that means being superhuman and WOWing one and all. Somedays that means making mistakes. All days it means learning and growing.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels
Written by
at Feb 2, 2021

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