SOUNDS OF SUCCESS: MY PR ASSOCIATE PLAYLIST

Spotify x DEVENEY associate

I used to wonder what the soundtrack to my life would be. Then I realized I couldn’t make a playlist long enough. So, I started with a day. Whether it’s my keyboard clicking beneath my fingers as I write a press release, or the rattle of the streetcar on its tracks during my morning commute to work, every day here is punctuated by sounds.  Our playlists reflect a lot about us, so this is a day in my life as a Public Relations Associate at DEVENEY, told through my daily Spotify playlists. 

Morning

Every morning, I wake up an hour before I leave the house. After a few hits on the snooze button, I play my favorite Wake Up playlist. I’m not naturally a morning person, so this playlist features lively tunes to kickstart my day. As an Associate at an engagement agency, I have to stay sharp. Things move quickly here, and a crisis project can happen anytime. Starting my day with this energetic flow pushes me into starting my day at my best.

I commute to work on the streetcar every morning and listen to different podcasts to pass the time. I love the Mindvalley podcast for tapping into my potential and productivity. Mindvalley helps me tap into my creative flow. This allows me to start my day with confidence and mental energy.

Before lunch, I listen to something calm to get me in the zone. I focus and organize myself, check my emails. start projects, go to meetings, and establish a flow. 

Afternoon

I don’t listen to music during lunch, but if I did it would be the DEVENEY happy songs playlist. This playlist captures the office atmosphere and the spirit of the neighborhood.  I love exploring the beautiful Lower Garden District neighborhood during my break and trying restaurants nearby. My favorite is Lilly’s, their spicy tofu is heavenly. 

In the afternoon to jumpstart my productivity and knock out any deadlines, I listen to POLLEN. This eclectic playlist feels fresh and sunny with interesting new songs that keep focused and alert. This playlist helps me channel creative flow into writing talking points, conducting client research, building media lists or assisting with speaker training binder development.

Music inspires me to reach my goals and put my best (tapping) foot forward.

If you’re interested in joining the team, apply now to the Associate Program. The opportunity lasts for 12 weeks, starting in January. Associates may work a maximum of 20 hours per week. Interested students should apply by October 31, 2018 to be considered. To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, relevant writing samples, and/or portfolio examples to AssociateProgram@deveney.com. 

 

THE ART OF DELEGATING

Yes, there really is an art to delegating.

The very definition of delegating is “assigning the responsibility or authority to another person to carry out specific duties.” It is one of the core concepts of management leadership. However, just the thought of delegating is stressful, and most people struggle with the idea of giving up control on a project. Just as in other aspects of business, there is a process and procedure you should use to help you delegate effectively.

Delegating is an opportunity to remove a project or task from your plate so that you can focus on other more pertinent tasks and improve your management skills. By assigning the task or project to another colleague, you are essentially giving them an opportunity to grow and further develop new skills, which helps build an engaged, efficient team.

Assessing Your Team

When considering projects/assignments to delegate, first you should consider your team. It is important to select a team member who has appropriate strengths and skills as well as capacity to handle the assignment. Other things to consider: Is this a one-time project or will it be a recurring task?  Does this team member have the time to dedicate to the task?

Assign and Empower

Once you have identified the team member, be sure to set up a kick-off meeting to discuss the project. Provide all background, discuss the roles and responsibilities and set expectations. Be sure to communicate the objectives, goals, budget and deadlines. Setting up a regular time to meet to check in on your team member’s progress is also a great way to stay in the loop and provide feedback without micromanaging.

Do’s & Don’ts of Delegating:

DO:

  • Share key priorities so your team knows what’s most important
  • Clarify expectations by communicating essential information about the project
  • Provide complete instructions
  • Give your team members the support they need to leverage YOU better
  • Be patient. Let others learn and grow
  • Be clear about your team’s level of authority
  • Check on progress
  • Show recognition

DON’T:

  • Expect people to read your mind
  • Give “drive-by” delegations
  • Underestimate the time it takes to do things
  • Micromanage
  • Underestimate your team’s capabilities
  • Get discouraged if your team asks you for advice
  • Look for perfection

 

A final piece of advice: “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” – George S. Patton

Do you have a proven method of delegating? Join us in the discussion and tweet us @DEVENEYMKTG

 

 

 

 

THE BASICS OF PROVIDING AND RECEIVING FEEDBACK

What is feedback? Whether it be from a personal trainer, professional mentor, supervisor or even a parent or friend, feedback is THE platform in which we grow. As humans, it’s hard to believe that we are not perfect. But news flash – we are most certainly not. We are in fact all growing, living and evolving beings, whom should strive to be the best versions of ourselves. And that’s where feedback comes in.

In a professional setting, feedback must be consistent and delivered properly in order to get better at what we do. Through the years, I’ve recognized there are two distinctive types of feedback:

Constructive – this is the best and most productive kind of feedback. While it might not be the greatest news at the end of the day, it is positioned in a way that is well-reasoned and friendly. The purpose of constructive feedback is to improve the outcome and instill confidence. You are good enough and can do this!

Destructive – this kind of feedback is demoralizing and can actually end up doing more harm than good. This kind of feedback typically leaves the receiver feeling defeated and unmotivated, with no clear expectations on next steps or helpful ways to improve the outcome.

While giving and receiving constructive feedback may take some practice, use these three S’s as a guide:

Specific – Do not be delayed in your delivery of feedback. Use specific examples (e.g. “In a recent email, you said xyz…”), and most importantly, keep them tactical in nature as it relates to the job. This is not the time to talk about someone’s bad hair day. Because let’s be honest, we’ve all been there, and frankly, that just isn’t nice.

Sincere – Regardless of how tough the feedback is to give, do be kind in nature. The feedback should be meaningful and useful to the person.

Say what and how the person can change – if you’re looking for better use of AP style, direct them to the bookshelf where they can find the office AP stylebook or online resources.

And when the time comes to share feedback that that will motivate and encourage positive change, make sure you do the following first:

Prepare – having your thoughts organized will set you up for a successful and clear delivery of your thoughts. Bring an outline of your three S’s to avoid getting too hot in your discussion.

Sandwich method – this is one of the strongest approaches. Provide the receiver with a positive attribute or what they might have done correctly, show them the ways they can improve, but always end on a positive note by saying, “overall, this was a great start.”

Develop an action plan – this is great for annual or biannual reviews at your office. Work with your direct supervisor on the best next steps that you can work on to make yourself a better professional. More often than not, they have resources and examples that will support your improvement, as they want you to be the best you can be.

Follow-up – we can all certainly be better at this. After giving feedback, outline the receiver’s efforts to ensure everyone is on the same page. As the giver, commit yourself to being available for questions and support.

When the tables turn and you find yourself on the receiving end of feedback, keep these best practices in mind:

Don’t take it personally – while it might be difficult to hear tough feedback at first, remove yourself from the emotions associated with it and remind yourself that the intention of this feedback is to make you a better and stronger person and professional.

Listen first, then ask questions – without practice, you’ve likely tuned out based on the aforementioned defensiveness. Your head is spinning with thoughts like, “I most certainly did not do this, blah blah blah…” By hearing the full thought initially, you’re better positioned for asking the strongest, most helpful questions. No reason to not speak up at the time it is most fresh.

Be appreciative – thank the person providing you feedback for their candor. It was likely just as difficult for them to provide as it was for you to receive. But if provided in the appropriate method, this feedback can be the gift that keeps on giving, and provide you learnings that can last a lifetime.

How do you plan on using these tips for providing and receiving feedback in your everyday life or job moving forward? Tweet us @DEVENEYMKTG and let us know your thoughts!