#FridayFive: Spring Things

Fall is my favorite season, but spring is has a few things fall doesn’t. The flowers, the warm up, the whole world coming to life. Everything seems bright and new in the spring.

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While I love the slow down and the calmness of fall, spring has an advantage or two. Here’s what I’m looking forward to this spring!

1. Making the most of my PRSA membership.

I joined PRSA in February and I cannot wait to get as involved as possible. I’ve already begun writing for The Edge , PRSA’s New Professionals section blog, and will be taking on some extra responsibility with PRSA Pittsburgh’s blog. There are also agency tours on the horizon and I’m excited to do as much as I can to be a productive member.

2. Finally reading Aliza Licht’s Leave Your Mark.

I preordered this book months ago and have just been waiting, waiting, waiting. I think that reading up on your craft and continued learning is important to career development. Who better to learn from that a seasoned pro?! Expect a review to follow :)

3. Being part of the 7 line’s Pittsburgh outing.

By far, my favorite thing about spring is that it’s baseball season. I’m a Mets fan, living in Pirates country, so it’s not often that I get to enjoy watching my boys play in the presence of likeminded fans. I’m super stoked for this year’s Mets-Pirates series at PNC Park because this year the 7 line has organized an outing for its 7 line army, basically a happy group of traveling Mets fans. So on Memorial Day weekend, I’ll be hanging out with 1,000+ Mets fan here in Pittsburgh, cheering on our boys in blue and orange. I’ll also be live-tweeting the event for another blog I write for, Shea Dugout.

4. Whitewater rafting & getting back outdoors.

I love being outside and I’m looking forward to the weather improving so I can get back outside and enjoy it. Last year, I tried whitewater rafting for the first time on the Ocoee River in Tennessee on the Fourth of July and I loved it. I can’t wait to try it again this year on a new river here in Western Pennsylvania. I’m also looking forward to other outdoor adventures.

5. Exploring my love of food.

I love to cook and one of my goals for this year has been to try to cook 52 new things. I’ve been consistent with that and this summer I’d like to expand on it by exploring Pittsburgh’s blooming restaurant scene a more. I’ll be sure to make notes on what I think the best is that Pittsburgh has to offer!…

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Staying confident when you don’t have the answers

Let’s set the scene:

You’re in a client meeting, going over details for an upcoming campaign. You’ve run through all the pertinent information, answered a bunch of questions and you’re confident you’ve hit all the bases and are ready to get out of the meeting and move onto other things. But wait – your client has one more question to ask.

You listen attentively and open your mouth to answer when the question is complete but – oh no! – you don’t actually know the answer! You begin to sweat and you’re at a loss. What do you do now?

Like those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books I loved as a kid (and Neil Patrick Harris’ autobiography – genius approach btw!), there are a number of ways this could play out. Unfortunately, though, “I don’t know” and a quick escape is not an option and, regardless of how you proceed, confidence is key. Here are some tips and tricks on how to keep your confidence up on each adventure.

If you suddenly know the answer…
…Speak slowly to keep yourself calm.

It’s great that the answer just came to you, but remember to stay calm and steady. An answer is no good if no one can understand it. Take a breath, take a minute to think it through and then begin your answer.

If you think you know the answer, but need an extra minute…
…Ask to clarify or repeat the question.

Buy yourself an extra minute by asking your client to repeat their question. If they begin to clarify what exactly they’re looking to know, the explanation may trigger something in your memory to help you come to your answer.

If you don’t know the answer, but it’s something you should know…
…Say “I don’t have all of the information on hand to answer that, but I can get it for you by XX.”

This is my least favorite of the scenarios. It’s no fun to be caught even the least bit unprepared. But by admitting that you don’t have the information you should in front of you, you’re being honest, which is always appreciated. By offering a concrete deadline, you’re showing that you do take the question seriously and are already working on having the correct information ready for your client.

If the question is unrelated to the discussion…
…Say “I don’t know about that, but I can tell you…”

People go off-topic sometimes. That’s a given. The best way to steer the conversation or questions back to relevant items without being rude is to answer with information similar to what your client asked about, but related to the discussion.

If you don’t know, but you think someone on your team does…
…Say “I don’t have the answer to that, but I’m pretty sure XX does!”

It’s totally ok if you don’t have an answer, but someone else on your team does. That’s great actually! It means that you’re all working as a team, you’ve been able to appropriately delegate tasks to ensure that all tasks are completed and the best people for the job have been working on it. You may either put your client in touch with the right person or get the answer for them in a timely manner.

If you really don’t have the answer…
…Say “That’s a great question! I don’t have an answer at the moment, but I’ll find it!”

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It’s unfortunate, but we can’t have all the answers all the time. Admit what you don’t know and  reassure your client that you’re on it and will find an appropriate answer to satisfy them.

Remember, no matter what the situation is, remain calm, cool, collected and confident!

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FridayFive: NYC Must-Sees

FridayFive: NYC Must-Sees

I love NYC. It’s no secret. I love the hustle and bustle and the fact that there is never a lull. Though I only lived there for a brief time, I love that there are places and things that I was able to make my own. New York feels like home.

In honor of yet another visit to the city that never sleeps next week, albeit for work and not pleasure, today’s Friday Five is dedicated to the five places I plan to visit while in NYC.

My NYC Must-Sees

1. The Strand

I love books. They’re fantastic. And The Strand, located at 12th and Broadway, is home to 18 miles of books. I’ve happily spent hours getting lost among the bookshelves. Any book lover should take the time to visit The Strand’s rare book room to check out the treasures for sale.

2. Little Italy

I have a deep love of cannoli and the inability to find good ones when I want them most. Whenever I got the craving in NYC, I’d take a walk south to Little Italy and pop in a bakery for my favorite treat.

3. Central Park

I love Central Park, especially when the weather is nice. There are so many things to see and do and places to go in Central Park that no matter how often you visit, you can always find something new.

4. Washington Square Park & the Village

When I lived in NYC, I lived on Washington Square Park West and it was fantastic. Washington Square Park may have been pretty shady back in the day, but I enjoyed sitting in the park on a sunny day with a book. I can’t wait to take a stroll through the Park’s white arch & visit one of my favorite restaurants due south on Thompson.

5. Sept. 11th Memorial

I worked for a small 9/11 memorial and museum on the south side of Ground Zero when I lived in NYC. It wasn’t quite the national memorial and museum, but it was the only one at the time. The last time I saw the national memorial, workers were running a final test on the waterfalls in the reflecting pools during construction. Going back and seeing everything now that it’s completed is a must for me.…

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