Crimes of Passion


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There’s nothing quite like Passion. It is a terrific motivator, can inspire legions of teammates and followers and make getting across the finish line look like a triumphant stampede of cattle.

It can also scare the be-Jeezus out of people and drive them screaming from the room, especially if they haven’t yet drunk (or acquired the taste) for the Kool-Aid.

The PR business is no different. Typically a client brings their passion for their business or project to us, asking for a plan. We, in turn, fashion a strategy and ask for the client’s passion to buy into and execute it so we can achieve their stated goals. (See also, “Enthusiasm.” I LOVE this clip from “The Untouchables.” Warning, graphic ending.)

So without picking up our own baseball bat, how do we get clients – especially those who don’t get our passion – into the starting gate, down the track and across the finish line?

1. Passion is cyclical. Just like a personal relationship, it’s the give and take dynamic that allows the passion to work its magic. If one person is screaming ahead at a million miles an hour and the other person is sitting there scratching their head (or something else), the project will have the lifespan of a fruitfly. Understanding the interplay and the personalities at work is the key to your success.

2. Temper Your Enthusiasm. You have to walk these roads together, and an exuberant partner may be intimidating and confusing to the other. Your unbridled passion towards a project or goal can ultimately be harmful to an otherwise successful idea. So go slow and explain what’s on your mind, and ask for feedback every step of the way. Dave Ramsey calls this “Understanding the Why,” and he’s totally right.

3. Clear Communication. You can’t possibly hope to get across the finish line without a clear strategy and regular updates to what’s on the other person’s mind. Ever not talk to a client for an extended period, only to get that “what have you done for me lately” call? Yes you have. That’s what I’m talking about. Keep the conversation current to avoid silly problems that derail the project.

4. A Kill Switch. I love those scenes in movies and sitcoms about a couple going to a dinner party and having a “safety word” that tells the other it’s time to go home. It’s always a fun word like “rhubarb” or “impresario” or “hee-bee-jee-bees.” You need to let your clients know that there’s a kill switch for this project too: something they can say that immediately pushes pause so you can have that “remind me what we’re doing again” conversation. Then go back to steps 2 and 3, above.

I’d love to hear how you channel your passion.

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