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My New Year's Resolution: Exhibit More Passion

Todd Miller  Follow

Webster's Dictionary defines PASSION as a powerful emotion.

When thinking about what makes PR professionals on top of their game, whether they are managing a group of rising stars, recruiting new talent, counseling clients, or pitching media or a prospective client, I can't help but think it's passion for their work.

I believe the secret to success is being able to take your passion, fully express yourself through it and use that passion to benefit others.

Here are several instances where I think passion is so critical in the world of public relations:

When I walk into the office every morning, people can instantly read my mood. If my kids were up all night and I'm on 3 hours of sleep, I'm not my usual "perky" self. Instead, I might bury myself in my office returning emails in a zombie like state of mind until the first cup of coffee sets in. But, who's losing in this situation? Me because I'm on three hours of sleep (maybe...) or my team who looks forward to talking to me first thing in the morning about the latest and greatest headlines from the WSJ? Right off the bat, they've missed my passion for the job. What kind of leader wants to set that kind of tone for the day? After all, leadership transcends down. Instead they want to be excited after hearing the passion in my voice on why the stock market is doing so well.

I was recently at a college fair looking for new talent. Ninety five percent of the upcoming graduates came to my table asking me about PR, what it is and if I have any positions open. Only five percent came with thoughtful questions, resumes filled with tons of internship experience and quality references from their professors. I was shocked! Guess what; five percent of the people I saw landed an interview. Their passion blew me away.

Clients love hearing their vendor on the other end of the phone get jazzed about a new acquisition or an important new hire. First off, they instantly feel a connection, which is so important when you are a vendor. They like knowing their agency is going to rock the upcoming announcement and they also feel a sense of comfort knowing that we will give them good guidance because we are passionate about communicating their news story.

Even when pitching a reporter or cold calling prospective clients, they can tell instantly in our 30-second elevator pitch if the person on the other end of the phone is coming from a genuine place. Perhaps it is the tone in our voice. Perhaps it is the way we said our greeting? OR perhaps it is the deep interest we conveyed about the reporter's writing and why speaking to our clients would be beneficial. Same goes for cold calling a prospective client. The prospect wants to hear the deep interest we have in their firm and why we can fit the bill to be their agency.

We get pummeled by so many cold calls a day from vendors. And, we all rush them off the phone. Why? Their initial pitch stinks. I'm usually talking to someone on the other end who has the same script in front of him that he used for 100 other people. What's the result? I try to get off the phone as fast as possible.

But, what makes a great pitch nowadays? Passion. If the person on the other end of the phone senses I took the time to do my research and I combine this research with my ultimate love of my job they listen. I got past the 30-second elevator pitch and I'm now headed to second base. Yes!

In today's world, we are running so fast that we sometimes don't analyze our actions. Let's face it, every action has a consequence. And by running so fast, we tend to lose our passion for what we do. We are cheating ourselves out of the love of our job.

So while Webster's offers a very concrete definition of passion, I believe the key to passion is using it in a way where others can benefit.

As we start a New Year (2011!) I'm making it my personal goal to exhibit more passion. I bet people will find it refreshing and the outcome will be more rewarding than moving so quickly to the next item on my to-do list. CJP

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