Saturday, 26 January 2013

10 ways to boost your PR career

I loved these pointers from Lorra, so I am reporting them in my blog. Here are her insightful suggestions, most of which can be used by a professional working in any field. 

With 2013 well underway, I've been reflecting on ways to be a smarter, happier, and more productive professional. Here are my suggestions for professional resolutions:

Take risks and challenge authority.

The most successful relationships are built on mutual respect. Instead of saying "yes," when given an assignment, carefully consider business implications. Don't be afraid to offer ideas and solutions that may seem against the norm. Your ability to take initiative, generate new ideas, and deliver thoughtful counsel will earn you respect and grow your role beyond that of a tactician and into a true strategist.

Affect change as much as possible.

Focus on clients, projects, and priorities with the highest opportunities for meaningful results. Don't get distracted by process or minutia.

Stop complaining.

It is easy to dwell on reasons our career, lives, and families are challenging, unreasonable, or stressful. In 2013, instead of staying on the complaint hamster wheel, take control and change your situation for the better. And as the cliché goes, "choose your battles"—stop stressing about organizational or personal situations you truly cannot change.

Avoid drama.

You are never going to win an argument with someone who isn't rational. Instead, turn the demand or rant your boss or client spouted into a calm and positive opportunity. Don't get defensive or seek validation; overcome your need to be right or prove a point. Walk away from situations that truly aren't worth your energy. This includes office gossip.

Admit you're human.

Take responsibility for your errors. Admitting you are wrong and working to rectify the situation in a thoughtful manner builds camaraderie and encourages an honest approach to business.

Maintain perspective.

We aren't doing life-saving surgery, fighting a war, or solving the debt crisis. It may feel like that sometimes, but although the work we do may be important and meaningful, maintain perspective and lose the self-importance.

Get over it!

Your boss or client criticizes your work, or worse, you. Not everyone is going to love your work all the time. Your openness to suggestions or criticisms and ability to learn from them, and not dwell on the negative, will serve you well.

Turn off the devices.

Being accessible 24-hours a day not only kills work/life balance, but it also sets unrealistic and unreasonable expectations. Truly shutting down for even a few hours a day will lessen your stress and help you recharge your body and your brain.

Consider your legacy.

We are all too young to think about our long-term legacies, yet take a moment to think about how you wish to be remembered and reflect on how you are living your life. If you honestly consider how you are perceived by colleagues, friends, and family, you may change your behavior, relationships, and perhaps even your professional path.

Be benevolent.

Volunteer, take on a pro-bono client, and consider building your corporate social responsibility offerings or career path. Working to improve society should be an element of everyone's work and lives, regardless of the profession.

Best wishes for a productive, joyful, and healthy 2013.

Lorra M. Brown is an assistant professor of public relations/professional communication at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J. Visit her blog or follow her on Twitter @LorraBrownPR.


Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Fable of the Tree

In a forest, deep in a woods, long ago, there was a learning tree. And people would come from miles around to sit under the tree because if you sat under that tree, knowledge would enter your mind, and you would know many things that you never had to learn the hard way.

But one day, a wind arose and it began to rain, and the tree was struck by lightning. The tree was split apart, and shattered, and its leaves flew over the land and landed in many places. After the storm, people came back to where the tree had stood, only to find that in its place was a stump. To this day, when people don't have the knowledge they want, they call it being stumped.

They tried to sit where they once did, but now everything was different from before. They could not absorb the great wisdom that would flow into them as it once had done. The people were troubled. "How are we to know what there is to know?" they asked. Just then, a little boy stumbled on the stump, and fell over. As he lay there, he called out, "I just learned something new!" "What?" called the people.

"If you trip over a stump, you are bound to fall down," said the little boy. The people were amazed. How did he learn this bit of knowledge? They looked at each other and then at the boy. Then, suddenly, they understood something that they never could realize in the days when knowledge came so easily: that experience was another route to learning. They began to seek further understanding by going forth into the world of experience. But, as time passed, they discovered that there was too big a world and too small a time to learn what was needed to know.

By now, the little boy had grown to manhood, and he had many, many experiences of the big world. But, being the way he was, he was curious. One day, it dawned on him how to have more knowledge than he could through his own experience. He began to ask other people about their experiences. Much to his amazement, he found he could gain knowledge vicariously through the many, many experiences everyone had. The world, which was big indeed, became both bigger and smaller at once. Bigger in the fact that he was able to know more than he could ever personally experience, and smaller because he did not need to go everywhere to see, and hear, and smell, and touch all that there was. When people asked him how he knew so much, he told them his insight. They were amazed. So they began to listen and learn through all of the experiences that everyone had, and the world became even bigger and smaller. And they were very happy about what they had learned.

But one day, someone stopped listening to everyone. Instead, they only listened to people who had similar experiences they had. Groups formed based on how some agreed that the world was this way, and others thought it was that way. No one knew who was right, so they began to argue about it. Then they fought about it. And the world got smaller and smaller, and all of the wonders that were there became invisible to them.

And so, they went on, not listening to each other, not sharing their experiences, not even learning from any experiences, but from their concepts of what was supposed to be true. And the world became darker and darker.

Then one day, in the place where the first tree grew, another tree grew in its place. And some people began to sit under the tree. But instead of knowledge filling their heads, an insight took place. That of looking, seeing, observing, exploring, experiencing, and then sharing what was understood. And as more and more people sat under that tree, the world became bigger and bigger and smaller and smaller again. And they all lived happily ever after.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Maach Mishti & More movie review: Wallpaper, Story, Trailer at Times of India

Check out Maach Mishti and More!

Story: As the title aptly suggests, Maach Mishti & More is an urban saga that revolves around a typical Bengali household in Kolkata. Primarily focusing on the three brothers and their romantic interests, the film explores the cosmopolitan city where people fall in love, introspect, dream and find their true calling.

Review: For those who had almost forgotten to smile, having been forced to watch a series of debacles in the name of filmmaking, last year, Mainak Bhaumik's Maach Mishti & More instills hope, right at the beginning of 2013.

Here, we see the eldest of the three brothers, Rahul, (Shauvik) returning home with his wife Reena (Swastika), having quit his cushy job in the US. His dream is to become a chef. He wants to start a restaurant in Kolkata, much to the disappointment of his parents. June (Pamela) helps Rahul set up his restaurant.

Rony (Parambrata) is trying hard to climb up the corporate ladder. He is happy with his take-home salary and his rich Marwari girlfriend, Swati. The youngest of the three brothers, Raju (Anubrata), is an aspiring actor. Unlike his two brothers, he considers himself to be 'different' — younger but wiser. Raju doesn't believe in serious relationships. He needs his space — something his mother fails to understand why. He's more like a friend to Rony and always comes up with his brilliant ideas whenever Rony is in a fix handling his girlfriend.

However, the coolest member in the family is their Dadu (Soumitra Chatterjee) whose policy is to 'live life king size'. He hates following the doctor's advice. And nothing goes unnoticed from his experienced eyes. Dadu believes that if a man's mind is in sync with his body, one can actually lead a happy and healthy life. He not only understands the pulse of every member in the family but also helps a young college girl Sunny (Parno) — who he befriends at his favourite tea stall — confess her love to the man she loves.

The story touches you as one can relate to the trials and tribulations of the characters at some point or the other. Like when Raju tries to rent a place for himself, he realizes that it is as difficult for any young bachelor guy as it is for a girl looking for a sanctuary. And it is Neha (Neha) who holds a mirror up to him.

The way Mainak has woven the plot, highlighting idiosyncrasies of the Bengali mind is laudable. We hear Anuradha Ray, who plays Rahul's mother, sharing her grievance: "Ranna korbe bole chole elo America theke?!"

Even his take on the Marwari community in Kolkata is! Swati's dad asks Rony if he would like to join him in his business, pointing out that "Bangalis toh sirf adda hi maar sakte hain."

Soumitra Chatterjee gives a heartwarming performance, while Anuradha Ray essays an archetypal mother. Shauvik, with his accented Bengali, looks the part. Parambrata is effortless as this soft-hearted, confused and romantic guy who hopes there's one Miss Right waiting for him just around the corner! Raima as Ishani, his friend from college and now a yoga instructor and reiki practitioner, is admirable. To some extent Raima's character seems to be an extension of Soumitra's character. She inspires Param to follow his heart. Anubrata and Neha make a good pair on screen; they are vibrant and full of life. Parno does a good job and looks every bit of a tom-boy in T-shirts and capris.

Something we just can't miss about the film is its portrayal of the female brigade. Far from being docile, Neha, Ishani, Reena and June come across as these bindaas babes who know exactly what to do with their lives. They are confident and can tackle any situation head on.

The best part about the film is in its approach, as to salvage these otherwise cliched subjects like love, passion, ambition and self-discovery. Sunny's track is a bit forced.
But for its humour, which compels one to overlook a few flaws here and there, the film also works for its sparkling dialogues. Styling by Neha and Ajopa deserves a special mention; they've done a good job of giving each actor a distinct look, going by their roles in the film.

Aseem Seth