Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Best PR Pros Care...But Not That Much

Negotiator extraordinaire Herb Cohen attributes his success representing the interests of the US government during the Iranian hostage crisis, the skyjacking of TWA Flight 847 and the START arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union to a simple premise:

Caring…but not that much.

Make no mistake, Cohen certainly cares about every negotiation he participates in. The quality of his clients validates that. Since leaving public service, Cohen has helped settle the NFL football players’ strike and General Motors’ litigation issues, and recently negotiated celebrity contracts for Larry King and Cal Ripken Jr.

What Cohen brings to the negotiating table is an understanding of his client’s interests and that critical outside perspective. He is able to separate emotion from the process and provide an honest assessment of the best path to follow to achieve the desired result. Cohen is a true counselor.

That’s the position public relations professionals must always strive to achieve. What drives interest in a company among key stakeholders is answering the “why” question. To do this, we have to understand market trends. Be in step with our company’s growth strategy. And know the competitive landscape.

PR will earn the right to participate in meaningful decisions. We must then be prepared to provide honest counsel, even if it’s not what the CEO wants to hear. We have to demonstrate that we care…but not that much.

Read more about Herb Cohen:


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