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It’s here! I’m launching the first ebook in a four-part series, all based on the data and analysis of the results from the FEEL First Test online.
Here’s the “Why” Behind the FEEL Test …
The FEEL First Test is part of an ongoing passion project and research experiment. When my stepdaughter, Noelle, who was a Millennial, passed away in September of 2018, I wanted to know what Millennials were thinking and feeling.
Many questions crossed my mind. Rather than guessing, I set off on a research journey gathering qualitative data from over 100 interviews with Millennials. At the time, I didn’t realize I would be analyzing and using the data to build a communications model, an online interactive test, and a roadmap to help professionals be present, self-aware and more tuned into and self-reflective of their interactions.
I wanted to know from Millennials, who were born between the years 1981 and 1996, the answers to these questions:
- How do you show up to your conversations?
- Are you sharing your authentic self?
- What do you value?
- How do you want to be perceived?
- How do you want the leaders / supervisors, managers and mentors in your life to communicate with you?
- What do you look for from a leader, supervisor, manager or mentor?
- What do you look for in a relationship?
- What does it take to build trust with people, whether you’re on social media, at your company or in any setting?
The 100+ Millennials I spoke with had more to say than I had ever expected or imagined. The one-on-one interviews scheduled for 15 to 20 minutes started to turn into 60 and 90-minute conversations.
I encouraged the flow of the discussions and the transparent sharing of stories and feelings. Some of what I heard enlightened me, and the process was eye-opening to say the least. At the same time, what was shared was jaw dropping and unsettling, which led me to ask another very important question.
Do you ever really know how someone feels?
The Millennials I interviewed told their stories with passion and from the heart. They stated exactly what they were thinking and feeling. It was then I realized, in order to tune in, and truly embrace the verbal and non-verbal cues shared daily, you have to be present and aware in each and every moment. Those interviews and those moments really opened my eyes.
When I stepped back to record the data from the conversations, I saw an interesting pattern develop. Four buckets quickly emerged based on the stories, the sentiment and the insights shared for the questions I initially asked. Clearly, and overwhelmingly, the Millennials wanted the people around them (with a focus on their leaders, supervisors, managers, etc.) to:
- Be more open and inclusive, which meant they had to face FEARS.
- Show kindness, be understanding and have EMPATHY.
- Live with truth and transparency and show good judgment, living with ETHICS daily.
- Have passion and show it by unleashing their LOVE for important causes and standing up for what they believed in.
For me, those four buckets, and understanding each one, has become a life purpose and an ongoing passion. They spelled a word that can make a difference in your personal and professional communication. The word is: FEEL.
If you apply FEEL or feelings, at the point of every interaction, and each communication you encounter, then you are more likely to deepen your conversations and move toward genuine relationships.
The word FEEL has changed my life and career journey, and it’s the lens through which I evaluate my communications. Applying a FEEL lens to your connections and communication helps to build trust, loyalty and advocacy with every interaction.
Having Emotional Intelligence (EI) means understanding your own feelings/ emotions and reactions. So, I ask you …
- Are you self-aware?
- Do you have self-discipline?
- Do you exercise self-management?
- Are you also self-reflective?
- Do you manage your own emotions, so you can tune into and handle/manage someone else’s?
Pondering the questions further, I realized there was no test to evaluate whether you FEEL first, before you engage in communication with the people around you.
Of course, evaluating your level of FEEL or how open, inclusive (and not fearful you are), empathetic, ethical and passionate toward a cause, is not just for Millennials. It’s for all generations and every human being.
As a result of my qualitative research study, which focused on Millennials, regardless of your gender, age, generation or profession, the FEEL First Test came to life with a goal to help you realize how you feel about yourself, the people around you.
After collecting over 9,100 answers from about 350 test participants between February 2020 and February 2021, I’ve created the 1st ebook you can download with findings from the FEEL First Test.
To get your complimentary copy of the ebook, How Different Generations Face Fears, you can fill out the brief form and download below.
Book Announcement: Answers For Ethical Marketers Published as a Guide to Good Business Communication
Who is the Ethical Marketer? Well, it’s you, whether you’re a marketing / PR professional, a business person, or anyone in the company who is communicating and sharing about the brand. That’s a wide range of professionals. There are opportunities and challenges when it comes to ethics and values permeating every level and position in an organization. Answers for Ethical Marketers breaks down the landscape. The book starts by probing the ‘essentials’ of what Ethical Marketers need to know.
Some of the chapters include:
- Applying ethics through media channels in PR, digital marketing, and social media programs.
- Delivering ethical communication through cause marketing.
- Taking ethics into media interviews.
- Learning the actions steps of leaders who are ethical role models.
- Identifying your ethical mentors.
Answers For Ethical Marketers Book Announcement
My public relations/communication students and I have been discussing soft skills, including emotional intelligence (EQ), for several years.
More recently, the topic has come up in the context of relationship-building, specifically the role that EQ can play in building trust to create authentic, meaningful connections between organizations and diverse audiences. In the spirit of experiential learning, I wanted to turn these conversations into hands-on development opportunities.
Around the same time, I was speaking with Deirdre about her FEEL approach to communication. After learning more about her research and how it relates to EQ, I piloted an optional assignment in an upper-level, strategic communication course.
There are three basic components to the assignment:
- Take the FEEL First test and obtain your score.
- Review the suggestions, identify one and put it into practice.
- Write a brief reflection paper regarding the experience.
Students had about two weeks to do the work. They weren’t required to share their scores but rather consider what they learned as a result of the experience.
A Student Perspective
One student who completed the assignment, David James, a current UMass Amherst senior and communication major, felt that it was a personal confidence booster, as well as a jumping off point to better understanding public relations. He mentioned the importance of empathy, particularly for those who serve as chief relationship agents, to be able to “FEEL others’ thoughts, opinions and emotions on both a macro and micro level.”
David, who is also taking business courses, shared that, “I might not have even appreciated that enough while learning it, but in hindsight now, it covers how we should always go about the PR process. Even in the most high-stress crisis comms situations, PR efforts would benefit from a step back, a deep breath and feeling out how each target public might perceive the organization’s message.”
Overall, this exercise provides an opportunity for continuous learning; one that’s designed to encourage taking a more human approach to communication to enhance interpersonal and organizational relationships.
Jennie Donohue is a Senior Lecturer & Director of PR Curriculum, UMASS Amherst.
Here’s another 555 or what I’m calling your “411” on advice, guidance, and tips to actively listen as all of us navigate a “new” normal in our professional lives.
Similar to my last two videos, the first “5” is my give to 5 pros who want to learn more about FEEL First communications with a complimentary consulting session (the getting advice part). Details are in the video below on how to contact me.
The second “5” is my shout out to elevate five pros who go above and beyond to share great content and their gifts with others. You’ll have to listen to the video to hear what these folks are doing:
– Patrice Tanaka (@sambagal), CEO of Joyful Planet
– Ryan Foland (@RyanRoland), Speaker, Author, Brand Strategist –
Dennis Shiao (@dshiao), Marketing Consultant, Content Strategist
– Susan Freeman (@susfree), CEO, Freeman Means Business
– Lindsay Griffiths (@LindsayGriffith), Executive Director, International Lawyers Network.
The last “5” is my 5 tips for actively listening. After all, if you’re not listening, then you can advise and offer guidance. Watch the video for these tips so you can build better relationships as you navigate the “new” normal. You’ll learn how being present, reducing technology, listening with your body, taking notes, and asking questions really helps you to tune in and focus.
Enjoy the 555 and let me know if you have any advice, guidance, or tips to help.
We are in uncertain times. Your customers, employees, partners, the media and other important constituents are looking to you for helpful information. Unfortunately, a lot of the communication shared in uncertain times ends up confusing and frustrating these groups even more.
As we witness the stock market lows, travel bans, event cancellations and more businesses asking employees to work from home, here are three tips to help guide your communication.
Tip #1: Stick with what you know — be direct and don’t share hunches and guestimates.
Tip #2: Show up with your Emotional Intelligence (EI) so you can respond thoughtfully and not react to challenging communication.
Tip #3: Appreciate the feedback you receive — it’s a gift — even the negative feedback helps you to learn and grow.
Here’s my video discussing these tips in more detail and how they can help you.
It’s time to FEEL First in your communication. I’ve been working on my passion project, the FEEL Model, gathering research about the type of communication that builds relationships and creates stronger bonds. In uncertain times, FEEL (facing Fears, engaging with Empathy, Using Ethics and unleashing Love) can make a difference. As the Coronavirus spreads and new cases are reported in the U.S. and globally, effective, meaningful and valuable communication requires a FEEL First approach.
Check out the tips and please share yours too. Together, we can lead with compassion and understanding, and offer helpful and accurate information to the people who matter the most to us professionally and personally in our lives.
Are you confused about the public relations job search? Would you like to learn more about finding and landing an entry-level position in the PR industry?
In this #PRStudChat session, guest Jennie Donohue (@jenniedonohue), senior lecturer and director of the PR curriculum at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, will be joined by @UMassJournalism students to offer tips and insights to kick start your PR career and prepare for your future now.
Jennie, her students (#DonohuePRCases) and the #PRStudChat community will cover several topics during this chat sponsored by @SpinSucks. Join us Tuesday, March 24, at 12 p.m. ET for a dynamic, hour-long discussion about:
Q1. What does the current PR job market look like?
Q2. What are some tips for searching, both online and off, for entry-level PR positions?
Q3. How can I make my application stand out from the crowd? For example, what skills and experiences are PR pros looking for in an entry-level candidate?
Q4. What materials should I include in my portfolio?
Q5. There’s a lot of talk about the importance of networking. How do I get started when I haven’t worked in PR nor have any professional contacts?
Q6. How can I prepare for the interview?
Q7. What are the next steps after the interview?
Q8. I’ve landed my first PR job. Now what? What can I expect to do my first year?
Q9. What happens if I graduate and don’t get a job right away? What should I do?
Q10. Any final suggestions for finding and landing a PR job?
As always, be sure to follow the #PRStudChat hashtag. You can tweet @PRStudChat, @SpinSucks, @LKPetrolino, @ValerieSimon or @DBreakenridge in advance with any additional questions related to “The Future is Now: Landing Your First Job Like A PRo” on March 24th at noon ET.
About Our Sponsor, Spin Sucks
It began with a simple question asked by Angela Hernandez, then President of PRSSA at Central Michigan University (CMU). “Is PR Right for me?” A follow up blog post by PR 2.0 expert Deirdre Breakenridge inspired a series of direct messages on Twitter between Breakenridge and fellow PR industry pro, Valerie Simon. This was an important question and one that should be explored beyond one student or one blog post. Why not build a community to help students across the country, and even the globe, learn from the experience and perspective of industry professionals … A community where everyone can learn and grow together. Read more
About Our Sponsor, Spin Sucks
Spin Sucks was started in September 2006 by Gini Dietrich, an agency founder, author, blogger, CEO, and creator of the PESO Model and PESO Model Certificate. Our mission? To change the perception of the communications industry. What began as a simple blog, soon became a movement. Spin Sucks is the number one PR blog in the world and the go-to resource for forward-thinking PR professionals who want to learn how to use the PESO model to implement the strategies and tactics that drive measurable business goals. It’s also a community where people have fun discussions, brainstorm, ask for help, and make new friends.