Eat Your Frog First

My name is Ashley and I’m a list-maker. For me, there is nothing better than checking something off of a list. No matter how small the task, I account for it, so that once it’s complete I can bask in the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment found in one swoop of my pen to cross it off. But there’s always that item that lingers … you know what I’m talking about. Whether it’s from day-to-day or hour-to-hour, there’s something that continues to roll-over because you are not looking forward to diving into it.

Mark Twain once wrote, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

Columnist Jerry Osteryoung recently published an article offering this advice: “Don’t postpone the difficult tasks in your workday.” Instead, “eat your frog first” … or conquer unpleasant tasks early in the day so they aren’t hanging over your head. I love this philosophy and plan to implement it in my daily work life … tomorrow.

What about you? Do you enjoy eating frogs for breakfast?

Stand By Your Numbers

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As public relations professionals, we help our clients distill large numbers down to easy-to-understand, digestible nuggets for the general public — and it’s imperative those numbers are based in fact. If not, all the passion for the cause is trumped by loss of credibility.

Pulitzer Prize winning author Nicholas Kristof asserts that advocates should never undermine the trustworthiness of their cause by cherry-picking evidence … or exaggerating numbers to make a more compelling case.

Throughout history, effective social change is made by acquiring evidence and meticulously showcasing facts. Once that’s accomplished, you harness your passion to tell the story in a tone and style that works best for your key audiences. (That’s where public relations can help.)

For example, look how Great Britain abolished slavery in 1833 (32 years before the U.S. ended it). Abolitionist Thomas Clarkson diagrammed a slave ship, the Brookes, and made posters detailing how it loaded 482 slaves. He painstakingly detailed how the vessel packed human beings into terribly inhumane confined spaces. The ship actually had carried 600 slaves, but Clarkson erred on the conservative side to ensure credibility. He also went to great measures to clearly explain to everyday people what the conditions were like on slave ships and plantations.

Says Kristof about this campaign:

“It’s a useful lesson that what ultimately mattered wasn’t just the abolitionists’ passion and moral conviction but also the meticulously amassed evidence of barbarity.”

Ultimately, in order to implement social change you must be relentless in standing by your numbers. Combining facts and research with passion for the cause and clear language is the key to making this happen.