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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

PR Terms


GET READY:

What would you call the thing in the picture above? What is it used for?

READ THIS:

Match the following business idioms to their meanings. These are words that often can be found in the area of public relations ("PR").

1. dirty pool
2. idiot-proof
3. knee-jerk
4. panic button
5. quick fix
6. schmooze
7. snow job
8. song and dance
9. sound bite
10. spin

a. a brief statement on television news (or other sound media)
b. a complicated effort to confuse someone
c. a fast way to solve a problem
d. a thoughtless reaction to a bad situation
e. a way of persuading someone through flattery, exaggeration, or outright lying
f. an automatic reaction to something
g. an organized effort to make your disaster look good, or your competitor's success look bad
h. socialize for business purposes, often insincerely
i. something that will be successful, no matter who tries it
j. unfair business practice(s)

NOTES:

The "panic button" that people usually talk about is not a real thing. It's a metaphor.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION OR WRITING:

1. What is the purpose of "public relations"?
2. Use each idiom in a sentence.
3. Think of some situations where you could use each idiom. Have you ever "hit the panic button"? had a "knee-jerk response"? "Schmoozed"? etc.

ANSWERS TO THE READING:

1. Dirty pool (j): Unfair dealings.
"Our competitor found out about our new product, and started an ad campaign against it before we could launch!"
"Aw, that's dirty pool!"

2. Idiot-proof (i): Something that will be successful, no matter who tries it.
"Do you think our clients know how to take advantage of the new ad campaign?"
"Sure! It's idiot-proof! Even they can't mess it up."

3. Knee-jerk (f): An automatic reaction to something.
"Why did the CEO say that the mistake wasn't his fault?"
"Oh, that was just a knee-jerk response. He never takes the blame."

4. Panic button (d): "Hitting the panic button" is a thoughtless reaction to a bad situation.
"Our client is firing us! What are we going to do?!"
"Let's not hit the panic button. We have several potential clients waiting to take his place."

5. Quick fix (c): A fast way to solve a problem.
"There isn't much time to create our campaign. Any ideas?"
"Let's ask Ed. He usually knows how to come up with a quick fix."

6. Schmooze (h): Socialize for business purposes, often insincerely.
"How can we land that client?"
"Take him to dinner, buy him drinks, play golf with him. If we schmooze him enough, he'll sign a contract."

7. Snow job (e): A way of persuading someone through flattery, exaggeration, or outright lying.
"Why did you tell the client that we would give him 20 hours a week? You know we have a lot of other clients."
"Yeah, but he signed the contract, didn't he? So my snow job worked!"

8. Song and dance (b): A very complicated snow job. Often, the "song and dance" confuses the receiver so much that he is tricked by the presenter.
"Our product has been declared dangerous by a consumer's group. What can we do?"
"Let's get the Chairman of the Board to go on TV and do a song and dance."

9. Sound bite (a): A brief statement on television news (or other sound media). Often, it fails to show the "whole story."
"I made a long statement, but the news only played a little of what I said!"
"Don't worry, I think the sound bite was very convincing."

10. Spin (g): An organized effort to make your disaster look good, or your competitor's success look bad. If you have a problem, you need "spin control," and might call in a "spin doctor."
"Oh, no! A study shows that 5% of the people who use our toothpaste still have bad breath."
"Don't worry; we'll spin it to say '95% effective against bad breath."

This lesson is ©2012 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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