Monday, December 31, 2012

Charitable giving

This is the last day to get in your charitable giving for the year.  I've already given to several charities and hope to up the ante before the year is out.

It's a win/win.  So give/give.

Monday, December 17, 2012


The above says it all!

May you bask in the warmth of this holiday season and may 2013 see me get some followers.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Time for charitable contributions - MAKE THEM NOW

With the end of the year upon us, it is important to make charitable contributions to go toward 2012 taxes.  It's a basic maxim that folks forget but it's a way of "giving while getting" credit. Make your list, make sure the charity meets your ideals.  Then, WRITE THE CHECK and make the notation on your tax records!!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Xmas presents

During this time of year of giving, remember to buy extra gifts...just in case.  Going to a party?  Bring a gift.  Want to do something nice for your handyman?  Pick up a gift.  Spread the joy and cheer far and wide as it reaps benefits in the long run.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Applaud yourself for doing it yourself

My TV recently went on the bum.  I have another one but was flummoxed about how to get it cable ready.  Frankly, I was intimidated.  I asked a guy friend to help but he couldn't come for a couple of days.  My handyman was going to charge me.  So, I got quiet and pumped myself with encouraging words.  Then, I read the directions, sorted out the instructions and, carefully, hooked it up myself.  I was SO PROUD of myself.  I was able to make it happen and in going out of my skill zone, I applaud myself for doing it myself.  By the time the boyfriend came around, I was happy to say:  OH!  That's already done!  I DID IT MYSELF!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Applaud courage

I recently saw Iyanla Vanzant's Save My Life program that featured a minister's wife, Natashia Thomas, struggling with saving a marriage that was broken.  Her husband had cheated on her with over 20 women and had fathered a child by one.  Iyanla gave her clarity and, in the end, she asked her husband to free her from the marriage.  While it may seem a no brainer to us, she had to come to the realization that she had to get past the ego part of being the First Lady of the church, with the perks.  In the end, she realized preserving self was better.  I applaud her and reached out to her.  When she 'got it' she released herself.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Grieve and then get a new cat

This is turning into a soap opera!  After my 9-year companion/cat died, I went to the shelter and got another one.  That was a Sunday.  She was a nice, sweet cat and I thought she was adjusting.  On Thursday, she disappeared!  I searched the entire house -- tore it up -- looking for her.

Today is Monday and she hasn't surfaced yet.  I'm doubly sad and realize that I should have grieved before getting a new cat.  Now, I'm sad for two reasons...but I'll recover.  There's a lesson in there -- somewhere!

Monday, November 5, 2012


On November 1, my cat Chloe died.  She wasn't sick, didn't appear to be  in distress so I had no real indication.  So, when I saw her in her cat box motionless, I tapped response.

It didn't take long for me to realize that she was dead.

I was heartbroken.

I put her lifeless body in the laundry room but became sad when I saw her lying there...dead.  So, I buried her and went to the Animal Shelter to adopt a new cat.

Chloe was a shelter cat and I gave her a home for nine years until she was 16.  My new cat, Fela, is also a shelter cat and is fitting in well with my life and filling the void.

While still grieving, I've given another cat a home.  As the ad goes, the best friend of a shelter cat is a human offering a home.

Glad to do it.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Trying to stay above the rudeness

Recently, I gave a presentation and the client was rude during it...flailing her arms wildly and interrupting and reminding me of the time.  I had five minutes and :30 seconds into it, she was tapping her watch with exasperation.

I did my best to stay composed and on message but I failed.

That was a bad experience and I was totally embarrassed.  I was gracious but made to look bad in front of those I love and respect.

I was told that, in the future, ignore this rudeness and keep it movin.  My Toastmasters Club said they will wave their arms, talk over me and be rude the next time I give a speech so I can exhibit discipline and keep the speech movin'.

Rudeness comes in many forms and I was chastened that one time.  But not again.  Another life lesson learned and another strategy to deploy if it happens again.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Supporting your friends -- even when it's hard

A friend of mine recently had a launch party for a new product.  Unfortunately, it rained -- monsoonlike -- the night of the rollout.  Of course, I had a perfect excuse.  But I know that these are the times when friendship counts.  So, I braved the crazy weather, got to the event and a hearty, but small, group was there.  She was so appreciative...even with tears in her eyes.  But, I'm sure she'll remember that I was there -- even though it took everything in me to get there.  And, I'm sure she'd have understood that I didn't make it.  But, I was there and glad I'd made the extreme effort.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Don't get in the way

If someone is doing a great job and you're called in to take over the project, let them continue on it.  A major personality in Chicago launched a crusade and called me too late to make any difference.  So, someone else assumed it on the spot.  While it wasn't as polished as what I do, it did capture some great media hits.  When the client asked me to take it over, I advised him that this person had done the heavy lifting and should continue to do so.  These hostile takeovers can compromise a great campaign so I stepped get and didn't get in the way.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Keep copies

Just a tip:

Keep copies of your passport, credit cards and all other documents.  Over the weekend, a document was lost.  Normally, I'd panic.  BUT I'd made copies so it was a simple effort to re-order because I'd heard that tip and moved on it.

So, I lost only about 15 minutes in stress as opposed to an hour or more I'd have consumed if I hadn't followed this tip.

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's about business

I have two rental homes and I finally cleared out both tenants who hadn't paid...although they are nice.  However, I've decided to become stricter and, to that end, have done my own renting.  Being a softie, I've heard sob stories about why credit is bad.  I'm inclined to be compassionate but now it's not about a convincing story or explanation, it's about business.  So, no matter how sweet and compelling the person, I've got to go with the credit check and with the sweetie pies, the verdict is:  DON'T RENT TO THEM.  THEY HAVE BAD CREDIT.  No more being nice and spending time in court trying to get them out.  Now, it's about business!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Facebook or Face time?

I was in the neighborhood of an elderly friend visiting a prospect.  I decided to pop in on her while I was close to her.

She was delighted.  We had a great time and I relished in her gratitude and seeing another dimension of her.

When I asked her if she was on Facebook and perhaps we could be friends, she said:

"Forget Facebook...I want face time!"

Now that is worth pondering.  While Facebook and other social media outlets are great, I concur with my friend:  Seeing someone in person is better than via Facebook.  It's hard and time consuming but, where possible, try face time.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Go anyway

Recently, I oversaw the entire publication of a Memorial Service for a client who lost his mother.  He was extremely difficult through the process...very mean spirited and unkind.  I just held my breath and attributed it to the recent death of his mother.  So, I soldiered through.  But I was so disenchanted that I almost stayed away.

But I didn't.  I attended the Memorial Service and the client spent several minutes praising and extolling me about what a great job I had done. Everyone there came up to me with hugs about how the program comforted the family.  And, several took my business card.  So, while the process was difficult, he was more than gracious and made me (almost) forget the horrible experience of working with him under those circumstances.

But I'm glad I decided to....go anyway.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Social Media

Facebook, Twitter and all social media are changing the face of selling.  Recently, I used Craigslist and other outlets to rent a house that I own.

VOILA!  Found great tenants.  Before I resorted to Facebook.... I'd advertise in the Sun Times for mucho bucks.  This didn't cost a thing.  And, I'm using these outlets more with client needs..

So use it and save money!

Monday, July 30, 2012


I always take a few days to enjoy the city where I'm working.  AKA had its Boule in San Francisco and I barely got out of the press room.  However, I spent an extra two days there and basked in the glory of this fair city without running into too many pink and green ladies.  It was a pleasure and a great way to end the conference.  And, knowing that we did a superb job made it even better.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sweet Satisfaction of a job well done

Last Thursday my firm handled the PR for the naming of the street in honor of Ed and Betty Gardner.  We generated so much positive press and the client credited MELODY'service with getting the crowd in.  So, when it's all over, and you're responsible and did a good job,  reflect on its success and congratulate yourself.  I'm still basking in it...but must move on to the next event.  Alpha Kappa Alpha's Boule in San Francisco!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Attend conferences

I attend the National Association of Black Journalists convention every year.  It's the perfect opportunity to meet journalists, renew acquaintances and strengthen your media contacts.  Plus, I always have a good time.  This is the first year I stayed in the host hotel and it was worth every penny to be able to hob nob in the lobby at all hours without worrying about having to get to another hotel.  I have also leveraged by NABJ membership in every market I enter.  It's a membership, and conference that have paid off in dividends.

Monday, June 18, 2012

You never know

I recently stretched to a contact about doing a segment on a client.  I knew it was a "no go" but, surprisingly, he led me to another great contact on the same station with more exposure.  The key to the "hit" was that I'd offered to give the station an exclusive.  That sort of nod reaped bigger benefits and the client is MUCHO happy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Traveling abroad

I just came from a trip abroad.  Here's a word of warning:  Budget more than you think.  I went to Senegal and, on top of the fare, there were shots and pills that had to be taken even after the trip was over.  The plane ride was brutal and the waits were interminable.  There were a lot of security checks and screenings.  So, be prepared physically and psychically for hassles.  Get in the "ZEN" mode and you'll survive.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Take a decoy

If you go to an event and you suspect there may be someone there who may compromise your politeness, take someone as a foil.  I went to a party last night and feared a troublesome person would be there.  So, I took a friend who vowed to keep me in tact.  The person didn't come but I was glad I'd put measures in place to avoid an unsettling situation.

Monday, May 7, 2012

When visiting, hold the criticism

I am a member of an organization where we have visitors come by occasionally.  At the last meeting, some visitors criticized the format from the floor.

Our membership was offended.  But, there's a lesson in that.

When visiting another organization, keep you criticism to yourself until the end of the meeting.  Then, take the person aside.  No one likes to be called out and/or fronted in the presence of a crowd.  The upside is that it gave the membership something to rally around.

And, we've decided to establish a policy in which we alert visitors to keep any comments to themselves until the meeting is over.  So, there is a lesson in that faux pas and I'm glad to share it with you.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Let your client win a game

Getting into the summer months when there were golf outings.  I attended one last year and my client and I played a set of tennis. Early on, it was obvious that I could win 6-0.  So, rather than pouring it on, I faked a few bad serves and purposely hit the ball out a few times.  I won 6-1.  However, she didn't feel deflated because she'd won a game.  Keep it competitive but remember whose support is enabling you to be at the golf outing.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gift giving

I love giving gifts...just little tokens and they are mighty appreciated by clients.  For my AKA sisters, I have pink and green rings that are very inexpensive but I give them after a great presentation or as a way of saluting them for a job well done.

Likewise, I extend the same treatment to my other clients.  It underscores the maxim that "little things mean a lot."

So, incorporate gift giving into your marketing's the little gestures that distinguish you from the crowd.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Meet the Relatives

If your client offers you the rare opportunity to join him/her for a family function, GO! I was with a client for a trip to New York where we were pitching business. She invited me to have dinner with her and her sister. I passed on it even though she insisted. I kept saying that the two of them, as sisters, should probably be together.

I regret that decision as it would have given me another opportunity to know the client on a more intimate level.

So, if that opportunity is presented to you, take advantage of it. It gives you a chance to know the client on a deeper, more personal level. And, once that happens, you have a greater opportunity of being a value to that client.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Over the weekend, I did absolutely NOTHING. Stayed in, relaxed and chilled. Those type of days are beneficial for mental health and recharging and you must treat yourself to lazy days on occasion.

It's worth it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Always say "Thank you"

Whenever I book a client on a show, I always say "Thank you" to the producer and to the host. Put it in writing as well.

Those two words go a long way toward cementing a positive relationship with the media that can help for future pitches.

Monday, February 27, 2012

No Romanciing Clients

A good friend ended up having an affair with the client and now he doesn't feel he should pay her. Needless to say, this is putting a strain on the relationship.

She moaned to me and I told her what I'm sharing with you:

Moral to that story: No matter how tempting. Don't "co-mingle" with the client. And if you are inclined to do so, understand that the downside could mean that you won't get paid.

Something to think about.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Read, Read, READ

In any business -- but especially in public relations -- you have to read every -- and anything you can get your hands on.

I read everything from The National Enquirer, to the Wall Street Journal, from Vibe to Sports Illustrated, from People to Fortune from Oprah to Essence.

It's all about keeping abreast of trends, admiring writing styles -- and getting smarter at the same time.

It also makes you more interesting and allows you to float in and out of different networks without fear of having to float out. If you have a smidgen of knowledge from reading, you will thrive and you might expand your knowledge, your network of friends and enhance your chances of getting new business.

Monday, January 30, 2012

End nicely

It's always important to end your relationships with grace. I was at a party Saturday and bumped into a former client. He hugged me and spoke so glowingly about me even though we decided to part after three years.

This morning I got into the office and he'd called to give me some business. So, I guess even in grace when losing a client, there's the possibility of working with them again.

So...end nicely.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Do it for loyalty

An entrepreneur I admire asked me to write a story for a new publication that she's publishing. Payment is coming from another source. When I found out the fee, I was stunned by how low it is and I told her. She said she'd try to get more. Nonetheless, to impress her and to make her look good before these high-profile folks, I decided to go on and do it. This will be my entree to show her my work and commitment. So, maybe that will be a first step toward bigger/better assignments. However, I made it clear that I'm doing this for her and will not accept another assignment for such a low fee.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Even if you lost the account, the pitch will help with marketing

Last week, I pitched for new business before a stellar group of client representatives. I was compelling and explosive. Nonetheless, I knew it was going to be a real challenge to land the account because I was up against two New York firms and folks are impressed with that. So, I used the opportunity of the presentation to acquaint everyone with my firm and added some extra zingers that would make us memorable.

When I got the notice that MELODY'service didn't get the account, the letter indicated that the client was impressed and maybe they could use our services in the future.

So, it wasn't a waste...particularly if we are called to do a la carte assignments.

Monday, January 9, 2012

On volunteers

When you're being paid and volunteers are donating their time, you must be prepared to take over and to be patient. This just happened over the weekend for a project I'm involved in for a client. The client wanted me to use volunteers and, despite my concerns, I gave them assignments.

However, many of them didn't complete their tasks. Without chastising them or "reporting" them to the client, I picked up the slack and completed all of the jobs. However, a frank discussion will follow on this but without alienating the volunteers. They will be put in "non sensitive" assignments whose success does not hinge on their involvement.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Rest, Reflect, Regroup, Reboot

The first of the year is time for reflection. Take the time on this holiday to rest.

Tomorrow the workyear starts and today I'm resting, rebooting, regrouping and reflecting. I plan to re-evaluate relationships and have already decided to sever ties with my realtor.

But, it is definitely time to re-charge. It's a NEW YEAR! Bury 2011 and vow to begin anew.