20 PR Tips For Superintendents
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20 PR Tips For Superintendents

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These slides will be used during the April 14, 2010 presentation during the TASA First Time Superintendent's Academy in Round Rock, Texas.

These slides will be used during the April 14, 2010 presentation during the TASA First Time Superintendent's Academy in Round Rock, Texas.

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  • 1. 20 PR TIPS FOR SUPERINTENDENTS 18th Annual First-Time Superintendent’s Academy
  • 3. JUDY FARMER Executive Director
  • 4. Objectives for today: • Examine just how school communications and public relations has changed. • Review the 20 PR Tips that all Superintendent’s need to know to be successful. • Have a little fun!
  • 5. How has school PR changed? • In 1962 - only 12 people in school PR in Texas … in 2010 - there are nearly 1,900 school public relations professionals. • School districts are being held more accountable for their actions.
  • 6. How has school PR changed? • The public is questioning schools and administrators more. • Parents are becoming more demanding. • The media has discovered that schools can provide them with “juicy” stories.
  • 7. How has school PR changed? • Non-traditional media outlets and social media are becoming more and more popular. • Because of instant access, there is more of a need for crisis communications.
  • 8. Tip #1: It’s not always easy to communicate! • Is everyone on the same page? • What are people expecting? • How can you tell your district’s story? • What communication tools will work for you?
  • 9. Tip #2: Define your communications needs. • What is your district needing to accomplish right now? • What are your district’s long term needs and goals? • What does your Board want you to accomplish?
  • 10. Tip #3: Communication is a planned effort! • Develop a purpose for your district’s communications. • Develop goals and objectives each year that measure your success or failure. • Get everyone to follow your lead!
  • 11. Tip #4: It’s not easy getting others to follow your lead! • Pay attention to the way that you are perceived. • You can set the best example. • Work your plan in the best way possible. • We’ve always done it that way!
  • 12. Tip #5: Know what it takes to communicate well. • Know how to listen - listening is the key to great communication • Always explain the facts. • Communicate with all of your publics. • Authorize “control spin” on controversial issues.
  • 13. Tip #6: Develop your communication goals. • Increase awareness of campus and departmental information. • Increase awareness of student and staff achievement. • Improve faster means of communicating information during a crisis situation
  • 14. Tip #7: Keep your board members in the know! • Nobody likes to be surprised, especially the board president. • Rumors and speculations can easily get out of control. • Never try to hide bad news. It will always rear its ugly head.
  • 15. Tip #8: Always stay calm in a crisis. • Be prepared. • Have one spokesperson. • Be honest and express concern. • Apologize when appropriate. • Emergency Operations Plan.
  • 16. Tip #9: Communicate with your community. • Parents know what their kids tell them. • Taxpayers can make or break a bond election. • Businesses know that successful schools bolster economic development.
  • 17. Tip #10: Communicate with all employees. • Employees have a vested interest in the school system. • Sometimes administrators forget to communicate with their employees. • Employees are the best sales people a district can have.
  • 18. Tip #11: You can’t fix stupid! • At any given time - there is the possibility that an administrator, a teacher, an employee, a student, a parent, or a contractor - will not use common sense before doing something ... and you’re going to have to explain it. • We have met the enemy, and it is us!
  • 19. Tip #12: The media knows that “juicy stuff” sells! • Try to contain the message as best as you can. • Always explain your side of the story in a clear and positive manner. • Correct any inaccuracies that may be reported. • Communicate, communicate, and then communicate some more.
  • 20. Tip #13: Always prepare before talking to the media. • Know the facts - there is no such thing as a pleasant surprise from the media. • Try to anticipate questions the reporter may ask you and determine the best response to each question you envision. • Set the ground rules - help reporters with background information. • You don’t have to answer every question.
  • 21. Tip #13: Always prepare before talking to the media. • Rehearse your message - know what you want to say and determine how you are going to say it. • There are two sides to every story - by anticipating viewpoints you can help develop your message and avoid traps. • Avoid personal opinions - you represent the district and the school.
  • 22. Tip #14: Never lie to the media. • Always tell the truth, or at least the truth that you can tell. • It’s much better having the media as an ally than an enemy. • Building a trust relationship with the media is important.
  • 23. Tip #15: Never say no comment. • Remember, the media can always get “the truth” from someone else. • Always reference policy and/or your standard operating procedure. • “No comment” can make you look and sound guilty!
  • 24. Tip #16: Never talk down to your public. • Always remember that it’s their children, their schools, and their community. • And in case you forget, always remember that it’s their children, their schools, and their community.
  • 25. Tip #17: Cute kids make a cute story. • Positive stories about kids doing positive things can get you more bang for your buck than a 30 second commercial during the Super Bowl.
  • 26. Tip #18: If it’s good for the kids, it’s good for the district. • It’s easy to spin a story when it’s all about the kids. • It’s very hard to contradict or negate something that’s good for the kids.
  • 27. Tip #19: Change your communication strategy when it’s not working. • Sometimes, things don’t always work out like they planned. • Shift gears and change course if a communication tool is not working the way it was supposed to. • It’s better to move on than stay on a course thats going nowhere.
  • 28. Questions?