Brian McLane

Media and Social Commentary

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September 7th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Social Commentary

I missed this memo on the Power Of Nice…. but the good news is it’s never too late to turn over a new leaf.

I got put onto the book by a friend who told me the firm was looking for a digital and emerging expert. Even though I’m launching tomorrow, I confess I was interested because apparently my resume made it through Kaplan Thaler’s initial screening.


And though I usually read on my iPhone, “The Power of Nice” will probably be the first book I’ve ordered in a few… years. But it looks to be a must read. The Power of Nice, a New York Times bestseller written by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval is probably what the whole world needs to read, Broadcast PR or Digital Media realm not-withstanding.

But I have to say – The Power of Nice only gets you so far. Maybe it’s just the media relations business or it’s an L.A. thing, but there are so many “client relations specialists” that are…. not nice. That’s the nicest way I can say it. To be sure, mom said, if you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all.

For instance you’re invited to a play. It stinks but your friend had a small part and afterwards is on cloud nine. I’ve learned, they don’t want to hear the truth. So you find the best part of what you experienced and no matter what tell them that they were terrific. What if they can’t sing? And sing terribly?

Is it being nice as opposed to doing them a dis-service. What if you were paid to review the show? Which one? I’ve seen this MANY times on Broadway as I get preview tickets to MANY shows. You read the review the next day and you’re like, are they serious? For instance the show “THIRTEEN”). Awful. But of course people write glowing things about the show thinking it’s going to be the next Spring Awakening. Sorry but it stunk. So is the strategy to clam up and just let someone else break the news to them?

To the point of being dis-ingenuous?

I’ve had clients come to me and beg me to do stuff with mobile marketing (for instance one Miami Night Club Empressario – “I have 80,000 phone numbers….”), and had to tell him the truth… I can’t do what you want because I’ll lose my short code!”). When I’m challenged I have to be honest. To do it with a smile is fine. But in the PR world, being “nice” just gets you 99 more phone calls that lead nowhere.

I find – at least being in NYC, that being honest, polite and direct goes a lot further. It also saves a lot of time.

Now Kaplan Thaler didn’t become a billion dollar company by telling the truth all the time. But they may have by being nice. And for sure there are some selections that hit home with me in reading up about this book.

Here are some points that 100% hit home.

“We live in a brave new world where stream-of-consciousness meets streaming media and unprecedented power lies in 140 characters or less. Facebook “like” endorsements and user generated content sites like Yelp let “netizens” provide instant commentary on virtually any subject. And now that subject could be you.”

Streaming Media, texting, Social and Viral – Okay – You got my money right there…

“Each comment, link and “like” become the building blocks of our digital resumes,…” ”

I like that term… “Digital Resume” but there’s also the point of view that it’s important to speak up and stand behind what you know to be true to the point that a client may not like what you have to say. But they’ll appreciate your candor. I guess I just have to be a little nicer. Hmmm…. The Power of Nice? It’s like – Follow the Yellow Brick Road (see previous post).

Look you can’t please everyone. Some people are definitely in the people pleasing business and do quite well. Personally, I like to call them the way I see them and that’s why my circle of contacts is, and I don’t mean to brag, but it’s true – in the thousands and that’s why people call me. Am I a millionaire? Nope.


“….shaping how we perceive others and how they perceive us. And as a result, a simple Google search can have life-altering consequences. A “nice” online profile can seal the deal with a prospective client or employer, while appearing snarky, mean or inappropriate on just one site can have the opposite effect.”

True but people call me because they know they’re going to get the truth and in the most expeditious fashion. There’s snarky, mean and inappropriate – and for sure – I think it’s a good idea to curb the instances in which one is perceived to be so. But you’re either front end or back end. Let the bosses do the nice. You want the facts? Call me – Joe Friday.

Online, negative interactions are like worms, diffusing throughout your network and ultimately infecting every part of your life. Even unintended controversies, born out of a careless Tweet or a virtual snub, can soon grow out of control.

Again – true, true, true and these need to be limited. But recently I had a situation with which started out BADLY and because I let the CEO Carolyn Brundage know about my experience at one of her events, she personally took an interest and WE made lemonade out of lemons. I have a direct pipeline to her and we speak. That’s called Quality Control.

No room for nice when sub-ordinates are screwing up. Sorry – that’s the truth.

One last blurb…

“…It might not seem that important, but accepting a friend request, writing a LinkedIn recommendation, or even tweeting a Follow Friday suggestion, will help plant positive seeds that often have immediate results. Even the smallest digital gesture can serve as a virtual smile and be just the thing to brighten someone’s day.”

A little flowery but again – right on the money. That’s why these two authors are so successful.

If you would like to read the whole article and read more about The Power of Being Nice, go to this video from the Martha Stewart Show:

The Power Of Being Nice - Now You Tell Me?

The Power Of Being Nice - Now You Tell Me?

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