When you have been in the field of communications for nearly three decades you learn a lot.
Some of it is good and some of it…not so good.
And John Landsberg, the founder of Bottom Line Communications, is now sharing many of his experiences in a new book titled “Confessions of a Corporate Sycophant,” a humorous look at a career in public relations.
The book—three years in the making—can be ordered on Amazon (Link) at a cost of $14.95 or for $12.00 via email@example.com. Landsberg even defines what a “sycophant” is in the first chapter for those who (like him) never heard of the word before.
In “Confessions” Landsberg shares many of the challenges he has dealt with his his career in corporate life. What do you do when your company’s telephone directory features a coupon offering $25 off on an abortion? What do you do when your president wants more blue in your annual report cover when it is going to be shipped in a few hours?
Or he reveals the circumstances how he went and had a prostate exam in the hope a TV journalist would do a story on a client. She didn’t.
“Most books on corporate PR are pretty generic and sound like textbooks,” says Landsberg. “I wanted to share how it is in real-life and the goofy things that come up on a regular basis that PR folks have to handle.
“Sure, there are serious issues in communications, but there are some things in my career that I have dealt with that are just plain funny,” he adds.
Landsberg, who has taught PR/communications/marketing at several colleges, says he tried to intersperse practical advice for communicators along with behind-the-scenes things that occur on a regular basis.
“Take for example a visit by the late, great Walter Cronkite that I was involved in,” he says. “I told the client we needed to do a walk-through before Walter arrived just to make sure everything would go smoothly. As expected, the client just kind of rolled his eyes with that ‘What a pain in the butt this guy is’ look.
“As it turned out Walter was supposed to sit in a rocking chair that had just been constructed, but we discovered the maintenance guys simply took the chair out of the box and set it on the floor. The fact the rocking chair didn’t actually rock didn’t seem to concern those guys. We found the rocker thingies in the dumpster and put them on right before Walter showed up.”
How about the famous, “I wouldn’t change a thing” answer people often give?
“Actually, I probably would have changed a lot of things in my career,” he says, laughing. “But as a PR Puke you deal with the hand you have been dealt. I have found that many of the ridiculous things I did are much funnier today than when I had to face them in real time.”
Landsberg began his career as a sportswriter and decided early-on that covering jocks saying the same stupid things over and over was numbing. He jumped to the “dark side” (corporate PR) and never looked back while working in Cleveland, Mansfield (OH) and Kansas City. He has media trained more than 400 executives during his career and founded Bottom Line Communications in 1996.
Today he is based in Bluffton, SC, and still works with a variety of clients and is a frequent guest speaker/lecturer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (913) 710-3760.