What NOT to say in PR

Good PR means knowing the right thing to say and the right time to say it. Unfortunately, I don't always get this right. Here I've shared some of my most recent mistakes, so you won’t repeat them.

1. Jokes about death. I have a habit of making inappropriate remarks about causes of death. I should learn to stay away from this subject. The other day a client mentioned he was left-handed. Was it really so terrible to point out that I had read an article saying that left-handed people tend to die earlier?

2. Comments about mental health. I asked a freelancer when I could expect some copy that was overdue. She replied, “Sorry it’s late, but I have been rushing round like a mad thing.” “LIKE a mad thing?” I innocently quipped. “Actually, I am in recovery from a nervous breakdown …” came the reply. Shite....

3. Remarks about personal appearance. “You have an ink smudge on your cheek by the way,” I said to a journalist recently. “That’s a birthmark.” Was the reply. How do you recover from that one?

4. Sexual innuendos. I've never gone there. Wisely I'm sure. What I don't understand is how some people seem to get away with it but others don't. And I'm talking from both sexes. I just don't have that cheeky chappy flirtatious streak - I just look/sound scary!

5. Asking where someone comes from. I asked an interviewee where he came from. I meant where he had just travelled from to get to our office, I was not asking about his ethnic origin. I was really hauled over the coals for this one.

6. Introducing someone. Wrongly. Please learn from me, make an effort to learn people’s names. I've got this mental block for this guy that I know quite well - I just cannot remember his name. And he appears to be at every networking gig in town. It's one of those where the more you stretch your mind for the name, the more distant it becomes...

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