Communication, innovation, Leadership

11 books about strategic communication and innovation that challenged my approach to school PR

I am a nerd. I love to learn and I love to go to school. I have a Master of Education in Instructional Leadership from Sam Houston State University and I just started my last semester to complete a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Innovation from Texas Tech University. My husband {lovingly} calls me a nerd and I wear that label proudly (although I have promised him that I will NOT get another degree!).

I also love books. I love to read and make connections between what the authors are proposing and how I live my life or do my job. Being relatively new to school PR, I challenged myself 14 months ago to earn this degree to become a better, more informed resource for my district. The books below are all of the texts I have read as part of the TTU MCOM master’s program. Some made me scratch my head and others made my head spin, but they all challenged my way of thinking about school PR. 

  1. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
  2. Integrated Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Communications by Kenneth E. Clow and Donald E. Baack
  3. Introduction to Neuromarketing & Consumer Neuroscience by Dr. Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy
  4. Mass Media Research: An Introduction by Roger D. Wimmer 
  5. Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research by Jennings Bryant
  6. Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Michelle Ferrier and Elizabeth Mays 
  7. Neuromarketing For Dummies by Stephen Genco, Andrew Pohlmann, and Peter Steidl
  8. Organizational Communication: Approaches and Processes by Katherine Miller
  9. Personal Relationships: The Effect on Employee Attitudes, Behavior, and Well-being by Lillian Turner de Tormes Eby and Tammy D. Allen
  10. Pitch, Tweet, or Engage on the Street by Kara Alaimo
  11. Social Media Marketing by Tracy L. Tuten and Michael R. Solomon

What are your favorite communications and public relations books?

Also, be sure to check out my new favorite podcast, School PR Happy Hour! Big high five to my school PR pals Justin Dearing and Erin McCann for this new project, and thank you for letting me be a part of it!

Communication, Culture, Leadership

Three communication/leadership/PR presentations (you’re welcome to steal!) from day 1 of our back-to-school PD conference, Brenham U

Today was THE BEST day! Today all of my Brenham ISD “frens” came back! Although I love the summer for strategic planning and catching up, it’s just too quiet. I always feel like a little kid on the first day of school when convocation rolls around. 🙂 It’s like a family reunion!

Our theme this year is Great Things Happen Here!

We had an OUTSTANDING speaker who I highly recommend if you’re looking for someone engaging and funny with a CRYSTAL clear message that this is more than a job, it’s more than a paycheck, it’s a calling. He is a wonderful mix of magic and illusions with stories that will hit you right in the heart. And he’s from Austin, Texas, so he’s right in our backyard! Click here to learn more about Billy Riggs.

After lunch I presented the 3 sessions below (click the links to access the Google presos, File > Make a Copy to create your own version!). I am so grateful to each of you who attended and added to the conversations. You filled up my bucket today and I can’t wait for day 2 tomorrow!

Are you BrandED?

Each of us has a brand, whether we consciously shape it or allow others to do it for us. You may not be intentionally building your brand, but every post you make and hand you shake conveys your identity and communicates the value you offer. Come explore some easy steps to define, build and manage your brand. It’s time to get brandED!

Hard at work on their leadership brand statements!

Find Your Mojo with a Year of Yes

Shonda Rhimes, creator of popular TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, committed to a “year of yes” to get out of her comfort zone and find a balance between career and family. Come hear her Ted Talk story and join in a discussion about how you can say yes more often to stay energized and satisfied at work and at home.

After watching Shonda’s Ted Talk we did a “Chalk Talk” activity and discussed the trends.

Confident Communication – Come find your voice!

Effective communication is one of your most powerful tools. In an educational environment it is important to get it right – both externally with students and parents and internally with colleagues. Come learn how to engage in the two-way communication process, build effective listening skills, and break down barriers to effective communication.

I love the Chalk Talk activity. It gives everyone, event reluctant sharers, a chance to have a voice.
We had SO MANY good conversations surrounding these questions!
Branding, Leadership

Looking for summer reads? Here are my 10 favorite girl power, school PR and leadership books!

I – love – to – read! I love to read fiction, non fiction, mystery books, girlie books, biographies, self help and academic books whenever I get the chance. Now that my children are a little older, I am able to find a bit more time to read, which is awesome. I put this list in ABC order because it’s too hard to rank them by my favorite. They have all impacted my life and/or my career in some way and I hope you are able to find a new read for your summer list from these recommendations! 

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Hi reader, because I may not know you very well, I may have to ask that you put your political views aside for this recommendation. Or perhaps not. Either way, this book is full of girl power, beautifully written, inspiring and empowering. I loved learning more about Michelle Obama’s childhood, her upbringing and how she lived as the First Lady while trying not to lose herself. I also loved the feeling that I got to peek behind the curtain of the White House. (I am on a little First Lady kick right now and am currently reading Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush!)

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

This book doesn’t have anything to do with school PR, but it is 100% about girl power, perseverance, family, love and survival. The author, a young journalist, began experiencing psychiatric symptoms that baffled doctors and specialists and landed her in a catatonic state. Thankfully, her family wouldn’t rest until a diagnosis was made and she was on the road to recovery. I found this story absolutely fascinating for the medical mystery factor, and also for the resilience of the author and her family.

BrandED: Tell Your Story, Build Relationships, and Empower Learning by Eric Sheninger and Trish Rubin

This is one I read in hard copy and I wore out my highlighter as I read it! There are many applicable real-world examples and case studies that you can apply to your own situation, plus an appendix with great worksheet-type resources. One of my favorite quotes is: “Do yourself a service: Create your own brand.” We hear about branding in the corporate world ALL the time, but I don’t think we talk about it enough in public education. This is a great book to get that conversation started!

Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown

I like to listen to books on Audible when I am traveling or driving back and forth to conferences and meetings. This is one I listened to and I am SO GLAD I did! I loved hearing Brene’s own voice tell her stories and share her recipe for true belonging. The message is so good … we can truly belong without giving up who we really are. Who knew?! I bought this book for my entire team after I listened to it and will definitely be reading it again … next time in hard copy so I can highlight and take notes!

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

I – loved – this – book! It was so uplifting and inspiring! This is another one I listened to on Audible during my nightly walk in my neighborhood and it definitely put a pep in my step! Tony Hsieh is the creator of Zappos and in this book he shares everything he learned about company culture and customer service. One of my favorite culture builders was “The Face Game” but you’ll have to read the book to find out what that is!

How to Get Run Over by a Truck by Katie McKenna

The author LITERALLY got run over by a truck! In this memoir she takes the reader through her accident and her LONG journey to recovery. If you’re needing to fill your bucket and find the strength to overcome adversity, give this one a try!

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

I have no doubt that this book is the very reason I have the job I have today. I listened to this book at a pivotal time in my career. I was looking for a new challenge, but I was feeling sheepish about trying to pave my own way. I remember walking through my neighborhood one night listening to Sheryl on Audible and literally fist pumping as she talked about empowerment, asking for a seat at the table, and NOT apologizing for it. So, I did. And here I am.

Let’s Take the Long Way Home and New Life, No Instructions by Gail Caldwell

Grab your tissues for this duo! The first title is a beautiful story of unlikely friendship, unconditional love and loss. The second title is a sequel that chronicles Caldwell’s life, the loss of a friend, recovery from a hip replacement, and triumph in the face of adversity. These do not directly fall into any of the three categories of this post, but definitely have themes of girl power and leadership woven into each beautiful story.

Your School Rocks, So Tell People by Ryan McLane

This is an easy read that provides practical ways teachers and administrators can give parents a behind-the-scenes look at what’s really happening in school. There’s a large focus on social media with tips for videos, hashtags, blogging and more. I read this one digitally on Kindle and did quite a bit of click-and-drag highlighting throughout! Great for those just getting started with social media storytelling.

There are at least a dozen other titles that I could add to this list, but this is a good place to start. Maybe I’ll do a part 2 after I finish my summer reads. 🙂 I would love to know what you’re reading! Share your favorite girl power, school PR or leadership book in the comments below so I can add them to my list!