We caught up with Peter Shankman, founder of HARO, entrepreneur and soon-to-be-father, regarding his new book, Nice Companies Finish First. The principle hits close to home for Shankman; after all, he makes it his business to be nice. Literally.
He told MediaJobsDaily in an exclusive phone interview, “I’m starting a new company with someone — a very high level person at a PR firm — a start-up and we’re going to create a company that teaches companies how to create these moments of niceness that can actually generate some revenue and cut their marketing budget by half.”
Planning to launch by June 1 at the latest, Shankman already has five clients lined up. The name is yet to be announced but in the meantime, he’ll include updates on his blog. “It’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said.
Okay, as for being nice itself, think about the impact being nice can do. Not only is it about the sake of being nice for being nice, being cordial and respectful bodes you and your company well.
“It’s not just a book about business. This is life altering,” he explained. “It can not only get you the good employees and the good bonus, it can also get you the good car upgrade at the rental car, the best table at the restaurant, the girl.”
And if you think you should only be nice part of the time, think again. “There is no middle ground,” he added. “Your work is connected to your personal life. If you’re an asshole at the airport’s customer service agent, I guarantee you if I see something on your business card or your company name on it, there’s no way I’m doing business with you.”
Where ever you are, whenever, you are your brand. “You represent who you work for, who you are, 24 hours a day whether you know it or not.” In addition to this theme, Shankman’s book covers a variety of specific topics illustrated by anecdotes including self-awareness, strategic listening and giving a damn overall.
“Never before in the history in the world has it been so easy to share. Because this level of sharing is so big, every company that has a product, every company that makes something, whether they’re doing anything about it or not, there’s a conversation about them and it’s happening in real time. That conversation in real time – ‘this room rate sucks’ or ‘holy crap, there’s a hot towel waiting for me, oh my God, how awesome.’ So you have this ability to grow, to tailor the conversation to what you want it to be. Either way they’re talking about you. Do you want them to talk about you in a negative way or a positive way?”
And from the employer perspective, the conversation in a positive way may start right in your own office, even in your own elevator. Shankman explained when a company is run by a CEO who doesn’t listen, nobody “steals loyalty to that CEO.” If you’re in the elevator with your boss’ boss’ boss’ boss’ boss, and you ask how he or she is doing and the CEO responds, “Yeah, whatever,” Shankman pointed out that’s not only not nice, it’s not good for business and loyalty. Essentially, not being nice in its simplest forms isn’t really an option. It’s bad for business and let’s face it, it’s bad karma, too.