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#PR: Robin Williams on Communicating
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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Like you, I am saddened deeply that the world has lost a creative genius of the caliber of Robin Williams. From what I have heard over the last few days, he was such a master of improvisation that scriptwriters of the movies in which he had starring roles would literally leave entire swaths of dialogue totally blank. They did this knowing that he would, without fail, improvise and ad-lib perfectly. He was that good...and that crazy (in a funny sort of way). But, as we also have learned, Robin was a tortured soul as well. It is most unfortunate that he felt he had to end his life to overcome whatever demons he currently was facing.

PR News for Smart Communicators just recently had an post titled 7 Quotes from Robin Williams, for Communicators authored by Matthew Schwartz. Commenting about Williams, Schwartz said:
“He was wonderfully manic. He had an incredibly diverse work portfolio and never bucked a challenge. He was accessible, open and charitable. ...Williams could certainly teach a thing or two to PR pros, first and foremost the beauty of versatility. Whether he was playing an alien (Mork & Mindy), a psychologist (Good Will Hunting, for which he won an Oscar) or a hobo (Waiting for Godot), Williams was able to tackle TV, movies and stage. Before transparency became a catch-all phrase, Williams was notoriously open about his addictions to cocaine and alcohol. He talked about difficult subjects with candor and grace, something PR managers should strive for when they're discussing sensitive issues on behalf of a client or the company....He had had a delightful flair for language and some penetrating insight into human nature, which, despite all our gadgets, is roughly half the battle in PR.”

Then, in saying that Robin Williams will be sorely missed, Schwartz shared some insights from The Comedic Master himself on communicating and communications:
  • "You're only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."
  • "No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world."
  • "Reality: What a concept!"
  • "If you can find comedy that is personal, it will resonate more with the audience."
  • "I love kids, but they are a tough audience."
  • "What's right is what's left if you do everything else wrong."
  • "The idea of having a steady job is appealing."
To me, his second insight is the most powerful one. Words and actions can indeed change the world.

Yes, Robin Williams will be missed...for his refreshing take on life. His is a great lesson also that we should not take ourselves too seriously all the time and never be afraid to re-invent, as often as necessary.

Therefore, to honor Robin Williams' memory, this blog post has been set with rag left margins rather than my customary rag right.

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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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