C.C. Chapman on the Measures of True Happiness

Do you want to protect your PR budget and perhaps even get a boost in spending? Then you'd better have the metrics to show senior leaders that your communications efforts directly play into their goals for the organization. To do that, you've got to set focused, specific, measurable goals for your PR programs. Vague terms like "building brand awareness" won't cut it.

Attendees at PR News' May 15 PR Measurement Conference, which will take place at Washington, D.C.'s National Press Club, will get intel on how to set precise, metrics-based goals from leading measurement experts. Attendees will also find that this metrics-based approach can be applied to the quest for personal happiness.

That's right—happiness through metrics.

C.C. Chapman, author of "Amazing Things Will Happen: A Real-World Guide on Achieving Success and Happiness" and keynoter for the PR Measurement Conference, would be the first person to say that he's no Nate Silver when it comes to numbers and analytics. But, as he points out in the following Q&A, having vague goals is a route to disappointment and stasis. As goes the individual, so goes the organization.

PR News: The May 15 Measurement Conference in Washington, D.C. will show professional communicators how to build metrics into the creation of their PR programs so they can prove their business value. Can this kind of metrics-based approach be adapted for one’s own personal success and happiness?

C.C. Chapman: I'm not a metrics type of person. Opening up a spreadsheet program and looking at numbers is one of my least favorite tasks in the world. But, for those who need to measure their success and happiness in this way, the key is having very clear and tangible milestones that you will know if you hit it or not. Saying 'making more money' is not enough. You have to say 'I want to make 10% more money next year' or something similar that is clearly measurable.

For me, if people are honest with themselves, they will know if what they are working on, the company they are employed by and their daily tasks are bringing them happiness or not. 

PR News: In your book, "Amazing Things Will Happen," you say that “many people want more money, a new job, or a happier relationship, but they are not willing to put in the time and work to make any of it happen…amazing things happen only if you work hard.” When people say to you that they are, in fact, working hard, what is your response?

Chapman: I've had this conversation many times and my answer is actually a question of, 'OK, what does working hard look like to you?' and the discussion goes from there. The reason I start there is because working hard at only what isn't satisfying you is very different than working hard towards making changes. There is a big difference.

PR News: It’s assumed that everyone seeks happiness and success, but often people haven’t defined what that means, exactly, and so they never get there. What’s your first suggestion to individuals—and companies—that have ill-defined notions of what it means to be successful?

Chapman: That is the biggest problem. People and companies know that what they are currently doing isn't giving them the fulfillment they desire, but they rarely take the time to figure out what would make them happy.

In the book I talk a lot about how you'll never achieve the life you want if you can't clearly define the path to get there. There is an exercise in the book to step through something called the '3 Word Exercise' that is a focused brainstorming effort to narrow down any question to the three most important themes or words. For a company, this is harder because of so many people giving input, but a facilitated brainstorm like this could prove very beneficial.

C.C. Chapman will keynote PR News' PR Measurement Conference, which takes place May 15 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI

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About Steve Goldstein

Steve Goldstein is editorial director for Access Intelligence’s PR News brand, which encompasses premium, how-to content, data and competitive intelligence for public relations professionals; PR News Online; PR News conferences, webinars and awards programs; and PR News guidebooks. Previously at AI Steve was editorial director of min, min ’s b2b and minonline as well as managing editor of CableFAX: The Magazine and CableWorld. Before joining Access Intelligence, he was executive editor of World Screen News, and editor of Film/Tape World, which covered film, television and commercial production in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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