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PR for Humans

How business leaders tell powerful stories

Mike Sergeant

Discover the essential principles of leadership communication.
In PR for Humans, Mike Sergeant shows CEOs, partners and business leaders how to use these principles. He challenges the global PR industry to move beyond spreadsheets and ‘strategies’ and embrace more powerful human storytelling.

Size: 216 × 140 × 14 mm / 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.5625 in192 PagesISBN: 9781788600552
Publication: April 18, 2019


  • £15.99

“There is no strategy without a story. There is no story without the main character. The main character is you.”

PR for Humans is for pure-of-heart storytellers who want to cut through the noise and the nonsense. It brings together the essential and timeless principles of effective leadership communication.

Belief. Clarity. Opinion. Energy. Context. Time. Humility. Imagery.

Why are these things so important? Why do most people in PR and ‘communications’ not even talk about them? Why is PR for Humans even more important in the age of A.I.?
In this fresh and energetic guide, former BBC correspondent Mike Sergeant draws on twenty years of frontline experience to reveal the secrets that every CEO, partner, board member, PR director and business leader needs to know.

The principles and techniques he sets out in this book will help you deliver more powerful speeches, presentations, media interviews, videos, podcasts and blogs.

They are the rocket fuel for your business and your career.

Mike Sergeant is an international communications coach and PR adviser to CEOs and business leaders. Through his company he delivers media training, public speaking coaching and reputation advice. Mike began his career at CNN in 1996 before moving to Reuters, Sky News and the BBC – where he spent 13 years as a TV and radio correspondent covering business, politics and the Middle East. He lives in North London with his wife and two sons.

This Book
The Awakening. The Billionaire. Stories Begin. Stories Accelerate.
My Stories. What Even Is PR? On Reputation. PR for Humans.
1. Belief
Believe in Something. Be a Hedgehog. Connect.
2. Clarity
Seek Clarity. Fire One Arrow. Soar and Dive.
3. Opinion
Take a View. Stop Being the Accountant. Watch Your
Personal Space.
4. Energy
Energise. Seek Influence. Fear the Dark Side.
5. Context
Get off Your Island. Draw Concentric Circles. Put the
Customer in the Middle. Find Allies.
6. Time
Root Yourself. Reach Back for Your Company Story.
Be Present. Lead Your Company’s Action. Be the Future.
Describe Your Company’s Future. Past, Present, Future.
Control Time.
7. Humility
Be Humble. Understand the Storyteller’s Paradox. Solve
Someone’s Problem. Want Something. Be Funny.
Be the Coach. Listen. Pause.
8. Imagery
Use Metaphor. Use Words, but Think in Pictures.
Use Numbers Imaginatively. Create Moments.
1. Speeches 
Make It Personal. Find an Argument. Put TED to Bed.
Start Strong. Finish Stronger. Pitch It. Know Your Audience.
Be a Proper Chair. Own the Panel.
2. Performance
Clench. (Try Not To) Use Slides. Use Props (Sometimes).
Find Your Voice. Dress the Best. Memorise (Occasionally).
Rehearse Seriously. Crush Nerves.
3. Media 
Talk to Journalists. Have a Goal for PR. Find Common
Ground. Feel Newsworthy. Write Your Headlines. Find
Soundbites. Use a Story Tree. Broadcast Happy.
4. Danger 
Stay on the Record. Watch Your Red Lines. Cut Down
the Bridge. Lean into Crisis.
5. Content 
Get Video. Podcast Around the Campfi re. Find Photo
Beauty. Get Human on Social.
6. Words
Write Clearly. Rewrite Everything. Write from the Gut.
The People’s Princess. There’s Power in Love. Human PR.
Author’s Note
Select Bibliography 

"I love that the author starts from an audience perspective. As a brand strategist (and admirer of Seth Godin) the starting point has to be the WHO, it impacts everything else. “We should be imagining the audience first, asking ourselves: what do they know about us? Think about us? And what would we like them to think, feel and do?”

I firmly believe that the more time we invest in understanding the audience, the easier it is to mould the message for them to relate to and engage with. So too does the author.

And so he elaborates on the importance of the story. With the story being told being dependent on just who you are relating it to.

“Facts are important. But stories are vital if you want to enhance reputation." It’s hard for us to make sense of lots of data, but a story can help us make sense of it. "Stories are about people, challenges, struggles, mistakes, hopes and dreams." Stories are relatable. Evidence is essential. There are those who struggle to see a story, but the author is clear about the importance and impact. We need to take the time to look for the story. We are looking to move the audience from one point to another.

The brands we love are great storytellers and the author details examples to help us understand the principles he is postulating.

Stories require effort. It’s not a ‘get it out quickly’ but rather an iterative process. To be an authority, you need to have a context and the right content. Leaders (people, brands and businesses) see the value in this investment.

He describes a two-part process: finding your story, exploring timeless principles and then telling your story, outlining the techniques to do so, emphasising that great brands do both. 

The author has certainly followed this approach. I found myself nodding as he verbalized many of my thoughts, that I have not been able to express anywhere near as clearly.

I loved these thoughts:

“Know your audience. Flatter them. Involve Them. Play to them. Win them. Keep them.

“You need a story to tell in the first place before... (hiring photographers etc)

"Social media is a very personal thing. All it does is expose and amplify who you are.”

“The conclusion usually comes first.” The business reader doesn't have time. They want to stop reading as soon as possible.”

“Focus on the person, not the organization.”

“ Tell a powerful story. By humans. For humans.”

This book has broad appeal. It is for those who are looking to write meaningful content. It is inspiring, informative and a great guide. It is a great handbook. It’s a gem. I highly recommend you buy it. I intend to revisit it on a regular basis. There is just too much to take in in one reading. It's deep. It's rich. It’s inspiring.

With many thanks to the authors, the publishers, Practical Inspiration Publishing, and NetGalley for my free copy to review"


Format: Paperback

Size: 216 × 140 × 14 mm / 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.5625 in

192 Pages

ISBN: 9781788600552

Publication: April 18, 2019

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