5 ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ quotations for PR pros

The HBO comedy is coming back for its ninth season. Along with a good laugh, communicators can also glean valuable lessons from Larry David’s sketches.

The curmudgeon is back.

On Monday, HBO announced that “Curb Your Enthusiasm” will return on Oct. 1 for its ninth season. The comedy has been on hiatus since September 2011, so for many people, that news is pretty, pretty, pretty, good.

Fans know what all the fuss is about, and newcomers have plenty of ways to catch-up by October (Complex listed 25 of the most memorable episodes if you don’t start from the beginning, which you should.)

Larry David never professes to be a role model (and for good reason), but communicators can learn a thing or two from the co-inventor of the car periscope. Here are five quotations from the series that can help you improve your PR prowess:

1. “I’d rather have the thieves than the neighbors — the thieves don’t impose. … The neighbors want your time; the thieves want your things. I’d rather give them things than time.” (S7 E1)

PR people earn unfortunate labels. Sometimes, those labels are warranted. Do you cold-call reporters without doing your homework or pitch massive distribution lists with generic paragraphs about your “amazing” widget? If so, you might be a time thief.

Time is the only thing we can’t get back. Be a PR pro who saves journalists time by researching trend stories, finding the perfect publication and reporter for the story and patiently conducting follow-up efforts.

2. “Can I apologize for the apology?”

Countless blogs have been written about the art of the apology. And yet people still write things such as venture capitalist Justin Caldbeck’s criticized mea culpa, proving that we haven’t reached critical mass of “how to make an apology” blogs.

An apology, in theory, is the simplest thing to write: Say you are sorry for what you did, not how other people perceived your wrongdoing. Don’t play the victim; otherwise, why are you apologizing?

A bad apology can set you back two-fold: once for the thing you screwed up, and again for screwing up the apology. Keep it simple and sincere.

3. “She’s feigning familiarity with someone she vaguely knows for the sole purpose of cutting in line.” (S8 E5)

Chumminess is not next to godliness. Often, your intentions bleed through.

It is perfectly OK to introduce yourself without a request. Conversations are not things to be won.

4. “Anyone can be confident with a full head of hair. But a confident bald man—there’s your diamond in the rough.”

Larry frequently talks about his baldness as a badge of honor, and once famously fired a chef at his restaurant for wearing a toupee (a bald-faced liar).

Shed the pretense, and be confident in your product, service or client. Internal communications professionals can extend this concept to helping employees feel pride in their organization.

5. Larry: “Well, I don’t know any human who could dance to that tempo. You’d have to be [the] Flash to dance like that!”

Michael: “Who?”

Larry: Oh, forget it. It’s a comic book character wearing the red costume. The guy in the red costume!

Blind Man: “I don’t even know what red is.”

Larry: “It’s hard to talk to a blind guy. You have no references.”

Michael: “I don’t know comics, Larry.”

Tastelessness aside, this conversation showcases the pitfalls of assumptions.

Don’t assume journalists, industry leaders or conference organizers understand everything about your product, service or client. Instead, ensure that resources are available (including FAQs, and video clips) to provide additional information to interested external parties.

Which quotes and lessons would you add to the list?

John Pelle is the head of external communications at AbleTo.

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Topics: PR

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