Communication is the heart of all human endeavour.

Speak from the Heart to Avoid Becoming Someone’s Valentine’s Day Disaster Story

In Uncategorized on February 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm

And other helpful tips from Ketchum communication pros to make February 14 the day you desire

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. — Elizabeth Barrett Browning

TORONTO, Feb. 7, 2011 –You may not need to be a poet to tell that special someone how you feel, but a few simple guidelines may make all the difference on February 14th.   Valentine’s Day can be a veritable minefield for lovers who want to communicate their passions and inspire similar feelings in the objects of their desire.

“There is both art and science to great communication, whether your goal is to persuade someone to do business with you or to persuade someone to … well, shall we say do some personal business with you,” said Jill Fairbrother, Senior Vice President at Ketchum Public Relations Canada. “Romantic declarations may be the most high-risk communications you’ll ever face but you can lessen the chance for heartbreak by following a few simple principles.”

In the interests of spreading the love, the communication professionals at Ketchum Public Relations Canada offer these dos and don’ts for romantic wannabes.

1. Put a little effort into it

Whether you know you’re with “the one” or you’re just test driving, you still need to show that you care. We heard of one man who wrote a creative and charming list of 100 things he loved about his girlfriend. “I love your favourite jeans because you love them.” Another wrote romantic messages on all the little paper flags in a bowl full of Hershey’s Kisses. Nice! A last-minute store-bought card with only your name scrawled at the bottom sends a powerful, negative message, kind of like saying “no comment.” Now is the time to say something thoughtful; something that shows you’ve been paying attention.

2. Know your audience

Valentine’s Day is a popular time to propose. Many people strive to be original, but this is definitely the time to think about what will make that moment right for your intended. If you ever think that proposing marriage or professing your love on a stadium scoreboard, movie theatre screen, while sky-diving, or in some similar gimmicky way is a good idea, sit down and wait for the feeling to pass. You may think that your significant other would love it, but you better be really, really sure.

3. Make it personal

We like social media as much as the next guy, but you only get one chance to tell someone you love them for the first time and you had better be able to look into their eyes when you do it. Man or woman up and make this declaration face to face. No Facebook, no Twitter, no text message, and sorry but no E-cards. Nothing says lazy quite like the impersonal and total lack of effort represented by typing your Valentine. This calls for IRL – In Real Life.

4. There’s a time and a place

Don’t dump someone on Valentine’s Day. That’s just lazy and mean. Even if he/she professes love on the big screen at the multiplex and you don’t feel the same way, just smile and say: “Oh that’s so nice, thank you sweetie.” Chances are the message will be received, and if it’s not you can always pretend you’re choking on a popcorn husk until the awkward moment passes. And, per No. 3, don’t break up electronically either.

5. Don’t try too hard

The grand romantic gesture, when it works out, can be magnificent. But like jumping off the high dive, the more twists and turns you have the more likely it is that something will go wrong. We heard of one gentleman whose heart was in the right romantic place when he planned an outdoor champagne toast, accompanied by chocolate and strawberries. Unfortunately, his heart was physically located in Ottawa and on that Feb. 14 it was minus 20. The crunchier the icy strawberries got, the frostier his girlfriend became.

Some other failed tactics from our library of broken Valentine’s Day Dreams:

  • A gift of lingerie that is too big, too small, too trashy or too flannel can send the wrong message
  • Be very sure before you give a gift of handcuffs
  • Just say no to blind dates on the 14th – awkward
  • No stuffed animals for anyone over the age of 11
  • Remember the half-your-age-plus-seven rule and don’t try to push the December-May thing too far, unless you’re Hugh Hefner. (OK, even if you are Hugh Hefner.)
  • No double-booking Valentine’s dates – if you can’t pick just one, ask yourself, what are you doing with either of them?
  • No gift cards or cash (unless your Valentine’s Day date is a hooker; we’re not judgmental)
  • No sending flowers the day after to save money
  • No drinking and dialing, texting etc. (Trust us, you’ll regret it.)
  • No overblown expectations (Really, it’s not brain surgery on babies. Just have fun with it.)

“The secret to romance isn’t found in someone else’s poetry, though that may inspire you,” says Ms. Fairbrother. “Like any great communication, the most important part is the preparation you do before you open your mouth or put pen to paper. Listen carefully. Then keep it simple, be genuine, and speak from the heart.”

About Ketchum

An innovator in communication since 1923, Ketchum delivers seamless service around the world through its 66 offices in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America.  Ketchum was chosen as the PRNews “Large Firm of the Year” in 2010. Additional information on Ketchum and its award-winning work can be found at

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Jill Fairbrother, Senior Vice President (416) 355- 7410 or (416) 788-0539 (mobile)

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