The start of a new year is always a good point to ask your clients – how can I help and what could we be doing differently in public relations? Many people are afraid to ask or even offer new suggestions. People get in ruts and routines when it comes to public relations. And new ideas and strategies can seem daunting, especially if it means more work and a possible risk of (gasp) failure. Here’s why that thinking is wrong and what you should do about it:

Provide Context

Times change. COEs change, demands change and budgets are revised accordingly. As a consultant responsible for managing hours and time, you can easily experience scope creep – doing too much for too little. Keeping time on track with deliverables often means having pointed discussions about priorities. No one wants wasted time on their bottom line spreadsheets. Always be valuable in that regard.

Clear the Air

Emails are good for tracking, but conversations sometimes are dodged on purpose when people don’t want to be held responsible for decisions. Why? Because decisions have consequences. Even so, conversations on email aren’t always clear and people often misread tone and are left guessing intent. Phone, email and tweets never replace the value of in-person meetings – ever.

Be Bold

When a client suggests a proposal is “too bold”for public relations, it means the client isn’t likely willing to take a risk. That’s OK. You can dial it back and still be paid. But collecting a paycheck isn’t how anyone advances entirely. Risks can be calculated. It’s always feasible to tell a client about the pros and cons of an action. Ultimately, the client decides. But unlike family, you pick and choose your client relationships to advance as well. You don’t always need to be sympatico, but it helps.

Try and Fail

Failing is OK. Let me repeat. Failing is OK. Some of the best lessons in life are the merit badges earned from failure. The lukewarm positives of being part of a team are great for summer camp, not so great in business. Every individual has individual merit and purpose. Tapping individual talent works. Overlooking it doesn’t.

Right the Wrongs

Confrontation is not something most of us seek out. It’s often better to leave upsets unaddressed and slights overlooked. Unlike failure, which is OK, failing to confront (or perhaps resolve) is not OK. This is also better accomplished one-on-one. A group setting, or group email, isn’t the answer. Move it the eyeball level. Words said are often words that can’t be undone.

Standing Ground

Everyone has a bad day – or maybe more than one. When patterns appear and become regular behavior, it’s time for a break. That can mean a final break, a temporary break, or a leave of absence. And absence does make the heart grow fonder. Play smart and be bold.

Happy 2015!

Read more: Ed Zitron and the Human Element of PR