Season’s greetings, to all of my readers and supporters! If you know me well at all, you know that the frenzy of the holidays gets me hyped (in a good way). I can’t stop singing Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole songs… In other words, I’m all about holiday cheer, and I wish you and your loved ones a very special holiday season. With that said, I have an article I’d like to share…
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post called “9 Nuggets of Advice for the Aspiring PR Pro,” and detailed a few lessons of wisdom that I’ve picked up in the industry. I also promised a follow-up article, and now I’m making good on that promise. Without further adieu…
9 more nuggets of advice for young PR practitioners:
1 ) Be a consumer of news media. Just because you’re not a journalist doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be knowledgeable about what’s going on in the world, and know how reporters think. Pick up a paper every day, if you can. Bookmark the New York Times or Huffington Post as your Internet browser’s homepage. Make sure to read as much as you can, and have an educated opinion on the “latest” news.
2 ) Learn the art of small talk. If will come in handy more times than you know. Most of the times, you won’t walk into a meeting and get straight to business. That’s not how it works in the real world… Even the most “down-to-business” execs usually want to chitter-chatter for a few minutes. Sometimes a few friendly words exchanged early in the conversation can make the tough questions later on a bit more palatable. Remember, you are dealing with people.
3 ) There’s no “I” in team. Not much more to say here. If you think you can carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, even if you’re built like a professional bodybuilder, you’re severely mistaken. The field of public relations is a team sport.
4 ) Write to be read. It’s not enough to write for yourself; read aloud everything you put to paper (or on the web) before you hit “publish.” Make sure the words you’ve written effectively communicate the desired message. Think about if you’ve represented your client’s wishes. Have you addressed all of the key stakeholders? Is the writing clear and concise? Ask yourself these questions. If it makes sense in your head, but your audience can’t understand or relate to what you’ve written, then your writing is ineffective.
4 ) Some clients will be rude. Just like in middle school, you’ll find that in this career field, you’re not going to be best friends with every client. Rest assured, there will be a small handful of clients that you may secretly wish bodily harm upon. Your task: to keep smiling, be polite, and make sure the work gets done anyway. Remember, you work in “public relations.” Your job is to relate to people; even if they seem to make getting along with you harder than Calculus II. In other words: “take the high road.”
5 ) Think like an editor. When dealing with information, both verbal and written, consider newsworthiness, angle, bias, etc. It will make your dealings with reporters that much easier, reviewing information from all angles before you meet with clients or your boss helps you anticipate all possible questions and/or sticking points before someone else brings them up. You always want to be as prepared as possible.
6) Organize your thoughts with a blog. Start and maintain a blog related to learnings in your field. It definitely helps to analyze your thoughts, and can even help with your career down the line. Just remain transparent in your writings, and keep in mind any confidentiality agreements you’ve signed with your company.
7 ) Things will change… often. How effectively you deal with change (i.e., keep a cool head in the middle of a tornado) directly affects whether you keep your job, get promoted, and succeed throughout your career.
8 ) Pay it Forward. If you keep up with your craft long enough, and follow these tips, eventually you’ll be in a position of power, where you have the ability to teach and mentor others. Remember the help that you received on your climb to the top of the mountain, and be sure to lend a helping hand to the next person in your shoes.
9 ) Get a good stress ball. Sometimes, it will be your best friend. ‘Nuff said.
So there you have it: 9 more nuggets of wisdom that will serve you well in the public relations world. Hopefully you find these tips useful. And now I turn to you… What are your thoughts?
Agree? Disagree? What advice would you offer to young and aspiring PR pros? Weigh in and post a comment below.