Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Things I know about PR. But remind me anyway.

(This article was originally published in The Holmes Report.)

It's about the people.
I know you know. And I know everyone says it. And I know you are so very tired of hearing it. Still, you'll forget. One cloudy morning you will desperately need to make a hire, and will make an offer to someone you aren't sure about.
It's about the people: good people make everything work. With people not right for the job, nothing runs well.
Take your time to hire; and if someone doesn't work out, resolve it quickly.

Attitude is more important than experience.
You can’t change someone’s attitude. Everything else can be taught or learned.

It's about the client.
I don't care how magical your PR skills are. No one can do good PR for a mediocre product.

Networking events = waste of time.
Networking events are not a good way to network. Discover your own personal way to meet people relevant to you and stay in touch with them, preferably because you genuinely like them.
"Working a room" at a networking event is rarely going to be worth the time.

It's about what is happening out there. Not what we do in here.
The best PR people are curious. Go explore. Travel. Devour books. Develop a point of view. Every morning fall in love with the New York Times.
Within our industry (just like within every industry) we are trapped in an echo-chamber. Get away from the reverberation and go get something fresh.
On this note, put your devices down. Look up.

PR is a roller coaster.
You will be hailed as a hero one day, and as an incompetent disaster the next. Develop your own sense of what you are worth and don’t heed neither criticism nor praise. Let me know when you've successfully figured out how to do this.

It's not "a fire".
I have a friend in PR who is married to a chemist. He runs a lab with deadly pathogens. Late one night, his phone rang.
Voice on the line: “Sir, the lab is on fire. What do we do?”
The chemist: “Ummm, call the fire department?”
Voice on the line: “Sir. This is the fire department.”

You can call your PR "crisis" "a fire" the day the fire department calls you at 3:00 am and asks you what to do.

Please. This doesn't mean that what we do doesn't matter. It doesn't mean it's not important. It just means we could all use a little perspective.

Things will bounce back at you so fast you’ll get whiplash.

Your intern will be your boss (someday very very soon). And I hate to tell you this, but your boss will be someone you come to understand better as the years go by, regardless of what you think now.
Don't regard peers as competitors; don't concoct rivalries. We are all in this together. I believe this to the bottom of my heart and it’s one of the principles that regulate how I do business.

Your ego will get you every time.
Examine the reason - the real reason - behind the decisions that you are making and behind what’s affecting you at work. Your ego will get you every time. Make your ego an advisor, not your master. Then show me how.

Don't confuse your profession with your situation.
I have had good people quit PR over this common misconception. Separate what you do from the situation you are in. The situation is transitory. PR is fun.

Trust the people you work with.
Assume they will do a good job and they will rise to the occasion. Check everything they do and tell yourself that you and only you can do it right and they will second guess themselves constantly.

Say yes.
One of the most interesting things about life is that you don't really know what you like, and what you like is quite possibly going to change. Say yes to that assignment you think you are not interested in. At worst you will learn something you wouldn't have been exposed to otherwise.
Let life surprise you.

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