Recently, I returned from a visit with my 92-year old grandmother in Boca Raton. She may have slowed down physically, but she still has a strong mind and plenty of advice to share—advice you probably heard from your own grandma.
As I sat down to write this post, I started thinking about how some of her tips translate easily to the world of public relations:
Travel often. Experience what’s out there and learn from it. My grandmother took every opportunity she could to travel someplace new and can still recall stories from the places she has visited.
If you’re in the business of PR, you had better not be staying in one place. You need to get out and talk to your peers, your customers/clients, your stakeholders and counterparts in every other part of the business (from sales to HR to legal). Listen, learn, and then apply those experiences to improve your communication strategy and results. There was a great post on Forbes.com
recently that discussed five ways B2B marketers can do a better job of looking beyond their own universe.
Take pride in what you do.
My grandmother loves to talk about the years she worked for Reader’s Digest
; you can still find Reader’s Digest
books populating her shelves. When you care to give your best, it infects everything. That care factor
shines through loud and clear in PR, whether you’re talking to colleagues, clients, journalists, or consumers. A positive attitude about your work and accomplishments can take you far.
Looking to history is important.
I love asking my grandmother about her life when she was younger and when my dad was growing up—all the more important to me now that my dad has been gone for four years. And I know she feels it’s important to pass those stories along for us to remember and retell.
History is just as important to a communications program. While we’re usually pushing clients to be forward thinking in discussing the next trend or the implication of a decision, it’s equally important to tell the story of the company’s experiences. How did the company become what it is today? What impact has the company had on its customers? Who have been the influential figures in the company’s past?
While this advice applied mostly to eating, walking, and talking during my visit, I also become aware of how quickly I jump from one activity to the next. A funny thing happens when you slow down: You start to listen a little better, think a little more clearly, and focus more keenly. Plenty has been written about this topic, including this handy advice
from the author of the book “Making Ideas Happen.” Maybe it’s time to listen to our grandmas?
Is there other grandmotherly advice that you’d share?
Kellie Sheehan is senior vice president and director of professional services at BlissPR. A version of this story first appeared on the BlissPR blog.