Working in this industry teaches you many things.
Most of the tidbits you pick up on your way through the jungles of public relations can also be applied to everyday life. Here are five gems that I’ve embraced:
1. People are funny.
Whether you’re wheeling and dealing with another public relations pro or trying to win over a new client, the one thing in common you find is that people never fall into the stereotype or group they’re supposed to.
You’ll meet hardcore conservatives who are more open-minded than any clove-smoking liberal and very old men who enjoy nothing more than selling the latest technological advances. People rarely fall into the categories others think they should.
2. Words are important.
No matter your message, what you say is very important. Even more important is how you say it. The words you choose during your campaign can make or break the whole shebang, so it becomes increasingly apparent that every single word is crucial.
Always make sure that you always reconsider everything you write down. One slip can be disastrous, and those slips are often completely unintentional, made by someone who wasn’t aware what they were saying was offensive or misleading.
3. Making friends is better than making contacts.
Just because they’re virtual doesn’t mean they’re not real. Teenagers have been arguing this point for years now, and PR pros now know it’s true. Instead of just making business contacts and colleagues, it’s much better to make friends with the people who regularly interact with you.
Of course, relationships with virtual buds are even more rewarding when you meet those people in the real world, so attending trade shows or just meeting for coffee if you’re close by is a good idea. Contacts help you create a business; friends help you create a life.
4. You can never be too careful.
Again, watch what you say and do. Thinking and planning your strategy before you act is essential. The best laid campaigns of mice and men have fallen astray with one slip, so another life lesson is that you can never be too careful.
If you apply this lesson to everything in your life, imagine how much easier things would be? Plan and strategize, strategize and plan.
5. Being yourself is important.
One of the best things about the use of social media is getting to directly interact with your customers, and the most fun aspect of this is people want to hear from real people. The usual business of always acting like a big know-it-all company just doesn’t cut it anymore. To be a true face of your business means that you get to act like the interesting person you are.
Not many aspects of business allow you to act like yourself, so take advantage and embrace it.
Have you learned any life lessons from working in PR?
Mickie Kennedy is founder of eReleases, the online leader in affordable PR distribution since 1998. Grab a free copy of the report "8 Shocking Secrets Press Release Distribution Firms Don't Want You to Know," a must-read for any PR professional, and follow eReleases on Google+, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.