5 PR lessons from Jackie Kennedy Onassis

The former First Lady was a master at PR—before, during, and after her time in the White House.

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But Jackie’s public relations genius also extended to six major historic preservation projects—including saving Grand Central Terminal, a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court—in which she was pivotal.

Here are five things anyone in PR can learn from Jackie’s masterstrokes:

Be likeable.

It may seem obvious that whether it’s you or your client, the golden rule applies. But being likeable is more than just about being nice to others. It means you need to understand other perspectives, and take your messages to where they are. Speak their language, literally. Jackie spoke French to the French. She spoke Spanish in Miami to the Latino community.

In both cases, her audience was enthralled by the respect she showed for their culture. And they could not help but like her, which translated into votes, bankable good will, a bigger stage, and influence over more people.

Identify the Influencers.

In her effort to stop the Eisenhower-inspired demolition of the Federalist-era townhomes lining Lafayette Square in front of the White House to make room for modernist government buildings, Jackie quickly found the one person who could at least slow the project “down to a walk.”

That person was the man who wrote the checks at the General Services Administration.

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