6 PR skills coaching T-ball teaches

From dealing with crises to managing expectations, coaching youngsters in a team sport can be a lot like working in the office—and vice versa.

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It occurred to me during my first season as coach that there are notable similarities between the skills required in my day job as a public relations professional and the ones needed to effectively manage a team of 4- and 5-year-olds. Pretty scary, right? I’d argue that going through this experience at the ballpark helped me improve my performance in the workplace.

Here’s how six characteristics of a good PR pro play out on the T-ball field:

1. Managing expectations.
“Coach Jim, you told me I could be the first baseman this game.” In our league we rotate the kids to give them exposure to all the defensive positions, but most of them clamor to play either first base or pitcher—every inning of every game. Although I appreciate the enthusiasm, these future lobbyists had me fit to be tied trying to manage all the promises I made throughout the game. Similarly, not every client news release lands on the front page or results in a national TV news segment. Sometimes they end up in right field. Work with clients to establish realistic goals at the onset of every PR project.

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