“How To Be An Ageing PR Practitioner In A Young Environment”

I must introduce this topic by stating that my original topic idea was: “How to stay abreast of ever-changing trends in the PR environment”, which evolved into “How to be an aging PR practitioner in a young environment” and has resulted in “The best professional advice that I have ever received”.

The topic organagram is possibly the result of how my week has gone, but I am of the confident opinion that workload aside, the professional advice culmination is due to an invigorating collegial exchange of ideas yesterday and my renewed enthusiasm for the collaborative advantage mindset (and reading a great article on PRdaily.com on the subject didn’t hurt).

I have been lucky enough during the course of my career to have worked and networked with, a number of true communication genius’. The one characteristic that all have shared is summarised by Henry Ward Beecher in the quote: “The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not, and never persist in trying to set people right”.

And in that vein, here is some of the best advice I have received, take it or leave it:

  1. Never stop reading. The day that you believe that you know everything about your job – that’s the day you quit.
  2. Believe in your gut. Do your research, write the strategy, but don’t ignore your gut. That lurking feeling of angst is usually your subconscious red-flagging something that will DEFINITELY happen.
  3. Be honest with your clients. They may not always like the message, but your job is to share your experience and skills, not to stay silent to please them because your suggestion means change.
  4. Don’t castigate yourself if deep down inside you question how much you know. You must ALWAYS question how much you know – it proves that you’re in touch with today.
  5. Foster and sustain relationships. Understand where you add value and where they do and take THAT forward.
  6. No matter how deadlined you may be. NEVER make a big decision in a hurry.
  7. Read and re-read every bit of writing (including emails) from the recipients perspective of “what is in this for me?”.
  8. If you are angry, go away, calm down, breathe. And no matter HOW angry you are, NEVER pick up the phone or start typing…..
  9. The client is NOT always right. If they were, what are you there for anyway?
  10. Always remember that you started somewhere too. Your team is your asset. Nurture them as such.

I must caveate above with the recognition that much of the advice has been self-moulded as I’ve gone along and is an amalgamation rather than quotation. Which, if I had to give my own advice, is exactly as it should be.