Vanessa Johnson, Account Coordinator
Passion and personality: two words that are essential in the Public Relations field. So often we forget the importance of a smile, kind gesture and ability to put a grin on someone’s face. This is what PR is all about. The concept that as a professional we are not only determined to be efficient, but also to make our clients happy. Working in the PR world has taught me that the nice guy (or gal in this case) does not always finish last and that passion, positive personality and flexibility will take me far as a professional.
What differentiates a passionate person from an indifferent person is the willingness to push one’s self knowing the client will value the work ethic. As PR professionals, nothing is more rewarding than celebrating a client and their successes. The passionate person, however, will also feel disappointed when he/she knows the client could have had a better experience. Sometimes it is okay to be upset when we don’t make a deadline or we realize we could have gotten one more registrant for an event. These emotions push us to work harder the next time we need to get a reporter on site, a new registrant at an event or a new member to join a coalition. Passion is what drives us to make a client happy.
While passion provides the drive, a positive personality can bring out the best in any situation or obstacle presented. This positivity can be seen in something as simple as a smile or even a thank you letter. We might think a smile cannot be presented over the phone. However, tone, confidence and knowledge can make any cold call so much more than just a cold call. We can entice our listener to stay engaged and listen to what we have to say. There have been so many occasions where a smile has given me the opportunity to network and welcome another professional into a conversation at an event or in the field. No one wants to talk to a “negative Nancy”.
Sometimes, however, it is hard to remain positive. We may feel as though we are in over our heads and want to forfeit the day’s work altogether. This is where flexibility comes in to play. In the world of PR, the phrase “roll with the punches” cannot be better related to what we experience in any given day. While mastering professional duties with one client may seem manageable, taking on two or even three clients at the same time can no doubt seem daunting. The flexible individual takes these responsibilities in and realizes this is the opportunity to learn something new. It could be time management, organization or even the courage to ask for help when it is needed. Mostly, the flexible professional is able to adapt to their surroundings and compose their behavior in a manner that is ready to take on more challenges by not freaking out. A flexible professional will indeed “roll with the punches”, but they will also learn in the meantime.
So, PR professionals, keep your heads up and those pearly whites showing and remember a positive attitude and smile can go a very long way. Take every day as it is comes and know that we can learn something new in the process. Try and think about how happy you are with your work and the effort you put in. But most importantly, in the words of Steve Jobs, “… the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”