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Saturday, July 7, 2012

How to survive a job in public relations...

Public relations: definition~1. the actions of a corporation, store, government, or individual, in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc. 2. the art, technique, or profession of promoting such goodwill.

The juggling act
Public relations can be daunting, especially when you are such a busy person. You probably have so many things to do at the same time you're even reading this article, let alone doing your job. And yet, you're taking the time to read it, because it might help you in some way. I hope it does.

In dealing with the public, we are putting ourselves on the line every day. It takes a spirit of courage to even try to do it, because there are so many different types of people that we serve. So many different personalities we face, and possible problems that could arise.

Multi-tasking, I've found, is not a friend to PR. It divides our focus, so that we aren't able to concentrate on helping people. On actually listening to them. And solving potential problems, or actual problems they are asking us to solve. It makes you less intelligent than you really are, especially in a social sense. And PR is social at the very core.

Ways to facilitate good PR practices

Customer surveys
Social media
Customer reviews
Store meetings
Special events
Shared community projects (community relations)

Community service

Understanding people is vital to good public relations. That we are all part of an extended community, and have a responsibility to help each other. To make things better for each other. Understanding that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. PR should focus on ways to improve experiences for the community. Ways to make it better. At times, you might be part of a larger PR campaign to improve relations and collaboration between your company and other neighborhood businesses. i.e. other businesses that share the same mall or space. The same block. You might be included in projects to make the customer experience better and the area safer for customers and employees. All of this is part of PR.

When things go awry

Customer complaints. Fingernails on a chalk board? Okay. Take a deep breath, because you can't make everyone like you. But you surely can control how you and your company are perceived. You CAN control how that customer feels about you and your handling of them when they walk away. Even if you feel that they were wrong. How you handle a difficult or unhappy customer can make or break your company's PR efforts.

And remember,  it's the little things that matter. A kind word goes a long way. Gestures of good will,  no matter how small, can make the difference in whether or not you become known for providing quality customer experiences. Good PR is a skill that can be learned. And remember, there is the customer's side, then there's your company's and your employees side. And a good mediator is one who is able to find a middle ground. Under which is truth and resolution.

Outwit outplay outlast

PR can sometimes feel like a game of survivor. There are so many things to balance. But at this tribal council, the best way to stay in the game is to think ahead. To really trouble shoot before anyone starts to get remotely upset. If you think there's even a slight possibility you've bothered someone by something you've done, apologize. Make them smile. Say something that will lighten their heart. To make their day better. That's how you want them to remember you and your company, when all is said and done. That you made their burden lighter, and solved their problem. 

Thanks for stopping by...CC

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