Wouldn’t it be great if success was simple? And if all our clients love us no matter what we do or how we perform? How can PR people make that wish come true? It is by following a number of basic principles; because the fundamentals of success and effectiveness are the same- whether in sports or academics or business or Public Relations.
Borrowing from a number of great thinkers such as Jeff Haden, Steve Covey, Ragan’s PR Daily, Forbes as well as some personal insights, here are 10 Habits of highly professional PR people and out- standing business leaders.
1. Keep promises, no matter how small: Talk is cheap and meaningful customer relationships are built not just on promises, but in delivering on promises. As the quote goes, “All men are alike in their promises. It is in their fulﬁlment that they are different. “All PR people and service providers are great at making promises, but few are great in keeping the promises. The ability to keep promises is also what separates great brands from the rest of the pack.
2. Know how to write & tell great stories: Great PR people must learn to tell stories and present persuasively- both in writing and speaking. Stories allow your prospect to experience ownership of your service in the present moment and allow you make a personal connection with the public. Whether in press releases, company statements, agency presentations, great PR people around the world, have a mastery of words. Because facts tell, but stories sell
3. Master the art of listening: “Be slow to speak, but quick to listen.” Unfortunately for most people, including PR people, the reverse is the case! A key component of emotional intelligence is the ability to listen and catch the cues of the client. The more we listen, the better we understand and the more likable we are. As Robert Schuller remarked, “Big egos have little ears.
4. Ask questions, a lot of them: Great PR people not only question the status quo of doing things the same old way, they also ask great questions. It turns out Albert Einstein would have made a great entrepreneur: “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I would spend the ﬁrst 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than ﬁve minutes.” The same concept was ampliﬁed by the great philosopher Voltaire in his famous pronouncement- judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.
5. Take notes and stay organized: If you’re trying to delve deeper than surface level engagement, try taking notes. It might sound silly, but put some genu- ine effort into it–note-taking is an important key to keeping your mind organized and understanding better what it is you’re after. And with that, we bid adieu. If you have any habits that we’ve missed or should know about (like everyone else, we want to be more productive!), please share them with us in the comments. Meantime, check in here, for the latest tips and tricks for success. Technology such as the iPad has given us great tools for staying organized. But, it still boils down to the PR individual not the tools.
6. Do the work and put in the hours: You can be good with a little effort. You can be really good with a little more effort. But you can’t be great–at anything unless you put in an incredible amount of focused effort. Jim Collins says that’s how we move from good to great. Scratch the surface of any person with rare skills and you’ll ﬁnd a person who has put thousands of hours of effort into developing those skills. There are no shortcuts. There are no overnight successes. Everyone has heard about Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours principle, but no one follows it… except remarkably successful people. Malcolm Gladwell famous book, OUTLIERS, is a must read for all PR people.
7. Great PR people do not just ﬂow with the crowds: Conventional wisdom yields conventional results. Joining the crowd–no matter how trendy the crowd or “hot” the opportunity–is a recipe for mediocrity. ‘Remarkably successful people habitually do what other people won’t do. They go where others won’t go because there’s a lot less competition and a much greater chance for success.’
8. Begin with the end in mind: Average success is often based on setting average goals. Steven Covey explained these principles in his best selling 7 Habits of highly Effective People. Decide what you really want: to be the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the biggest, whatever. Aim for the ultimate. Decide where you want to end up. That then be- comes your goal. This can be applied to both personal goals as well as PR campaign goals.
This habit is particularly important when planning a campaign or PR pro- gram. Before you develop media target or desired outcomes, it is important to understand the overall goals of your client or brand: What do we hope this program achieves for the business or organization? Does this program help drive fundraising, increase sales, or increase overall brand awareness? Understanding the goal helps with the planning process.
9. Focus more on the outcome than output
PR people are often obsessed with out- put at the detriment of outcome or effectiveness. How many papers have carried the client’s story, how much trafﬁc is the website generating, how many Twitter or Facebook followers does the client have? And much more. These questions and a results oriented mindset are important.
But great PR people should be equally concerned about the ﬁnal outcome, not just the output or ‘column inches’ of pub- licity. Has public perception changed? Is there better understanding, greater respect and empathy? This is the outcome that should be of greater desire and demand for great top PR people.