There’s something about having the nuances of your daily routine recognized that makes you feel validated and understood. Regardless of who your support system is, there is almost always the one constant that your colleagues will understand the ups and downs of your job unlike others – especially in PR. In that, there is a sense of a community and comradery. I think that’s why we loved the Ragan’s PR Daily’s “53 signs you work in public relations” post so much.
But despite this understanding, we all have loved ones in our lives – loved ones that get to experience a lot of this crazy world we call PR. So to this end, and in honor of Valentine’s Day, I have developed my own list: “Five Signs You Know a PR Person is in Your Life.” I’ve also included a few “tips” to help with navigating (dealing with) these quirky communicators. Read Full List After the Jump.
1. You tell the PR professional in your life that you need to be somewhere a half an hour (at least) before you need to be there, to avoid the inevitable, “I’m just finishing up one email/memo/press release and will be right there.”
Tip: While this in and of itself is brilliant, you’ll find that thirty minutes sometimes isn’t enough. Give your loved one an option to drive separately and meet you later if that’s possible. If you have something time sensitive like tickets to a show, make sure that expectation/timeline is known. But also be flexible when you can and travel with snacks - you’re probably going to push back that dinner reservation.
2.Your loved one regularly checks their phone at dinner, while watching TV together or in the middle of a conversation saying, “let me just see if this is a fire drill” or “shoot it’s a reporter on deadline.”
Tip: You might be accustomed to this, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother you right? So set boundaries that you both can be comfortable with. No phones at the dinner, but during The Bachelor is fine
3. You start wondering when you see news segments or read newspaper articles if there was a PR person involved. You may even start asking, “Why weren’t we in that story?!”
Tip: Share that with your loved one. Actively participating in their work is never a bad thing and they’ll love the opportunity to talk shop. They may even ask you draft their next pitch!
4. You’re loved one’s clients’ become household names and you find yourself completing your own “media scans,” watching for when they are in the news.
Tip: You might be helping your loved one do their job if you spot a reference before they have seen it or (gasp) overlooked. But that’s not a bad thing. They’ll of course appreciate the team support. You never know, they might have been responsible for the story you just saw and in that case, a pat on the back can go a long way. Because our work often requires us to be “ghost writers,” it’s nice to be recognized by people outside of the work setting.
5. You speak in sound bites to keep the attention of your loved one (who has an insane tendency to multitask). E.g. you wish they wouldn’t text/email while speaking to you on the phone, keep all phone calls on speaker while they make dinner/wash dishes/grab coffee/pay for their groceries.
Tip: Be patient. This is just one of the things that go with the territory of PR – especially with us agency folk. If your loved one seems distracted, it’s almost certainly not intentional. A gentle reminder to bring them back to reality is helpful, but so is an understanding of the sometimes distracting elements of the job.
Bonus: I know this is a top-five list, but who doesn’t love that “bonus track?” You have to actively listen and concentrate on what you’re loved one is saying, or risk being lost in a sea of jargon.
Tip: Whether they are running it up the flagpole, circling back, bringing a best in breed idea to the table, leveraging, getting to the net net, or peeling back the onion before they go offline and are out of pocket, the jargon is endless. I’m not sure there is really a solution here, other than to nod and then say, “Now in English please.”
So on behalf of PRs everywhere, to our loved ones we say: We couldn’t do what we do without you. And while you didn’t sign-up for the mania of the media relations world, we love you because you help us, support us and make us better by being part of it. We may spend more time at work than at home but finding ways to integrate you into our work makes our days that much more enjoyable. Happy Valentine’s Day and thank you!
Have more tell tale signs and tips? Leave them in the comments section and invite the important people in your life to read and share!