Image from Donnie Ray Jones used under CC license.
PR has a lot of relatable skills that can be used in numerous situations. Patience, persuasiveness and great intuition are just some of the talents that a PR professional needs to be successful in this industry. As a first-time mom, I’ve noticed that a lot of the PR skills I’ve developed over the years have become truly helpful in navigating the ever-changing landscape known as parenting.
My daughter turns one next month – yes, it’s true what everyone says, it does go by fast, really fast – and looking back over the past year, I’ve found that I’ve relied on these skills a lot to handle the ups and downs of raising a child. There are more similarities between the skill set of good PR practitioners and parents than one might expect and these are just a few from my experience:
- Crisis Communications – Messes happen. Whether it’s handling a crying fit in a store or dealing with a negative headline. PR pros are trained to keep a cool head when thrown into a crisis and to take things in stride. The same goes for being a parent – you’re not going to calm a child down if you react rashly. It’s like the old adage, “cooler heads will prevail” – getting frazzled only makes the situation worse.
- Developing a Thick Skin – I’ve had toys and food thrown at me but I’ve learned not to take it to heart. Even as a PR pro, you will encounter criticism from a client or a reporter. Rejection is just part of the process and learning to keep things in perspective will make it easier – well, that and an occasional glass of wine.
- Flexibility – The PR industry has long days just like being a parent and you have to roll with the punches. Deadlines shift, messaging changes, and an event you’ve been planning for months can get cancelled at the last minute. I’d have to say this skill has been a lifesaver during the first year. Reminding myself to take it day-by-day, not only helped me keep my head on straight, but it also allowed me to enjoy time with my daughter since I wasn’t so fixated on making sure her schedule was exact.
- Thinking Outside of the Box – Being creative is the life force at a PR agency – we’re always thinking of new ways to tell our client’s story. At PAN Communications, we pride ourselves in developing innovative ways to showcase our clients. This also is a very important skill when you need to distract your child when they’re on the verge of a meltdown at the checkout counter and you don’t have their favorite toy with you.
- Detail-Orientated – PR communications is all about the details and knowing all about the client, their industry and the media. Knowing that one little detail about a reporter can sometimes make or break landing an exclusive interview so you have to be prepared. Being very detail-orientated, it was funny to find myself packing my daughter’s diaper bag with literally everything she would need (much to my husband’s annoyance) while we were out of the house – even if it were for a quick trip to the grocery store. I had to be prepared for any situation and I wanted to ensure that our trip would be a success.
Who knew that having a job in public relations could play a big role in becoming a parent? If you’re a PR parent, I’d love to hear what other skills have helped you at home. Share in the comments below!