Published on April 1, 2016, at 11:30 a.m.
by Kelley Breeding.
In our everyday lives, we encounter other people who shape us, change us and make us who we are. What many people don’t realize is that learning how to grow and maintain relationships in our personal lives sets us up for the professional world of public relations. In PR, relationships with clients, journalists and other businesses are key to having a successful career.
They say first impressions are everything.
Rachel Ford, Maker’s Mark Distillery diplomat, said that many professional relationships begin organically. She attends local events where she may meet a reporter, blogger or someone in the industry who becomes a great contact for future product releases or events.
“Others stem from introductions,” Ford said. “For example: I work with an event company that is working to kick off a new event. They seem smart and have good ideas so I agree to partner with them. Through that, we work to mutually benefit each other. How can I make my contact’s event better? I learn that he is also working with a caterer who could potentially be a great customer/partner for us. He introduces us from there.”
MP&F Public Relations Account Executive Richel Albright said that when it comes to relationships with clients, she meets with them in order to understand their expectations and lay out the groundwork. She stated how it’s important to always keep in contact with clients, even if you don’t know the answer to their question at the time, because having their trust is everything.
“As for other businesses,” Albright said, “we work with a lot of outside vendors, and I’ve learned that recommending them to other clients for additional work can benefit us in the long run.
Don’t break my heart.
There are always certain things that happen in relationships that threaten their growth and survival. Ford said some of these things are broken promises and balls being dropped. She mentioned how there are constantly new people in work roles, and it’s important to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses in order to work well together.
“You may work with a reporter on your beat regularly, but then when there is a PR issue, they choose to cover it, putting your brand in a bad light,” Ford said. “But while this might be frustrating, it is just business. You can’t ask someone to not do what is best for their job, regardless of how much you work together.”
Albright stated that not communicating is the biggest thing that can ruin a relationship. For example, she said it’s important to read every email that comes through. Even though it’s tempting to skim over long emails, you shouldn’t, because you could easily miss something really important.
Putting the pieces back together.
Because missteps can happen in relationships, it’s how you react afterward that shows true strength. Especially when you are new in the PR field, mistakes will happen, but it’s important to learn from them.
Chrissy Scivique said in her article on U.S. News Money that there are six steps to repairing a professional relationship:
1. Acknowledge it.
2. Visualize the alternative.
4. Get commitment.
5. Be consistent.
6. Be proactive.
Ford said that transparency, honesty and tact were three of the most important factors in restoring relationships.
“Things are going to go wrong,” said Ford. “I find acknowledging it and agreeing to move on and dropping it work best. If there is someone at fault, and it is a good relationship, the party at fault will work toward keeping that from happening again. If not, it is time to evaluate if it is a good working relationship worth maintaining.”
Let’s take our relationship to the next level.
Starting relationships can sometimes be hard. In public relations, it’s important to maintain those relationships you make for the long run because you never know when someone or something might come in handy.
Ford and Albright both mentioned how maintaining connections is key. Ford said that you don’t want to develop a shallow relationship that is only based on your needs versus seeing how you can benefit them.
“MP&F has had clients for as long as 20 years,” Albright said. “MP&F’s motto is ‘Do Great Work. Have Fun. Make Money.’ The partners and entire staff truly believe that if we continue to provide great work and make our clients feel cared for, they will stick around.”
If you want to learn more about Chrissy Scivique’s six steps you may visit: