Have you ever been on the outside of a situation and thought – “how cool is that!” without knowing the full background? I have, but I’d never considered people thinking that way about my career until I became a radio journalist and someone presumed I only worked five minutes an hour because that was when I presented the news!
“Must be such a cushy job that.” they said to my total astonishment.
So I have become very defensive of my craft, particularly when I moved into the world of Public Relations. I guess it sounded oh so very glamorous, a world filled with absolutely fabulous champagne, designer shoes and air kisses “Mwah Mwah daaahling! Must dash, lunch soon yah!”
Hmmm, can’t remember the last time I did that… I’ve done lots of standing in the cold, asking total strangers what their opinions are on strikes, public services and movie stars; and I’ve sat writing press releases at midnight because it’s been important to a client but the champagne? Well OK, maybe once or twice over the years…. if I’m honest.
When people ask me to describe what PR is – which they inevitably do because it’s not like saying you’re a hairdresser or a solicitor – I say it’s basically it’s about the ability to tell a person’s story. It’s not dissimilar to journalism in that way when you get down to the fundamentals, you are giving someone a voice. You can bet that this is the same principle for anyone, whether they’re a big business or just a resident involved in their own community.
Now here’s the crux of it… not everyone is good at telling stories. Picking out the important bits and putting them first, getting another person’s point of view across in such a way that people can relate to it, promoting people or businesses in a positive way… I’m just getting started but being a good communicator is harder than you think.
The way I see it is that you wouldn’t expect the butcher to cut your hair or the baker to do your tax return so why would you expect someone with no experience or training in that area to communicate your key messages about your business?
So think of it this way, not as Public Relations and the mythical Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley world, but as communication, whether about your business, your latest endeavour or project and what it and you can do.
At the end of the day it’s your voice, and only you can make sure that it’s being heard.
Find out more about Clare Delve and PR on her website: http://claredelve.com