In public relations, relationships are of the highest priority. If you don’t have solid relationships, your job is extremely difficult – and, let’s face it, not all that exciting.
PR professionals were born communicators and it is vital to be able to communicate in an effective and long-lasting way. Relationships aren’t perfect. And if you are in public relations you are in an extremely difficult position, having to juggle a lot of balls and keep a lot of people happy. But it is possible and you can thrive in this area if you keep a few things in mind.
No one likes to feel like you are not trying to see the world through their eyes. Whether it’s their story angle or even noticing that they haven’t eaten and it’s lunch time; think of others, truly listen to what they’re saying, and be sensitive to their needs and you will quickly gain appreciation.
A small tip – nod.
This probably sounds insignificant and maybe a little ridiculous, but when someone is talking, looking them in the eye and nodding can make an enormous impact. The acknowledgement you are making to their statements tells them that you are listening intently and understand what they are saying.
Not everyone is reasonable but you should be. If you are fair to all parties in a difficult situation, that is all anyone can ask of you. Remember that there isn’t always a winner and a loser and often times there are gray areas. Remind your client that in order to have long-standing trustworthy relationships with the media, there must be a give and take. Being fair along the way will build those connections.
Be someone they can trust
With that in mind, be trustworthy. Don’t try to get the upper hand in a situation. By being sincere and genuine you will earn that trust.
If people are going to trust you, they have to believe you are confident in the direction you are leading them. Confidence does not mean arrogance or talking louder than everyone else, but knowing that you are making the best decisions possible and are able to back those up with thoughtful discussion.
Admit you’re wrong
Are you wrong? It is okay to admit it. You don’t have to pour out the entire story as to how everything occurred, but by stating your missteps you have an opportunity to prove your sincerity and to demonstrate your commitment to making things right.
Stand up for yourself
On the other hand, it is okay to stand up for yourself when you know you are right too. The way you handle standing up for what you believe to be best is possibly the most important way you can present who you are as a person and as a capable professional. Be bold but be considerate.
Give more than you need to
Finally, give more than necessary. Give more time, effort, compliments, sympathy, celebration and advice. When you give of yourself when it is not required, the returns come back to you.
Building relationships is not easy and they cannot be hurried. They take time and commitment but they are well worth the effort!