This week, many Americans will participate in the annual tradition of joining family for Thanksgiving Dinner. Dinner will be shared with parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, siblings and in-laws. If you are putting on one of these get-togethers, dealing with the logistics of preparing the meal can sometimes be challenging, but quite rewarding.
For individuals like me who work in public relations, circumstances like this can provide valuable lessons for client interactions. Below are a few of these important lessons.
Take a Risk on Something Big
Everyone loves the comfort and tradition that surrounds Thanksgiving dinner. That being said, some of the most successful and memorable feasts are when someone takes a big risk, shakes up the status quo a bit, and brings something new to the table. Sometimes this means trying a new recipe on the turkey, gravy or stuffing, indulging in new beverage options or suggesting an exotic venue. You’re putting a lot on the line, but the reward can be that one thing that people remember. In PR, it’s important to go above and beyond the scope of work and offer something huge for the client. Every month, every quarter, or – at the very least – every year, this means being creative and thinking big. This could include a headline in a top outlet or an interview on prime-time television. Sometimes it’s an event, like a speaking opportunity at a big conference or hosting a smaller meeting. It could even range from success stories like an omnibus poll or book launch. When your client looks back on the year, they’ll remember this big win as the reason for investing in PR.
Don’t Screw up the “Bread and Butter”
It’s equally important that your low-hanging fruit are given full attention. You might receive some sympathy if your curried yams don’t turn out perfectly on your first go, but people generally expect the simpler courses like turkey, mashed potatoes and dinner rolls to be right every Thanksgiving. The same goes for client relations. Every PR professional knows the importance of the day-in, day-out “bread-and-butter” client work. This list includes tasks like media monitoring, press releases, tweeting, blogging and other relatively low-investment items. These deliverables are not always flashy, but they are critical to get right over the long run, to establish momentum with a client.
Teamwork, Teamwork, Teamwork
Preparation for Thanksgiving dinner is almost always a team job. From coordinating the location of the dinner to delegating preparation, cooking and cleaning tasks, strong team cohesion and communication is critical. This same principle applies to public relations. We are always juggling multiple tasks for multiple clients and to successfully meet or exceed deadlines means working with your team. The most successful PR ventures rely on constant communication, strong organization, willingness to learn from your teammates and participation from everyone in the group. In this fast-moving industry, no one is an island.
Don’t be Afraid to Have Fun
At the end of the day, Thanksgiving provides a great opportunity to relax, connect with friends and family, and eat some good food. You should be able to enjoy yourself during every step of the meal prep, especially when you’re in good company. It may be long and labor-intensive, but it ultimately pays off and can be quite fun. Public relations is exactly the same way. Hours sometimes seem long, but our diverse range of clients give us a wide range of exciting opportunities to work on. Between events, writing, social media and pitching, you will never be bored. And at least in my experience, PR professionals are some of the most amicable people I know. The team here at RH makes every assignment, interesting, intellectually stimulating and very enjoyable.
Can you think of any other ways that Thanksgiving dinner reminds you of your rewarding career? Please leave a comment below or tweet us @RHstrategic. We’d love to hear from you.