The People Business

It’s a people business this PR game you know! Half the time you’re selling yourself. With people, as I’m often heard muttering while looking around the office, buying people. But that also means you need a thick skin at times.

It can be tough when someone disagrees with your approach, or thinks your news ideas are a little lack lustre, but resilience is the most important ingredient for a successful career in most industries, and PR is no exception.

Understanding how people tick is well worth dedicating some time and thought to earlier on in your career – it will set you up to be a little more resilient when you have ‘one of those days’ and, believe me, you’ll have a few.

So for those that are on that journey, here is my take on few ‘standard types’ (all written in good hearted humour you understand) that might be worth considering and referring to in time….

First off is the ‘Go-Getter’. Often a number two or a recent hire, these types are ambitious and more than anything they want to show you – and everyone else – that they are. So be prepared! Be clear on your objectives, be clear on your role and why you’re there to help them look good (‘key’). Work hard to become their best friend. They could help you go places.

Then there’s the ‘Never Too Happy’. Well, some people just never are – which isn’t always a bad thing, you understand. In fact the best boss I ever worked for never fell in to this category and I never worked so hard in my life. These types really keep us on our toes (to a point… no pun intended). It’s usually a case of sticking to what you do well, working hard towards it and waiting, when it comes to this tribe. At some point, they’ll crack.

Next there’s the ‘Elusive’. These sort parachute in outlining the who, what, when, where, why and how – set it all in motion and then… wait for it… leave you to it. (Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth if you ask me!). Keep them updated and ensure you’re working as hard for them as Mr Go-Getter. Not to be underestimated these set. And always worth buying them a beer at the Christmas drinks do.

Next is the ‘Decision by Consensus’ sort. Sometimes an advantage, sometimes not. I’m talking about those that need to take decisions collectively, which means you’re constantly to-ing and fro-ing unsure about where you stand as a line of report or with the client brief. There’s often a red pen with these sorts – busy marking up for the rest of the committee to concur with. Accept it for what it is, buy yourself your time and patience – and don’t be too afraid to dictate your own deadlines. Time after all folks, is money.

And then there’s the ‘Walter Mitty’ character. My personal favourite. They see themselves running it all; sat on the BBC sofas – and for whatever reason – pictured and quoted on the front page of that holy grail ‘The Daily Mail’. Endearing, at times, The Walter Mitties of this world are often misguided though (huh, hum). So set out your stall, stick to your guns and be prepared to tell it like it is. Honesty is always the best policy (another one of my mantras…for those of you still reading).

And finally there’s the ‘PLU’ – aka the person like you. These people get you, and you get them. You’re on the same wave length. At times, a double edge sword – so be guarded – but these notice when the results are good and some may even thank you for it. Embrace these sorts, but don’t let them down. Occasionally they turn out to be lifelong friends.

And finally, most importantly of all; whatever you do, do it all with a smile and an air of humility and most of the time they’ll smile back – we do, after all, work in the service industry.