Everything I need to know to be a successful publicist, I learned from my rescue dogs, Oscar and Lilou. Don’t believe me? Just ask George Regan, CEO of Regan Communications Group and renowned animal lover; he will surely attribute his great success to the lessons he learned from his beloved pooches. Below, please find a few Lessons in Public Relations, courtesy of my canine companions:
1. Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
I have two rescue dogs: Oscar, a fluffy, 15-lb.shih-tzu and Lilou, a scar-ridden pit-bull saved from a dog fighting operation. You may be shocked to learn which one is more likely to bare its teeth in anger and which will attack you…with kisses. Hint: my pit-bull wears a tutu. One of the greatest mistakes we can make as public relations/marketing practitioners is jumping to conclusions based solely on appearances. All too often, the “little guy” – an individual or company that isn’t well known or doesn’t have a lot of money to spend – is overlooked or brushed off. You may not see the value in the “little guy” right away, but over time, you could. It is our job to find that diamond in the rough.
2. Every Day is a New Beginning
Dogs don’t hold grudges from last year, or even yesterday; they wake up every morning with a renewed sense of adventure and good spirit. In media relations, we win some and we lose some. A reporter didn’t feature your client in his front-page story, as promised? Instead of stewing over the situation, take some time to regroup and approach him again with an even better story angle. Living in the past limits your potential for the future.
3. Patience Pays Off
My dogs will sit perfectly still while watching me scurry around the kitchen, willing me to drop a piece of food. They know that if they sit there long enough, I’ll eventually cave. As public relations professionals, it’s important to be assertive, but never overzealous. Good things come to those who wait for the perfect moment to execute a plan.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Leave the Yard
One of my greatest joys in life is seeing my dogs’ collective reaction to my daily question: “Do you want to go for a walk?” They appreciate taking a break from the routine and going outside of their comfort zone to explore the world. This is a crucial lesson for public relations professionals, as we tend to remain chained to our desks to get our work done. The greatest marketing and PR campaigns come from publicists who are willing to put themselves out there, explore and uncover unique opportunities. Remember: if you’re too scared to leave the yard, you’ll never get to play in the good parks.
5. Greet Strangers As If They’re Old Friends
My dogs assume that everyone they meet wants to be their friend, particularly Lilou, whose tail starts wagging until the other person is close enough to be slobbered in kisses. I don’t recommend kissing complete strangers, but I do ask you to question your approach to people you don’t know. Do you avert your eyes to avoid conversation? Instead of being wary of strangers, reach out to them with a genuine enthusiasm; every person you meet should be viewed as a potential client or someone who can connect you to a client some day.
6. Always, Always Serve Snacks
After many valiant attempts at training my dogs without food rewards, I finally realized that no one, regardless of species, works for free. And let’s face it, everybody (and everypawdy) loves snacks. Ample refreshments for a media event or hospitality promotion are a MUST, or you could be left with very disgruntled and hungry guests.
– Shana Mancinho, Team Teleia