How to Make Friends and Influence People – in PR


PR“Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got …”

Remember the theme song from the sitcom, “Cheers”? OK, we may be dating ourselves, but that opening line sums up what it takes to succeed in any industry, including PR. Despite our best efforts as professionals, there remains the perception that PR is a career that only requires a winning smile, a great wardrobe and an ability to throw a great party.

While having those characteristics won’t hurt, in today’s competitive working world, PR and marketing professionals have to possess the same business acumen, strategic planning ability, team-building skills and financial wherewithal as their engineering, business, operations and IT counterparts – and then some.

If you want to make friends and influence people in PR, the team at Durée & Company suggests you also have the following:

Skill # 1: Soft Skills

Are you the kind of person who likes to talk to others, lead teams and change minds with grace? At Durée & Company, we spend a good part of our day listening and presenting, re-working ideas, selling concepts and managing expectations. It’s an art and a skill to get others to buy into your vision, while feeling like they were part of the process.

Skill #2: Charming Personality

The team at Durée & Company works daily to make the people we work with feel special, important and unique because, well, they are. Whether it’s an editor on deadline or a client with a new product, we are charming. To do this, we are stylish (so as not to distract them with our crazy fashions); we are attentive (their needs trump all others); and we are considerate (what’s priority to them is priority to us). Rather than say “no,” we compromise. Rather than get snippy, we take a coffee break. We also smile a lot, so that early reference to having a great smile is no joke. An unhappy PR person is sort of strange, don’t you think?

Skill #3: Organization

The epitome of a successful PR person is his or her ability to keep it all straight. One team member at Durée & Company handles no less than 10 projects in one day. The morning may begin with pitching a story idea, following up on the logistics of a grand opening, meeting a news crew and joining an organizational meeting for lunch. In the afternoon, coordinating a new pitch, a client phone conference, prepping for a presentation and drafting a news release may be on the schedule. Sound crazy? Yep. So be organized or stay home.

Skill #4: Computer Skills

You need to know how to type. There is no way to get around this. Our team sends emails, writes press releases and blog posts, proposals, advisories, letters to the editor, web copy, media advisories, white papers, award nominations, and more. Knowing your way around Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, and Microsoft Word are required. It can’t hurt to brush up on programs such as InCopy, Quark, Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop, and Web creation programs, as you might be called upon to design the thing you just wrote.

Skill #5: Communication Skills

Place yourself in these scenarios and imagine your success:

  • A client is ill and can’t make the TV appearance. They ask to you fill in because you know the information as well as they do. You’re on camera in 5-4-3-2-1.
  • A new client wants to be sold on your idea for their new company PR campaign in person. Twelve of her top advisors are sitting on the presentation. Go.
  • A news reporter for a national magazine is on deadline and needs a quote for a story about your client. Start talking.

If any of that gave you the sweats, you might want to consider a different career.

At Durée & Company, this is our crazy, spontaneous, yet well-planned, non-stop, communicative world. We make friends and influence people in new and creative ways. Joining our ranks takes everything you’ve got, believe it or not.