7 Life Lessons Learned in PR

By Kate Duchaney

Tomorrow marks my 120th day working at PR Agency, Matter Communications. While they may seem like the fastest four months of my life, they also have been the most valuable. Working in public relations teaches you many things, some of which are important life lessons that will serve you both in your professional career and in everyday life. Here are seven life lessons I have learned in my first job in PR.

1. If you’re going to have one exceptional trait, be reliable.
I have come to realize that it is very easy to commit to something, yet not as easy to follow through. Whether it’s a deliverable to a client, or a simple response to an urgent email, being reliable is something that people remember. To be cliché, actions truly do speak louder than words, so make your actions heard.

2. When you have something to say, say it.
The importance of participation is drilled into us from elementary school through lecture classes in college. Raise your hand, participate and provide thoughtful input, for you never know how rewarding it might be for both yourself, and your team. Participation equals engagement, which shows your team you care about the matter at hand. And if you have a question-don’t be afraid to ask it because more likely than not, the person you’re asking will have asked them before.

3. Words “matter”.
Whether you’re writing an article or drafting a twitter calendar, your word choice is very important. Your choice of verbiage can make or break the message that you’re intending to send, so choose carefully. Read and re-read what you’ve written. If you aren’t sure you’ve nailed it, have a trusted colleague review.

4. Embrace criticism.
I was told in order to work in PR you must be thick-skinned. While I’ve found this is true, I’ve honed my skills as an Account Coordinator from gathering honest feedback and being open-minded to constructive criticism. It is important to your professional development to get rid of bad habits now, so they don’t continue to haunt you in the future.

5. Have confidence in everything you do.
This is something particularly hard when you’ve just started working at a new job. It’s time to silence that voice in your head that is telling you that you will fail. As soon as I started gaining the confidence to voice my opinions in team meetings, send important reports to a client, and share work that I had written, I noticed that it came with less errors and more positive feedback.

6. People are mostly nice.
There will be days that you send out the perfect pitch and reporters come flocking, and there will be days when you receive that nasty “not interested” one-liner. I have come to notice that the generous and appreciative responses you do receive, often outweigh the bad ones. You will find that people don’t necessarily fall into the stereotype you would assume (in a good way.)

7. Having fun is important.
It’s easy to get caught up in the world of meetings and deadlines, but it is essential to take time for yourself and laugh a little. Taking a yoga class with your colleagues or going out for a coffee break with a teammate can really make a difference in your day, while improving your work and uplifting your attitude.

What’s the best life lesson you’ve learned working in PR?