It’s been a year since I began working at Matter Communications, and I could surely write a collection of novels concerning what I’ve learned.
- Vol. I – Industry News: Data Storage, Nonprofit, Photography, Publishing, Corporate Consumer, Social Media
- Vol. II – Say What? PR Lingo and Best Practices
- Vol. III – Getting to Know You: Professional and Personal Relationships
- Vol. IV – You Go Girl, Holla: Professional Growth and Success
- Vol. V – Sweet Intuition: What I Knew (Or Wish I Knew) Back Then That Helped Me Get Here
- Vol. VI – This Doesn’t Look Like Kansas Anymore: Change in Myself and Surroundings
Besides my own professional development, we’ve seen noteworthy growth here at Matter through our office renovation, the evolution of client partnerships, our collaboration with the lovely folks from Think Media and the addition of new faces – many of them young, AC blood.
On several occasions during the recent hiring process and upon the arrival of new talent, I’ve been asked what prospective PR professionals (or those entirely new to the scene) need to know when becoming a part of our Matter team. For creative, driven and competent individuals who may not have come from a directly related background (especially to recent grads), I’d like to offer a few things to think about that I hope will help light the way.
Professors to Managers
I think it’s relevant to compare PR team managers to professors. In college, you learn pretty quickly that professors vary wildly across fields of study in their teaching methods, editorial quirks, welcomed office hours and general goals for you, the student.
The preferences of Matter’s talented managers need to be considered individually as well – what works for one may not necessarily work for another. Though they all have the common goal of client success (and your professional success) in mind, the path to getting there may vary. Get to know your managers’ style and similarly direct your work. Ask questions for clarification (first to your colleagues and then to your managers), and actively listen and be observant. Learn the appropriate method and time to deliver your work, if they like you to arrive 5 minutes early to meetings, whether they like or loathe the oxford comma, bullet points and enthusiasm-laced emails (hint: observe how they address their own correspondence to you and the client) – and proceed accordingly. It will make everyone’s lives easier and happier!
Learning to read people and uniquely interact with them is a skill that will develop over time and ultimately help you across all of your accounts. The idea applies equally to your collaboration with team members, clients and the recipients of your pitches. Think about where they’re coming from and what will help them do their job best. More often than not, they’ll really appreciate your attentive consideration and end up helping you with exactly what you need.
When this becomes a regular habit, you’ll start to see things running more smoothly in all areas of your work. That’s when accomplishments start getting checked off the list – and you start noticing your own volumes of professional development filling up!