Now that we’ve turned the calendar into the month of October, we also are kicking off the fall season. It’s somewhat bittersweet to open the fall, as it signals the end to summer here in Newburyport, but on the plus side there isn’t much that beats a walk through the town center as the leaves are changing.
But I digress. The opening of the fall, for me, means the chance to renew a part-time job I’ve held on weekends for the last seven years as an Instant Replay Official for the Merrimack College hockey team. In the course of thinking about the obvious differences between my pursuit of PR and my pursuit of video review, I found a series of similarities that found some common ground (let’s call it a neutral zone):
• The key is in the details – Sometimes the most important guidance a client can gain is when you are able to make a recommendation based on the little things. Maybe you tried to fill a speaking role for the client with a customer that made sense geographically, but what about the customer who came to you six months ago in the same region that has some speaking experience on the circuit? In terms of instant replay, nothing ever happens the same way twice. The key is to remember the games you have worked in the past to dictate which events need to be “marked” as replay material, and which cameras capture it best. This means considering details such as what time was left on the clock when it happened, what number was stamped on the “mark” and other important factors.
• Remember where you’ve been to know where you’re going – In the PR world, a long-term memory can be very important. Remember that journalist you spoke to a year ago? It turns out you may need to pitch them again if your client wants to pursue a vertical market you hadn’t considered initially. In the realm of instant replay, it’s important to know which referee crew you’re working with: if Crew 1 called on you four times last game; then you need to “mark” events much more frequently then Crew 2 who only came to you once.
• Say what you mean and mean what you say – Public relations is a very fast-moving industry and by adding extra words or by not making yourself clear the first time, it adds unnecessary cycles to your day. In the instant replay world, fans want the call to be right, and the subsequent time you take to be minimal. This means you need to speak up when you’re on the phone (over the crowd noise) and be direct (make sure you and the referee understand each other).
And most importantly:
• The ability to multitask – The application in PR is evident every single day: prioritizing a to-do list, attending meetings, pitching media and talking to customers. As a replay official, you need to have a keen eye on the action at all times to pinpoint reviewable situations and always be ready in case a goal is scored. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to sound the goal horn when the team scores!