You may think that the dress code of business casual to the world of pageant glitz and glam is a Miss Universe away, but it may not be as far a stretch as you think. These four tips can help you be crowned a PR professional in no time.
#1 Confidence is Everything
Whether you are strutting down the walkway or the hallway, always hold your head up high. Confidence is key in landing your dream job, as well as being successful in the world of public relations.
In order to start your reign as a PR professional, you must first impress the judges, aka your interviewer. “Research shows that, on average, interviewers reach final decisions about applicants in only four minutes after meeting them. In this time there is little more to evaluate than how you look and speak, how you carry yourself, and how you greeted the interviewer, all clear clues of your level of self-confidence,” wrote Louis Efron, writer for ‘Forbes.’
As you walk into an interview, think of your interviewer as the client. You are selling yourself, so be confident in your personal brand. If you are funny, make them laugh. If you love to talk, tell them an interesting story about yourself. But most importantly, be you. You are most confident in your own skin, so don’t try to be someone you’re not when looking for your first job.
The same principles apply when you are pitching a campaign to a client. Confidence demands the respect of a room. If you present yourself as confident, it is assumed that you are confident in your message. This in turn will only make the client more willing to listen to what you have to say.
“When someone is confident, especially in the business world, you trust them more. You believe in them because you know that they believe in themselves and that they will get the job done,” said Karey Dearden, a CPA and recruiter for Ernst & Young.
Remember, confidence is key in scoring a ten with your interviewers, and your clients.
#2 Be Transparent
Just like it is easy to spot a bad spray tan on stage, it is just as easy to spot when people are not being transparent. In public relations, it is important to be as transparent as possible. In other words, do not give something a false appearance, and tell it how it is. In public relations, honesty is the best policy.
Having integrity builds trust with the media, the public, and the client. A great example of transparency during a public relations crisis was when a young boy died of an alligator attack at a Walt Disney World resort last June.
Charlyn Lusk, managing director of Stanton Public Relations and Marketing, had this to say about how Disney managed the incident, “Disney did a number of things right: CEO Robert Iger promptly called the family of the child to offer personal condolences, Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis reportedly took the first available flight from Shanghai to deal with the crisis at home and the company issued a statement to the media offering condolences. Disney also followed up promises to post new signs and ad fencing around the water front.”
A situation that quickly turned from the happiest place on earth to the saddest place on earth could have been a public relations disaster for Walt Disney World. However, because the company was transparent about the incident and responded to the crisis swiftly, Disney was not put in a bad light because of the tragedy.
So to wrap up this beauty queen tip, always be transparent, and don’t try to cover anything up with a bad spray tan.
#3 Know your Audience
A good pageant queen knows their audience, and knows how to get the crowd involved when they are on stage. The more the audience loves them, the more the judges will too.
In public relations it is essential to know your audience. This is done through thorough research, including interviews, focus groups, and through primary and secondary research. Mark Evans, writer for ‘Forbes,’ wrote, “By clearly identifying target audiences, it becomes easier to capture someone’s attention because their needs and goals are front and centre.”
There are two main goals PR professionals want to achieve. These are to one, change perceptions and attitudes, and to two, get people to act. The only way these two goals can be achieved is to understand the audience you are trying to persuade.
One of the best in the business at knowing its target market is Nike, who is the biggest competitor in the athletic apparel department. Nike has 28 billion dollars in annual sales, and the business is still growing. This overwhelming success, according to ‘Business Insider,’ is due to the fact that Nike has narrowed its focus in on three specific demographics: Women, young athletes, and runners.
Each year Nike conducts a tremendous amount of research to target these three groups. Putting the customer first, has seemed to be Nikes best kept secret. CEO Mark Parker tells his investors, “Everything we do starts with the consumer. It’s our obsession with serving the consumer that sharpens our focus and drives our growth.”
In any business, and especially in public relations, knowing your audience and tailoring your message to fit self interests, will only make you more successful.
Win the crowd, and you’ll win the crown.
#4 Short and Concise is Key
Everyone remembers the beauty queen blunder that went viral in 2007, when Miss South Carolina couldn’t get her words out quite right.
“I believe that our, I, education like such as, uh, South Africa, and uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uhhh ,our education over here in the US should help the US, uh, should help South Africa,” she said.
In order to avoid getting tongue twisted in public relations, keep it simple and remember this three-word tip. Short and concise.
In public relations it is important to not only get your point across, but to get it across quick. Keep your message clean, clear, simple and to the point. A short and sweet answer is much better than a long and lengthy response.
Following these four tips will make you make you Queen Bee in the public relations world, and who knows, maybe you might win a crown along the way.