There are so many things I love about this profession I’m in, no matter the winding road it took me to get here. When I first started j-school, I was a print major. That is, until I discovered something I knew absolutely nothing about but believed in wholeheartedly: public relations. As I took classes and started to really delve into what my major was all about, I came to realize the importance of building relationships within the field.
In her blog, Heather Yaxley wrote a post on small moments in PR, and how those moments can define a career. After attending an annual “Meet the PR Professionals” event she attended, Yaxley was thanked for an introduction she made to a consultancy, Automotive PR – where the grateful writer successfully undertook work experience over the summer.
She writes, “it is interesting how someone’s career can depend on such small moments – but at the heart of this connection is something that I love about PR.”
Whether we realize it or not, these small connections are vital to success in the PR profession. Yaxley goes on to state that a small percentage of invited 1st and 2nd year undergraduate students to the annual meeting actually attended, which could have seriously helped them secured a job or internship possibility, as well as provided them with ample contacts for future opportunities.
As PR practioners, we need to value the importance of being connectors. The more people we know and establish relationships with, the more successful we will inevitably be. Knowing that there is a valuable contact to call when you are in need of help is more than piece of mind, it’s healthy PR.
We need to seek out people’s trust and expertise. Yaxley’s role in helping the writer at the conference certainly didn’t have to be about an immediate exchange result for herself. But in the future, Yaxley may be able to use that contact for anything from help with a question to vital communication on a project.
“Helping others – even with no instant benefit for yourself – is essential in relationships, especially if you wish to build trust. ”
What can we do as undergraduate students to start building relationships with professionals in our field? How can we make those “little moments” memorable? Do we realize the importance of helping others and establishing trust with our relationships?