I have a confession to make. My guilty pleasure is reality competition shows like Project Runaway, Top Chef and Amazing Race. I know I am not alone because all these shows have seen years of success and ratings. Recently, I thought working in PR is a lot like being a candidate in a reality competition: same pressures, same deadlines, same high expectations. I also noticed that there are some common skills between the candidates who do well in these shows and the ones who are successful in PR.
Here’s my take on the skills you need to be successful in PR and reality TV:
1. Be open to new ideas — Be a constant student and be open to discovering new ways of doing things. PR is always evolving and you should be too.
2. Initiative — Do more than what was asked of you. Not only will your initiative be appreciated by colleagues and clients, you will be setting a leadership example for those around you.
3. Teamwork — If you are a team player, you probably have the right attitude. You can’t be a component of a team if your only focus is to grab the limelight for yourself. Instead, be a team player by talking less, listening more and encouraging each member of your team to play up their strengths.
4. Time management — If you are late to work, late to a meeting or late with a project, you are saying a few things about yourself that are unfavorable. For one, you are saying you aren’t personally accountable or reliable and that’s not good. Two, you are saying that you don’t respect someone else’s time, also not good. Meeting deadlines is ultimately an issue of respect and trust — two things that are essential in PR.
5. Respect for others — Respect other people’s thoughts, ideas, insights and feedback and they, in turn, will respect yours.
6. Humility – Humility makes you likable and that’s helpful in any work environment. Remember PR is like fashion, “one day you’re in and the next day you’re out.”
7. Resilience – Resilience is all about sailing through the highs and the lows with a clear head and the ability to learn quickly from missteps. PR is full of highs and lows and there is nothing you can do to control that, but you can develop an attitude of resilience to get through the rough days. A healthy dose of optimism doesn’t hurt either.
8. Organization – You can’t survive in PR if you are not organized. A good rule to follow is to plan your next day before the current day ends. Tackle big priorities early in the day. Write everything down — on your electronic calendar or in a planner. Stay on top of everything. Best way to deal with the stress of PR is to stay organized. Here’s a blog I wrote that might help too: PR is Stressful, But You Don’t Have to be a Stress Monster.
9. Hard work – You can’t be a stranger to hard work if you want to work in PR. Roll up your sleeves and dive in. View each day as a blank slate and work as hard as you can — even on the days you don’t feel like it.
10. Curiosity — A curious mind indicates that you have a healthy attitude and the ability to incorporate new ideas — even when they are not your own.
A select few reality TV Shows aren’t without merit, but don’t tell my husband or he’ll roll his eyes at you too. Next time you watch a reality competition show, notice the traits of the best candidates. They may be more helpful than you thought in predicting your success in PR.
© 2012 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For digital publicity and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke.