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How Olympic-Style Training Can Make You a Better PR Pro
By: Jessica Sims
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With the 2012 Olympics in London slowly winding down (and taking summer with it), PR pros have a lot to reflect on: How did London handle the magnifying glass the world turned on it for the past few months? Did NBC really do their best with coverage (given the problems with their livestream, which were blamed on viewers)? How did the overwhelming amount of social media interaction impact how athletes and officials behaved? Something that has always fascinated me is the rigorous training schedules of Olympians and as I watched this year, I wondered: If PR were the Olympics, what would training look like? I realized there are more than a few parallels between my PR training and Lolo Jones’ training (albeit with much less sweat).

Endurance. I learned this in spades — you have to have endurance and a healthy dose of persistence to break through what I have dubbed the “journalist email trashbox of death” when pitching. It takes a strong and dedicated person to keep at it!

Strategy. I learned, a long time ago, that PR is all about strategic thinking and that it takes training. I found it very useful to sit in on meetings and phone calls (silently, of course) with my boss and clients and hearing how she hammered things out with them. Keep your eyes and ears open and ask questions — you can’t get better if you don’t learn anything new.

Speed. This is crucial; PR can move at the speed of…well, Usain Bolt, and you have to keep up; pitching needs to be done, writing and edits need to be done, and you still have to stay abreast of the latest news. That’s not counting the instances when a crisis can come up or a client wants to change directions, so stay on top of your work and remember: sometimes a sprint is necessary!

Balance. I learned to juggle so well this summer, I put in an application at Le Cirque (just kidding, I’m afraid of clowns). But seriously, a day in the life of an agency pro can seem like a big balancing act and you can bet your Gabrielle Douglas-loving bottom that it takes practice and training to learn how to effectively multitask so that everything gets done. I find that making lists and taking care of the small daily stuff between those big projects helps a lot.

I know sometimes it feels like climbing the PR ladder and getter better in your career can seem like an uphill battle (or a 1,000M race, to be more apropos), but remember, like anything else worth having, a sustainable career in PR takes time, dedication, and yep, practice. So get out there and start your training. Who knows? Maybe by the time 2016 rolls round, you’ll be the next PR Olympian.

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About the Author
Jessica Sims is an entry-level PR & Social Media enthusiast just trying to get her pitches read...follow her career exploits on her blog and on her Twitter @Jess_AsPRing. jessica.sims12@gmail.com
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