We're not suggesting that war in its various phases is a prerequisite for effective PR practice, but there's something about dealing with hostility that both sharpens the senses and prompts creative awareness and humility. Frank Strong, who's the PR director for Vocus and about to head back to Iraq (or wherever) for another Army deployment there, shares some thoughts on relating well under stress – maybe the only way to relate well.
Frank blogs about six behavioral sectors where he's gained invaluable insights from his military service. They apply to PR, too.:
• Engage – Like "meeting with people in the community."
• Sphere of Influence – What are the "social dynamics" of the world you're involved in? Be clear about them.
• Perspective – Connect less-than-obvious dots, thus identifying new trends and needs.
• Priorities – Frank's first sergeant has a saying, "When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority." How true! Spend the time to think them through.
• Caring for an extended community – Be clear about the true extent of your publics, all of them.
• Stay humble – We can't all wear uniforms, but we can all be humble and other-focused in whatever professional roles we have.
Read Frank's further development of these highly pertinent points. (We would add, React regularly and effectively to what's going well or poorly in a relationship.) And Godspeed, man, on returning with further insights in 2012!
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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