– This one’s dedicated to my lovely friend and ‘Friends’ superfan. Chloe Howard. Happy Birthday love! –
So i’ve been re-watching Friends (for like the 8th time now but who cares) recently and it got the brain ticking.
I think on one level or another, we can all resonate with ‘Friends’. Whether it be their emotional affairs or opinions on life – all in all it’s a pretty relatable show. But, since i’ve been re-watching it i’ve actually realised that you can learn a lot about PR from the ‘friends’ and the programme in general. Some of their life lessons really do run parallel to things you can expect when working in or with the Public Relations industry.
You might be thinking “what on earth is she on about?” and you might even be right, but hear me out at least. Here’s 5 things we can learn about PR from Friends:
Unexpected things can happen
Remember the episode where Erica gives birth to Monica and Chandler’s ‘child’? The word ‘child’ soon becomes a plural as they find out that they’re due another baby in just a few minutes. That’s like PR sometimes.
Because being current and relevant is a big part of our job, sometimes we can be working away at one thing before another task (one that we weren’t expecting at all) is thrust upon us with a matter of urgency.
I don’t work in crisis management, but Monica and Chandler’s situation is sorta like that too. A campaign or event, for example, can be running just fine one second and then be in a crisis the next. Like Monica and Chandler, you just need to know how to handle it – keep calm, be responsible and embrace the situation.
Sometimes things can get tough, but they’re always worth it in the end
Sometimes your relationship with a campaign can go a bit ‘Ross and Rachel’ on you. One minute everything is going swimmingly, the next it becomes impossible to work on. PR isn’t an easy job and from time to time you are likely to face some difficulties.
But, similarly to Ross and Rachel, it’s always worth sticking with it. The outcome is almost always guaranteed to be a great one. There’s really nothing better than seeing a an idea work well and become successful – I think if you asked any PR what the best thing about their job is, most of them would agree that it’s this.
Communication is everything
Talking of Ross and Rachel, they also teach us another important lesson of PR: communication is everything.
You’re going to be working with a lot of different people, many of whom will be from different parts of the country, perhaps even the world. So, you’re going to want to really focus on your communication and ensure that your tone is right. Always be black & white about what you want to say.
Communication isn’t always just about conversing with clients and journalists either. In fact, communication is a massive part of PR in general. How you communicate a campaign, how you tell a story, how you present a brand through words. Remember: “everything you say and do is public relations.”
So, don’t do a Ross. Make sure that everything you communicate is done so clearly and meets it’s intended purpose (don’t get fluffy with your words). There’s no room for wishy-washy discussions and poorly executed messages in Public Relations – comms is everything so make sure that you’re getting it right.
You learn some crazy stuff
All of the characters come out with some weird stuff sometimes. But something i’ve noticed is that they’re always discovering new things or embarking on new experiences. (I mean Rachel went from a coffee shop waitress to an executive at Ralph Lauren in just 10 series – what a woman).
Learning loads of new (and not always expected) things sounds a lot like Public Relations.
Not only do you learn about PR when working in PR (you never stop learning new tactics in techniques in this job – which I love), but you also learn about a whole lot more too. As The Oddessy Online nicely puts it, we’re known as ‘mini-experts’. In about a year, i’ve picked up more weird and wonderful facts and figures that i’d have ever thought. When you’re writing for lots of different clients, you need to become a bit of an expert in their industry so that you can always ensure you’re writing content that is helpful, engaging and above all – correct.
PR is always ‘there for you’
This is cheesy, I know.
But it’s true! I’ll never stop boasting this point about the PR industry. Though vast and fast-growing, it’s also incredibly close-knit and we all get along with one and other. A lot of my connections on LinkedIn and Twitter have been there to help me out and offer advice whenever i’ve sought it. Whether it be for participants in my dissertation, interviewees for my blog or even just insight that i’ve needed – there’s always a PR pro on hand to answer my prayers.
Just some of the people I have to thank in this industry (for their ongoing support and guidance) are:
- Richard Bailey
- Ella Minty
- Amanda Coleman
- Yana Miladinova
- Marcel Klebba
- Orlagh Shanks
- Conor McGrath
- Livi Wilkes
- Arianne Williams
- Sam Sparks
- Irinia Meier
- Helen Deverell
- Laura Sutherland
- Hana Bednarova
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