A year back, I was appointed as my island’s Toastmasters’ District Public Relations Manager. The role was essentially to spread the good word about the organization, its people and programs to the general public. As I am winding down to my last month of service, I realized that there were plenty of learning points that I got from holding onto the position. Here they are in no orders of importance :
- Visibility is key towards rapport (You’ve gotta be seen)
People want to know who is speaking. People want to be able to put a face to the messages they receive via emails, social media updates and text messages. They are not interested in your formal ranks/designations/appointments.
- Constant and consistent communication connects consistently (You’ve gotta be heard)
Your audience (members of your organization/public) wants to know that you are there. They want to know that your presence matters and that their presence matter too. When you indulge them with updates and reminders, they will feel that you are always on top of things. That consistent presence is assuring.
- Authenticity matters (You’ve gotta take a stand on things)
Your audience are demanding creatures. They will whine. They will question. They will complain. They will criticize. They will even instigate. It is your job to listen to them. But do you have to react to each and everyone of them? Nope. The key word here is, you need to respond to them. Without compromising your principles. (or that of the organization of course)
- Positive vibes can be felt even via just words (You’ve gotta word your words)
There is power in both the written and spoken words. It carries weight. It holds value. Choose adjectives and verbs that carry positive and inspiring connotations. You will never know when those words might uplift or destroy somebody.
- It’s all about Twitterverse (You’ve gotta respond quickly)
It’s by no chance that our audience these days have no patience for your need to reply within 3 working days, just because it seems to be the formal period granted in most circumstances. Audience these days, require instant responses. If not, they will go on a witch hunt. In an age where everything is just a tweet, sms, FB updates and Instagram post away, you must act fast. Decisively. They expect news and updates to come in as soon as it is received.
Public relations, or communication for that matter, is all about how you make someone feel. Make them feel good, and half the impression is formed.