How can you keep calm in PR?
Date: 18 October 2012 13:20
It is not always easy working in PR. There’s a lot to do, too little time to do it in, and there can be plenty of distractions. So how do you keep sane? Rod Cartwright, director, global corporate practice at PR firm Ketchum, jokes that he’s not sure that sanity is “actually crucial to a career in PR!”.
But for those who prefer to stay grounded, Cartwright says that it is important to retain perspective: “Do not take yourself too seriously (it is PR not ER, as they say), force yourself to turn off the BlackBerry and be properly present with your family, and remember who and what you represent. It's rarely, if ever, your professional persona that is truly the most important.”
Jim Round, account manager at PR agency Midnight, agrees with Cartwright that it is important not to panic. This isn’t to say that you should never get stressed: “We all have heavy workloads and often demanding clients waiting in the wings. A certain amount of stress is good at work.” However, Round says it is important not to let demands build up, “if you let everything get on top of you it can lead to anxiety issues, which manifest themselves physically and make you ill. If you’re calm you think clearer, act faster and work better.”
Round is lucky that his agency is based in Brighton, so he is able to go for half-hour walks to the seafront at lunchtime, and he makes sure he does this every day whatever the weather: “It’s time away from the computer and relaxes my mind.”
While you are in the office, it can help if your company has the right environment. For example, Helen Jane Campbell, consultant at agency Illuminate Communications, describes how her office helps to keep her sane: “it's things like having music playing in the office, a garden to walk in on sunny days and home-cooked food for lunch that helps to keep us sane (today it's ham and leek soup).” Outside of the office, Campbell says that it helps to meet up with like-minded people at informal work events.
Five tips for dealing with PR stresses and strains
James Ash, account manager, compiled these ways to stay sane from his colleagues at PR agency Liberty:
1. Have a treat. Whether it’s sweets in the office, drinks with colleague after work, or Friday lunches with the team, making a bit of time to do something fun in the day can keep your spirits up and make you more productive.
2. Nurture your friendships in the workplace. Having a few people that aren’t just colleagues, but also friends means you receive that extra support .
3. Make sure you laugh on a regular basis. Taking a short break and having a joke with your colleagues makes you feel better and helps you to bond with others in the same boat.
4. Take time out for a walk. Even if it’s only for five minutes, then start afresh, it may help to keep the calm mood by plugging into some favourite music.
5. Take time out read the paper. It is a sober reminder that no matter how crazy it can get in PR, it is a lot crazier out there.
Written by Daney Parker