…well maybe not the part where you learn to speak and write English properly, but I did pick-up a lot of useful life skills growing up in Brooklyn, New York, that have helped me in my public relations career. I guess we all gather life lessons as we make our way in this world, here’s a few of mine:
Patience is necessary: You need to be patient if you are making your way around Brooklyn – there’s a lot of waiting to be done: waiting for public transportation (the bus or subway to arrive); waiting to cross the street on the green light (yes, lots of people don’t wait for the green – but that can be dangerous on busy city streets); waiting in checkout lines at stores – for everything (there are over 2,500,000 people living in Brooklyn and they always seemed to be shopping on the same day I was shopping!). It’s just part of living in a big city, and if you can relax and enjoy it (most of the time) you’ll have a better, happier day – and you’ll find that those around you will respond in a positive way, too (most of the time – this is Brooklyn, after all!).
As a PR specialist, patience is crucial to dealing successfully with client projects. I devote as much time as necessary to each client’s project, making sure that everything is carefully and properly executed. If I take the time at the beginning of a project to cover all the details, there is less chance of any mistakes occurring. So rather than “rushing” through a project just to get it done, I take the time and “patience” necessary to get it done right the first time.
Project Confidence: Sure living in a big city can be hectic at times – everyone moving very quickly, giving the impression of masses of people trying to get to the same place at the same time. And, yes, there can be evil lurking around a corner or down a deserted street. But you need to move ahead confidently to wherever it is you are ahead towards. (I learned this when I had to take a bus and subway to high school at the age of 13 – in a neighborhood quite far from where I lived.)
The world of PR can also be challenging at times. A client can be nervous about starting a new marketing program; a media outlet might ask for more information on an article they have accepted for publication; a client might have a crisis that needs to be addressed – immediately! Handling these challenges in a confident manner, with my experience to guide me, puts everyone at ease and erases any “fearful” moments – for me and my clients.
Friendliness Counts: Admittedly, it can seem that people living in a large city are not very “friendly.” Everyone appears to be engrossed in their own thoughts as they move about from their homes to the bus or subway, and then to an office, school or store. It takes concentration to move efficiently from one place to the next while maneuvering among throngs of people and traffic jams. But a quick “Good Morning” to the bagel store owner and a “Good Day” to the subway conductor usually elicits an equally friendly comment. Living in the city means you are interacting with the “public” every day. And it just takes a moment to spread good cheer.
Public relations activities are the ultimate “public” interaction! Every day whether through emails, social media or phone calls, my “friendliness” is an important part of my interactions. A bright “Hello” on a phone call and an inquiry as to the “well-being” of my client, makes every interaction pleasant, even during calls when problems must be discussed. Similarly, “friendliness” can be conveyed in an email, by using words such as “Hi,” “Hope you are having a good day,” and “Thank you.” While these phrases might sound like clichés, they still convey meaning and sincerity. And they work for me.
Even though I live in New Jersey now, my life lessons from growing up in Brooklyn have helped me to carve out a successful career in public relations.
Or, as they say in Brooklyn – “Fuhgeddaboudit!”