Monday 23 April 2018

unPublic Relationships

Every morning, a suited-up elderly man stands by the exit of Wynyard train station selling copies of The Big Issue. Today, he smiled at me and I said “Good Morning”. At which point, he grabbed my hand and proceeded to give me a long handshake and a kiss on the cheek. He said: “God bless you, have a good day and keep smiling.”

The simple gesture left an impression and made me think about the interactions we have daily with clients, journalists, bloggers and consumers in our line of work.

Relationships form the cornerstone of what we do in public relations, and sometimes we forget that the basis of good relationships is in the quality of engagements.

Before I moved to Sydney to work two months ago, people I spoke to back home in Singapore had warned that “Australian media will be very different”. I won’t elaborate on what they said, but it was fair to say that my experience thus far has proven them wrong. I have found that while there may be some small differences, the rules are essentially the same. Be genuine, be responsive, be respectful and trust will be built over time.

1. Be Genuine

Nothing is more obvious than Donald Trump’s double combover and a person who is faking it.

2. Be Responsive

As attention spans dwindle and patience quotients decline, people can’t wait a month for a pigeon to deliver a message. And rightly so. Technology has enabled instantaneous communication, so use it. Respond in less than an hour if it’s urgent.

3. Be Respectful

Understand your subject, the person you are communicating to and why they should be interested. As a communications professional, the least you can do is to be respectful of a person’s time and interest. Don’t sell ice to an Eskimo, unless you are Donald Trump of course.

These rules hold true whether in interactions with media, clients or the social media universe we are all now a part of. As a journo recently said, “Relationships don’t replace a good pitch, but it definitely helps when someone we know and trust calls or sends an email.”

So yes, media in Australia aren’t that different from media everywhere else. They are people too! I’m glad because it means that it took me a shorter time to adjust to working in Australia. Well, aside from people not understanding my “Singaporean” acronyms like KIV (keep in view) or say DID instead of direct line. But that’s ok.

- Amanda Koh


Source: Flickr User Florian SEROUSSI