This time of year, when high school and college students are graduating, the floodgates of advice seem to open up. Graduates receive unsolicited, and often unwanted, advice from their relatives, from their neighbors, from their parents, from their friends and even from strangers.
Over the years, I’ve received a lot of advice. Some good. Some bad. I’ve also given a lot of advice. (Ditto.)
Advice seems to rise from experience. Experience comes from mistakes. And Lord knows, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in 30 years, so I have LOTS of experience … and hence, advice to offer.
Here are 10 of my favorite bits of PR-related advice:
1) In PR (and in life), attitude makes ALL the difference. A person with a great attitude and limited skills beats one with great skills and a bad attitude … every time.
2) Brilliant strategy without flawless execution is like a new Lamborghini without fuel – it looks good but it isn’t going anywhere.
3) The most important tools in PR are your brain and your heart. Be smart and be passionate.
4) If you want your media pitch to be received with enthusiasm, be enthusiastic when you research your target and be enthusiastic when you pitch.
5) Despite all the new tools and technologies, good PR still comes down to relationships and trust. If you build relationships and earn trust, you’ll succeed.
6) Don’t forget to use a picture (or video) to help tell your story. Everyone “reads” pictures.
7) The best way to stand out is not to behave brashly or dress flamboyantly. The best way to stand out is to do outstanding work.
8) It’s important to really care about your work. But it’s also important not to let your work drive you crazy.
9) Always have a plan. If it doesn’t get written down, get measured and get rewarded, it won’t get done.
10) Your Mother was right: Honesty really is the best policy. The truth is powerful … and besides, it’s a lot easier to remember than lies!
Here is one final thought about advice, a quote from poet Edna St. Vincent Millay: “I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes.”
What’s the best — or worst — PR advice you’ve ever received?