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Ten Lessons I Learned from My Clients

By: Guest | June 30, 2011 | 
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Today’s guest post is written by Heather Whaling.

In PR, we spend a lot of time teaching our clients.

We teach them how to speak in sound bites or how to assimilate into online communities. We explain how blogging can help achieve business goals, or why speaking opportunities matter.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on what I can learn from my clients — both good and bad. How often do we take stock of what we can learn from them?

Ten Lessons I Learned from My Clients:

  1. Build an army of CEOs and empower them to make decisions.
  2. There are no problems, only solutions. This is brilliant advice, and one of the golden rules, at Zaarly.
  3. Don’t implement a program until you understand what resources are needed and where they’ll come from.
  4. Talk less. Do more. Rob Fisher, director of marketing at Madison Electric Products is a perfect example of this. He is viewed as one of the best in his industry; however, outside the industry many people don’t realize just how smart he is.
  5. Establish and cultivate relationships with people at all levels of the org chart — not just the ones at the top.
  6. Don’t get so caught up in the day-to-day grind that you forget to periodically take a step back to assess what’s working and what’s not.
  7. Celebrate successes. My career started in politics. Volunteers and staffers appreciated working for campaign managers who recognized “wins” and accomplishing milestones along the way. That idea should carry over to the business world, too. Don’t get so lost in the forest that you forget to celebrate successes.
  8. Know what you’re good at, and stick to that. Stop trying to be everything to everyone.
  9. While underselling and overdelivering is a good start, realistically managing expectations is even better. Sarah Evans wrote a post about managing expectations last year … good advice for us all to follow!
  10. The right action produces the right result. (<– That one’s actually from my dad, not a client, but good advice nonetheless!)

What lessons have you learned from your clients (or bosses)?

Heather Whaling is president of Geben Communications. She helps nonprofits and small businesses integrate digital and traditional communication strategies. Named one of the top 30 PR experts to follow on Twitter, Heather co-moderates the popular #pr20chat, a weekly exploration of technology’s influence on PR. You can connect with her on her blog.

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