Four Things You Can Learn from a PR Industry Election

Whether you’re a potential voter or a spectator, an industry election can be quite an eye opener from a relationship-building perspective.

Standing as a candidate to represent your industry offers a completely different perspective.

Any type of risk in life requires consideration and thought.

Standing for industry office is no different.

When I put myself forward in August as a president-elect candidate for CIPR, I had no idea what a rollercoaster ride it would be.

Here are four things I learned from the process, which I have always applied in life, but are also applicable in business.

Be Purpose Driven and Trust Your Instinct

To achieve your dream, whether it’s to be rich or thin or famous (or hopefully something much more meaningful), text books tell us to make a list and strive to achieve whatever’s on it every single day.

That’s fine if, like me, your post-it note reads “buy dinner for the kids, pay the window cleaner and get through the working day unscathed,” but it’s a bit more challenging when you’re looking to achieve grander things in life.

I have been approached for several years now to consider running in our industry election, and asked to stand as CIPR president-elect.

For me, it just wasn’t the right time; my growing family and new business had to take priority.

They were my purpose in life, but throughout, I continued to volunteer with CIPR because it was important to me.

This year, for a variety of reasons, I felt a burning desire to run in the industry election.

I felt the time was right to bring positive change to the Institute and I also had the support to do it.

Two excellent candidates stood against me.

What differentiated me was I made absolutely clear what I wanted to achieve during my three years in office.

PR Industry Election Insight #1

In life, you win if you do everything for the right reasons, at the right time, and you have a firm plan.

Make sure your heart is in it, or it’s not worth it.

Friendship vs. Respect

I recently watched a brilliant video in which a mum sat eating ice cream and explaining that all her kids hated her right now.

And she was cool with that.


Because her role was not to be their best friend, but to be respected and set them on the right path.

It’s similar story in business.

If you’re like me, being respected rather than liked (and who doesn’t want to be both?) isn’t easy, but it does mean you’re doing a decent job.

PR Industry Election Insight #2

When you stand in an industry election, it’s not going to be easy.

In fact, it’s hard, and you feel increasingly vulnerable as you step up the ladder, but moving out of your comfort zone is not a bad thing.

People may disagree with your vision, but still value your efforts.

Having your viewpoint challenged invariably leaves you in a better place.

That said, if everyone hates your plan, go back to the drawing board and reconsider your approach.

No Woman is an Island

This one is a bit obvious.

Never before have I been so open to asking for help, and increasingly so across both my home and work lives.

I regularly don’t have the answers to whatever the question is, but thankfully I know lots of people who do.

The key is knowing whom to trust.

PR Industry Election Insight #3

It’s astonishing how many people are willing to share contacts, knowledge, and general advice.

Pockets of support appeared out of nowhere during the election

People offered childcare so I could attend the live hustings

Others opened doors to different networks.

And then were those who asked what they could do generally.

It’s all there for the taking.

Important note: If you’ve been double crossed and still feel sore about it, let it go.

Learn from the experience and move on, the majority of people really do have your best interests at heart.

Life’s too short for grudges; they just hold you back.

Time Will Tell All

Now isn’t this a life truth, and equally true in business as well?

I got downhearted during the industry election when rumors about me started to fly.

Thankfully some people told me straight and I was able to address each issue through updates on my blog.

I had to rise above the crap, or risk being distracted from the job at hand.

PR Industry Election Insight #4

My partner told me to prove myself with my actions, and that there is a big difference between style and substance.

He’s absolutely right.

I’m hoping that three years from now, I can look back at my election manifesto and feel proud.

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations just announced Sarah Hall as its president-elect for 2017.

image credit: pixabay

Sarah Hall

Sarah Hall is a pioneer of best practice in the PR industry. The holder of the CIPR’s Sir Stephen Tallents Medal 2014 for exceptional achievement in public relations practice, she has established a reputation as an ethics tsar and gender and equality advocate through her work with the Institute. Author of #FuturePRoof and a regular speaker at industry events, she is a CIPR President-Elect candidate and policy director for the PRCA and ICCO. Her other voluntary commitments include acting as a Trustee for the Sunshine Fund. When she's not at work you'll find her being Mum to two small boys and walking her cocker spaniel, Madge.

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