Blog written by Cory Sealey

One thing encouraged at Arment Dietrich is taking the lessons you learn while in the office and applying them to areas of your life not broken down into billable hours.  For most of us, this usually encompasses volunteering at a local charity or non profit.  I have been lending my public relations and public affairs experience and advice to a great community center in my neighborhood.  Their annual fundraising gala was this past weekend.  At the gala, I helped with the media receiving line and made sure the center’s key messages were distributed properly. 

 Not only did we surpass our goals, but I was able to pass on some tips I have learned from my time in the PR industry to some of my non-industry colleagues.

Start with a smile – Sounds stupid, but it really works!  I have been the guests at many events where press secretaries and pr representatives have literally looked upset to be there.  You are the first point and sometimes only point of contact for the media, so remember to present an approachable persona.  You are a direct reflection of your client and event.

Know your information – Try to have the basic information about your client and event committed to memory.  This should include some of your key messaging.  Having these talking points allows you to stay on point and makes the journalist’s work much easier.  If situation allows, I always have additional information on an index card in my blazer pocket in case it’s needed.

Be available – Establish yourself as an excellent point of information.  Business cards are pretty standard, but if they are not available, be sure to offer your name, phone number, and email in case the reporter needs to follow up with you for any reason.  Be sure to get their information as well.

Close Correctly – My standard line is, “Thank you for taking time out to come to our event, you have my contact information and I will follow-up with you this week.  If you have any additional questions, please feel free to give me a call or drop me an email.”  This gives the journalist an opportunity to think of any additional ideas and gives you an excuse to build another working relationship when you make your follow-up call.

You would be surprised how easy these four things can be integrated into your daily life.  Once you start using them, they become habit and even when you are off the clock, you can still remain on target for any occasion.