Many who have considered public relations as a career path have also looked at International Relations. These two subjects find a happy medium in international PR. Working in international PR, however, requires that the professional take a variety of other aspects into consideration, whether they’re working in-house for an international company, or an agency with a variety of international accounts. Consider the following:
- Language barrier: Though anyone studying communication should be proficient in at least another language, International public relations calls for a fluency, or at least a deep understanding of the language with which you want to work. Inflections, colloquialisms, and idioms are all aspects of language that may help the client build a more effective connection.
- Culture: There are certain gifts and gestures that may be considered highly offensive to your client, for example, and that is why understanding the culture you are doing business within is key to building strong relationships with these clients.
- Location: Understanding the influences from the surrounding countries can be important in building campaigns for certain sectors of the country.
- Competition: With respect to the rest of the world, where does your client stand in PR? How developed is their history? And with respect to their neighboring countries, where do they rank? Do your homework before getting involved with representing a foreign account; it will help design programs that might take the world by surprise, exceed expectations, or improve and mature the PR sector of any international account.
Whether you choose to specialize in international public relations or work in an agency in which international clients are abundant, be familiar in these practices. Other ways to prepare yourself for an international account include studying abroad, or taking anthropology/sociology/psychology classes that focus on other cultures, to better understand your clients and their vision to communicate effectively with their audiences.
Last week, Cameron McCurdy hosted a free workshop on campus entitled How to Make a Good First Impression Every Time. During this workshop, we got great tips from McCurdy, who is Dale Carnegie Training’s Marketing Coordinator.
For those who would love to further their knowledge on how to interact effectively with anyone from potential employers to clients, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is a great source. For some, this might be required reading in an introductory public relations course, but I can assure you it is everything but boring. Carnegie uses candied language to portray techniques that are useful when you want to make a good first impression, keep people engaged, and communicate with people in the most productive manner.
The book is divided into various principles by which every Public Relations practitioner should live by. He poses possible scenarios, and uses humorous vocabulary and anecdotes to captivate you and get you to fully understand how humans can react depending on the way you speak to them. The book includes “Six Ways to Make People Like You,” “Win People to Your Way of Thinking,” and “Fundamental Techniques of Handling People.”
Carnegie himself wrote this book as a self-help novel for people over three quarters of a century ago. It goes to show that humans are the same at their core, despite their culture or technological differences from the past. This book, and the workshop given by Mr. Cameron McCurdy, are both ways in which we can learn these techniques, and truly connect with whoever we come across, regardless of the situation. And believe me, with its various checklists and hilarious stories, Carnegie makes this a fun read. It might seem like common sense at first, but there’s nothing like understanding the importance of subtleties… Everything from how important it is to remember people’s names to the value of encouragement.
Thanks again to Mr. McCurdy for taking the time to share these tips, and to Mr. Dale Carnegie for the amazing novel. Whether you went to the workshop, read the book, you’re well on your way to becoming an effective communicator…
And if you have yet to pick up this amazing manual… What are you waiting for?
There’s nothing like a strong outlook and confidence to get you through that first interview with a professional. You might be wearing a pressed suit, have an extra copy of your résumé, and a positive attitude, but those are only a few of the components you need to make a good first impression on your prospective boss.
Do your research. If you’re going into a Public Relations firm, do your research on their accounts. Knowing a little client history doesn’t hurt. If you’re working in-house, the same rules apply – look at the company website, Facebook page and social media outlets, Google the company and see what articles come up. Know them, because the interviewer might ask you if you’ve even looked at their page, but knowing something, or commenting on an article you read or a publication they released, let’s them know that you’re genuinely interested in joining their team.
Dress appropriately. Establish yourself as a serious, professional Public Relations pre-professional by dressing appropriately. Gentlemen, slacks and a nicely ironed shirt, and ladies, a dress or skirt, or pants with a crisp shirt goes a long way. Present yourself as you would your work: clean, thought out, and free of anything that might be misinterpreted. Because remember from an earlier post, you are what you wear.
Have a strong handshake. This is a sign of the type of person you might be. There are seminars, and even classes, on how to perform the proper handshake, and though they are primarily business/MBA targeted classes, they apply to any sort of professional. PR is a business. Rules apply. Be firm, not harsh, and let your interviewer know you’re confident.
Make eye contact. Everything from fear to confidence is shown through your eyes. Don’t waver. Don’t stare them down either. When you’re addressing them, look them in the eyes. Accompany this with a strong voice, and you’ll have made a great first impression.
Breathe. Stopping to think before you answer a question or make a comment does not mean that you do not know what you’re talking about. If you need time to collect your thoughts before you address your interviewer, do so. Pause. You are communicating, and like every conversation, you need to breathe. Truly converse, because as formal as you believe the situation might be, at the end of the day, you’re communicating a love for PR, and most importantly, why you are the ideal candidate for the position. So relax. Be confident. But relax.
First impressions can make or break you. Your employer is aware that yes, you might be nervous, but they definitely expect you to carry yourself with your head held high. So prepare before hand, and throughout the course of the first meeting, whether it’s an interview or a conference or any other instance where you’re encountering a future employer for the first time, remember that you can do it. Be confident, and you’ll be successful.