PR Life Lesson # 94 (I know, I’m sorry there’s no quippy title this week… But this is a good lesson so read the entry anyways)
I was in Media Relations yesterday and Professor Jeanette Drake brought up a simple but important point. She said that in order to be successful public relations professionals, we must have good manners.
Now I realize being polite/professional at work is common sense. But people still chose to ignore proper etiquette all the time. Alright here’s the “so what?” This is important because besides being annoying, poor manners can be detrimental to a public relations career. This industry is about interacting with people and building relationships. It is obviously more difficult to build a positive relationship with someone you find rude or inconsiderate. I know in college manners isn’t exactly a pressing issue, but in the “real world” clients and other professionals will evaluate you based on them.
1. Use those golden phrases your mother taught you! Always say “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me” and “you’re welcome.” Use titles of respect (Mr., Mrs., Miss., etc.) to address others.
2. If you are meeting someone new– make the extra effort. Introduce yourself and shake their hand firmly.
3. Pay attention when people talk. Actually listen to what they are saying! Ask questions and be engaged in the conversation.
4. Extend a helping hand. This can be a simple as holding or door for someone. If you see someone struggling with a task offer them help.
This is obviously a very short list. There are lots of other areas of manners/etiquette to consider (for example appropriate dress or polite conversation topics). Most of the time I’ve found if you use common sense it is easy to be polite. (But then again my mom drilled manners into my head since birth.) And if you are unsure just ask a professor or polite classmate.
Bottom line– manners are well worth the effort!