Have you ever thought about how the principles of PR can apply to your personal life?
PR theory is intuitive – give people the information they need or want to know more about you and what makes you tick. Put your best face forward. Be open and transparent. Friendships and relationships form when two people begin to really understand each other.
Recently I’ve found myself labeling some of my behavior as PR functions. It’s PR about me to my “publics” – friends, future employers, or anyone who wants to keep up with me.
For example, this blog is an unintentional PR tactic of sorts. I started the blog to talk about race results and log recipes, but all the random people who read it and commented to me about it in real life (teammates, professors, friends from out of town) made me realize it was a vital way to update these people on my goings-on. They were people I knew and enjoyed talking to, but those I wouldn’t have ordinarily had time to keep up with. The blog suddenly became a way for them to understand me better. Reaching a wider audience through an online medium isn’t a novel concept, but having it sink in personally was interesting.
But the area of my life that most closely resembles textbook PR is my role in helping host track and field recruits. Year-round, high schoolers interested in joining the track team spend a couple days on a “recruiting trip” visiting the school, checking out practice facilities, and hanging out with the team and coach. The visits play a huge role in their decision about where to attend college. Every recruit gets a designated host, but entertaining and getting to know the recruit (and sometimes their parents) is a team responsibility. As the women’s team, we handle the female recruits.
When I was a freshman and sophomore, I resented the time requirements of hosting these girls. My teammates and I had to spend a whole weekend entertaining someone who may or may not even sign here!
But this year, I started seeing recruiting as less of a burden on my time and more of a way to help.
In short, I realized I was doing some PR for the Baylor track and field team. If I had a job title, it would be “recruit relations.”
I can help my coach not to have to do all the talking. I can help my team by playing a part in getting new talent to decide to come here. I can help the recruits get to know the Baylor campus, or what a typical practice is like. On a deeper level, I can help them learn about the heart of our team and what motivates us.
Recruiting got a lot more fun this year! I started feeling ownership in the process. When I realized my hosting activity could actually affect someone’s college choice, I took pride in my responsibilities.
I haven’t always considered myself an outgoing person, but it got easier with all this recruiting practice. I can chat up girls from all backgrounds (though we at least have running in common) and even converse with their parents. From my own experiences and even my PR knowledge, I know it’s important to educate these people about my organization and make them feel understood.
It’s an honor to know I’m playing a part in young runner’s lives and their college decisions. I know it’s a big deal, because I was there once too.
Doing PR in your personal life and as a member of a group isn’t about lying or pretending to be someone you’re not. You don’t have to invent stuff to talk about. Applied PR is just openly communicating who you are and what you’re about.