By Megan Hurley
PR professionals develop many skills throughout their work experience. From accurate storytelling to strong brand representation, we develop relationships that play an integral role in our careers. As I continue to move through my coursework in strategic communications and my involvement in The PRactice, I am realizing that the lessons learned are transferable to every aspect of our lives; they don’t just stop in the workplace.
In the current state of the world, relationship building, a key PR skill practiced by professionals, is one I am working on developing outside of just networking for school or jobs. Uncertain times yield anxious feelings, and one way of curbing these valid feelings is to lean on each other. Empathetic conversations can be clearing for the mind to help you have a more focused effort on the present.
Two ingredients I believe are crucial for building and maintaining any relationship are being an attentive listener and being unconditionally vulnerable.
In the digital age, we are constantly self-aware of what we are doing or saying and how to express that in a trendy way on social media. I think it is a great opportunity for positive self-expression, but at the same time, we tend to lose our interest in others around us in real life. One of the greatest gifts you can give anyone is to listen, ask questions, and engage. It seems simple, but it can be tough to get out of our own heads and be fully present with who you are with. When we listen, we walk away with a better understanding of someone which only strengthens our relationship with them. I’ll be the first to admit this is something I have to work on.
When we listen and hear others’ stories, a mutual appreciation evolves and opens an invitation to be vulnerable. Vulnerability builds trust and respect, allowing those to feel comfortable when they are around you, and you them. This is essential in authentic and genuine relationship building.
Supporting each other during these weird times is what will get us through. Cherish the people in your life, and don’t be afraid of building new relationships because there is nothing to lose.