For a public relations professional, however, this mistake can pose problems far greater than pure embarrassment. The way PR practitioners say things can sometimes be the deciding factor between pitching a good story and a bad story, and can even be the deciding factor between snagging a client and, well, not snagging a client.
Here is a list of common PR no-no’s, things that public relations professionals should never, ever say if they want to get a client, keep their client or even keep their job.
1) Being a PR professional is all about being creative and different. We want to stand out above the rest, which is why there are certain things that should never be uttered by someone in a PR interview. For instance, when the interviewer asks, “Why do you want to work in public relations?” do not say “I like to talk to people.” That is such a typical, plain response and it has no substance. Yes, a PR person needs to be able to talk to people, but don’t give that as your main reason for why you want to work in the field.
2) When you want to find out more about what people do, don’t ever say “I’d like to pick your brain.” It seems to be a common thing to say, but some professionals view it as disrespectful. Instead, say “I’d like to ask you if…” or just simply ask the question.
3) The rule usually goes, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all.” This is a great rule, but at some point everyone has something negative brewing in their vocal chords. Bad days do exist in this business, after all. As a PR professional, however, be careful what you say, when you say it and who you say it to. If you have a particularly unpleasant client and you need to vent to someone, be careful who you talk to. Honestly, it’s probably best just to talk to a friend or someone who is completely outside of the work circle when it comes to work drama. You never know who may be listening. Also, on a side note, beware of the “reply all” button on e-mails. There have been situations where PR professionals have said nasty things about past clients over e-mail, and the client ended up on the “reply all” list. Oops!
4) Before pitching a story, whether you are pitching it to an influential online blogger or to a television station, proofread, proofread and proofread again! Grammatical sloppiness and spelling errors will ruin your credibility. Also, if you are pitching a story to a blogger or someone whose publication runs on specific topics, make sure you know what the topic of the publication is! If you send out a press release about a subject that doesn’t even relate to the publication’s theme, it will be clear that you didn’t do your research.
5) Finally, don’t ever refuse to apologize if you know you are responsible for some sort of wrong-doing. Sometimes, you just have to step up and be the bigger person. For PR firms, image is everything. If you are responsible for doing something to compromise that image, then it would make sense to own up to your mistake. Saying “I’m sorry” will never go out of style.
Written by: Anete Millers