Monday, September 7, 2009

You Think You're Not Doing PR?...Think Again!

For those of you who believe you're not doing public relations...for those who think you HIRE people to do public relations, here's a story for you:

A few weeks ago, in a neighborhood close to Denver that will remain nameless, I had two not-so-great experiences in a period of only five minutes that helped me form a powerfully negative opinion about that neighborhood at the speed of light. As I was walking down the sidewalk past some business buildings, two women headed toward me, chatting with each other. They did not do anything to give me space to walk by; they simply took up the entire breadth of the sidewalk, forcing me to step down into the access road to the parking lot. Pretty rude, I thought--I had to look both ways to make sure no cars were coming before I stepped down--but then I let the matter drop.

Just a few minutes later, though, I was leaving a branch of the Wells Fargo Bank, I saw a father with two children coming up behind me to leave as well. I held the door; the two kids walked through, no big deal, and then so did the father, not touching the door to take responsibility for it, not thanking me, not even LOOKING at me, as he came through, slowly ushering his kids along.

If it had been just one bad incident, those would have been some rude people. But then another one happened shortly thereafter, and my opinion of the neighborhood just plummeted. I guess these are the kinds of people who live here, I thought. And I've shared that story with other friends, ensuring they have some negative association with that neighborhood now, as well.

Your actions have an impact on those around you and on the opinions they form; you represent where you are and what you do. In this simple way, there is no such thing as a PR practitioner; whenever you interact with leave an impression. You are always doing public relations.