Good or Bad PR | How Do You Play The Part?


Stage For Caroline*, a young lady I know, getting cast in her first role in a major production was exhilarating. [*names changed, all stories true]

How exciting it would be to be act with of a professional cast of characters!

Never mind that Caroline’s role called for her to be a courtesan in a house of . . . well, you can guess. It’s not too surprising this lass, who exudes goodness, charity and wholesomeness, had trouble getting into character.

When Caroline tried on her costume for the first time, she was humiliated by her character’s excessive busty-ness.

Gone was Caroline’s desire to invite everyone she knew to see the show. So, she kept her role quiet and so did her family. No one, she hoped, knew about her part – especially the ladies at church.

Yet, it was the church ladies, 19 in all, who turned out en masse to see the play. Because they’d known Caroline since she was seven, they all recognized her.

Surprisingly, they loved the performance. And the costume? Oh, it’s all part of the play they said. No one mistook Caroline for a courtesan – even on stage her wholesomeness shone through the costume and the part.

That’s how I feel about saying I’m in PR. I know, deep down, I aspire to be a person of integrity, goodness and ethics. Although I love promotion, you will never find me exposing my clients in inappropriate ways in places they should never be seen.

But, for some, PR people have reputations that clash with my core values.

Recently a friend introduced me to Nick* at a networking event as a PR person.

When he heard those two letters, Nick almost spat at me: “I hate PR people!”

“But, Barbara’s a good PR person,” my friend countered.

“As if there is such a thing,” Nick’s disgusted expression seemed to say.

Although my instinct was to walk away-fast, instead I asked Nick why PR people were so awful. After hearing Nick’s story, I saw why he felt that way: his clients paid for a pricey retainer and got no real results.

I couldn’t get Nick’s reaction out of my mind and came home that night vowing to change the name of my blog and my orientation.

Because my work goes much deeper than any two character title, I kept everything as is, but I did use this interchange as a learning opportunity and a prompt to change my introduction from a line of work to a results-oriented resource.

Whether you love, like, dislike, could care less or hate PR people, the truth is: I am a public relations person and so are you. Every action we take reflects our public persona.

Do you look beyond titles, characterizations and costumes to find the real person within? How do know when you’re working with someone you know, like and trust?

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