Public Relations Means Showing Up

I attend a lot of events for our public relations clients. Sure, I attend when necessary to perform specific tasks related to my work on their behalf, such as for press events and media coverage. But I also try to attend our client’s annual celebrations, and events where they are recognized.

Clients have always verbalized their appreciation when I attend these events. But recently, one person asked me: “Why did you come to this? I know how busy you are.”

To answer my client’s question, I shared with him a story from many years ago. When I was a teenager, I taught a dance class for younger kids. It was my first time as an instructor at the studio. When it came time for the kids’ recital, I was told: “Nah, you don’t need to be there.” So I did not attend the event. But the following Monday, I heard that my young students were devastated that I wasn’t there.

Did I need to be there? No. Should I have been there? Absolutely. That’s a lesson I learned the hard way once. And I never made that mistake again.

Every time I have an event that I don’t “need” to attend, but I am choosing to attend – whether it’s for a client, a family member, a colleague or friend – I always think about my experience with those young dancers, which reminds me why I’m going to each of these events.

How can we as public relations professionals, and business leaders in general, expect to relate to our stakeholders if we’re not there? One of the most important and impactful parts of a successful business, successful public relations, and successful relationships, is showing up.

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