building relationships

By Jacqueline Velasco

The Hoffman Agency, San Jose

Today I had two interactions with colleagues that began with their asking how my day was and vice versa. A quick 30-second conversation then led into asking for a favor on locating some data and looking over a document. Would those favors have been taken care of without the pleasantries up front? Yes, most likely – but then again – people are more inclined to help those they feel a connection with.

Rapport. It’s what is needed to be a great PR professional – and it’s not just about establishing a connection with a select group. A well-rounded PR professional balances rapport with clients, colleagues and journalists alike.

Building those deeper connections is what gets your clients those great stories. So how is it done?

Here are a few tips that I have found useful in building rapport within my community.

  • Connect on a personal level – Do your research to find out what truly interests someone – not only professionally, but also personally. After all, journalists, clients and colleagues ARE human too. And what human being do you know who only likes to talk about work? LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ can all be very helpful in getting to know someone inside and out.
  • Don’t take people for granted. We sometimes fall into the trap of reaching out to someone only when we need something. But think about it – every relationship is about give and take, and if all you are doing is taking, someone – such as a journalist– will find you to be selfish. Make time to reach out every once in a while to check in, say hello, even comment and add value to a journalist’s column when appropriate to show you care and are paying attention. A little effort goes a long way.
  • Provide value, always. Let’s face it – we are all busy creatures, and the same goes for clients and journalists who are on constant deadlines. Being the source that is always providing valuable content (and not wasting time with a story you know is not interesting) will go a long way. Pretty soon that journalist will be knocking at your door looking for more, and a client might even be referring you to one of his or her partners.

Hopefully these tips can help you to become a better PR professional and establish a good rapport with those around you.

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