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The Value of Conversation

January 20, 2009

talking

Communication. It’s something we do everyday, from the “Hi” we say to the Starbucks person to the endless meetings at work and hanging out with friends afterward. But, when was the last time you really talked with someone?

I think communication in general is something that people take for granted. They don’t think that their words have impact, so they don’t take the time to get to know someone.  I do it too – I jot off an email not even really thinking about what someone said. To them, it might be pretty important, and that should make us value it slightly more. That right there – the first impression is the building foundation of a relationship. And, in PR, relationships are one of the most important concepts. I never know who will play a bigger role in my life, professionally and personally. I value the people I encounter – and valuing relationships is a #1 priority for me as a PR professional.

In the field of communications, we have to be on our “A” game 24/7. Sure, sometimes we have slip ups and say the wrong thing. We pitch the press constantly or talk to members when they have questions – when it becomes habit, that’s when the mistakes happen. If we really listen to the person, I think thats the first step in changing the habit. True, it might be boring to you or not seem important, but it will have an impact.

 I’ve always been the type of person who can have a conversation with anyone and make them feel comfortable in 10 seconds flat. It doesn’t mean that I don’t occasionally slip up, or make a mistake, and not know what I’m doing.  But maybe if I’m aware of what people are really saying – reading their body language, reactions and understanding a point – I can improve. 

Do you ignore your phone? The mentality of “I will call them back in a few” transpires through society like the latest fashion trend. Do we stop to think, though, what the other person is thinking? Prompt response is valued from both the media and others that I have “built relationships” with – I have a 24 hour rule when responding to personal emails, 2 when it comes to work emails (if I’m at work) and I always return phone calls within the day. The 24 hours gives me enough time to deal with anything that might be considered more important, with also taking others feelings into consideration. Maybe I’m just a nice person like that – but I’ve found its highly valued in a field where I am constantly talking to members and those of the media.

So, when was the last time you talked to someone?

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