My Life in PR – This Much I Know, is an interview series that talks to PR professionals about their career journey and what they’ve learned along the way. In the series, guests are posed the question, ‘What are the three biggest lessons that you have learned throughout your career?’. This piece takes a look at thirty lessons that the guests of the My Life in PR series have learned over the course of their careers. Sofie Murphy encourages daring to ask for the things that you want, Alicia Solanki discusses networking and Martha Kearns explores the importance of giving a second eye to your work. Learn from the experts below.
Hilary Collins – Founder of Big Wave PR
- Whatever level you are, whoever you are, just roll up your sleeves and get stuck in.
- Bite off more than you can chew, then keep chewing.
- Never settle for second best. Place creativity, hard work and fun at the centre of everything you do.
Sofie Murphy – Global Communications & Marketing at Cinode
- The importance of surrounding yourself with people who challenge you and push you forward, especially at times of doubt (doubting your own knowledge, skills etc.).
- Always dare to ask – the worst answer you can get is just a no
- There won’t be many, but there will always be people who would mention your name in a room full of opportunities. Never underestimate them, and NEVER take them for granted. Show appreciation and be kind, always.
Adrian Brady – Chairman at Eulogy
- Be decent to people.
- Your most junior contact today could be your biggest client or your best media contact in a few years.
- Always make yourself available.
Alicia Solanki – Managing Director, Client Experience at Ketchum
- You can’t be what you can’t see – make space for progress.
- Be generous with your time – network widely. Connections really do pay back.
- Nothing ever stays the same – never stop learning about new channels, tools and platforms.
Laura Wall – Group Account Director at ThinkHouse
- Double and triple-check who you’re sending that email to.
- You often can’t control work situations. You can always control how you react.
- Always get a second and third pair of eyes on your work.
Martha Kearns – Co-Founder and Managing Director at StoryLab
- When you think your piece is finished, read it again – twice. Once for comprehension and once more for spelling, grammar and typos. (Learned from the great John Walsh when he was Education Editor at the Irish Independent and took me under his wing on the education beat.)
- Be kind. Going from a reporter to a manager and then to a company-owner, I have realised that being kind and decent to people is really the only skill you need in most positions. (As learned from the gentleman that was Dave Halloran who ran the Irish Independent newsroom with the perfect blend of professionalism and compassion.)
- There’s no such thing as a stupid question!
Graham Goodkind – Chairman and Founder at Frank PR
- Never take “no” for an answer.
- Don’t get too carried away by the highs of the job: the pitch wins, the scoops for clients, the promos etc. Try and keep on an even keel emotionally or this job can be a bit of a mental health rollercoaster.
- Always try to do the right thing and be kind. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions, particularly over years of running an agency, but do so with compassion and respect for people.
Andrew Smith – Director at Escherman
- Never make assumptions.
- Technology continues to change rapidly, but human psychology is the same as it was 10,000 years ago.
Miriam Donohoe – Head of Communications at Trócaire
- How treating everybody with courtesy and respect, and being kind and a mentor to young people pays dividends. What goes around comes around.
- While being driven and passionate about work is so important you do need to step back sometimes and remind yourself what is important. The job will be there after you.
- Upskilling and keeping on top of new trends in the media industry is important, especially in this fast moving digital media world.
Paul O’Kane – Director at Murray Group
- Whether it be journalism or PR, people are at the heart of what we do, and you have to make a proper connection. That’s one of things that has been so difficult over the past two years. Zoom and Teams are brilliant, but would you choose to try and build a proper working relationship with someone in the same city or just an hour or two away on a video call?
- Asking what seems like the most basic schoolboy question can often get you to the heart of an issue pretty quickly.
- Retain a sense of humour at all times.
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