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PR People Are Just Different

Closeup of rubber duckies

Last night at my children’s middle school graduation ceremony, I was struck by how my husband and I, both PR professionals, reacted to the evening’s speakers, who included a board of education rep and the superintendent of schools. They mumbled, they were unfocused, and they didn’t even hold their punch lines long enough for the audience to chuckle.

While others may have just been bored, we wondered, why hadn’t they been speaker-trained? Then, it dawned on me, PR people are just different. For example:

When the average person sees “New York Times” on their Caller ID, they know it’s subscription services calling, but a PR person leaps for the phone, thinking that the Times is calling about a client story!

When most people hear about an oil spill or giant product recall, they’re disgusted, or maybe just cynical, about the news. But we PR types wonder, “Which firm is handling crisis communications?”

When the typical person sees a TV news van at an event they wonder if perhaps they’ll be captured on video. The PR person feels a visceral elation that the press has arrived and has to restrain herself from jumping the producer.

Most people notice a large, splashy feature in the paper (or a funny segment at the end of the news), and they skim it…or not. The PR person analyzes the quotes and feels competitive for the rest of the day, wondering whose placement it is.

What examples do you have that show “PR people are just different?”

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