Several weeks ago, a few members of our team joined a gym down the street from our building. We now have an office-wide competition in place to determine who exercises the most each week. The tally sheet taped to the fridge is an incentive for everyone in this office to be healthy – and its working.
Just last Wednesday, I had an appointment to spend an hour at the gym with my boss, Aaron Blank. As the President of The Fearey Group, Aaron has a strict schedule, to say the least, and making time for things like exercise can be challenging. Nevertheless, we met up that afternoon and walked across the street to the gym.
We talked about our families, colleges and interests, but mostly about current projects and what it means to practice PR in an agency. It wasn’t until about halfway through our work out that I realized how many parallels there are between fitness and the way Aaron was describing networking as a means for success in public relations.
Beginning to work out can be a challenge for the body to get on board with – It takes nearly three months before noticeable results start to take place in a person’s appearance. Most people’s fitness plan actually fizzles out several times before they reach three months of consistency. Your body is constantly sore from this new and foreign stress on its muscles and most don’t like to be uncomfortable and tired without instant gratification.
Networking can bring about the same reaction. It is not a process that usually leads to immediate results and a lot of the time we forget to do it after a while. It can be an exhausting routine to actively apply, but it’s that constant and uncompromising dedication toward building and growing relationships over time which brings results, new business and success.
You don’t benefit from exercise if you do it sporadically. Typically, most need to force themselves to go to the gym or step out for a jog. But with time, your muscles get stronger, you gain endurance and it becomes a habit. In the same way, fostering connections with industry contacts and clients is something that will only yield results when practiced consciously and consistently. After a while, it can become as natural as breathing.
Aaron summed up success in the field of public relations with just a few words in between sets at the gym. PR is all about relationships. You have to meet the right people, take advantage of every opportunity, be available when no one else is and work harder than anyone else.
I’ve been thinking about that conversation a lot over the past week. These ideas seem like commonsense, but I think that is why so many people fall short when it comes consistently building new business relationships and preserving valuable old ones. I believe this is what distinguishes successful PR agencies from average PR agencies.