The Thanksgiving holiday is here, and if you’re anything like me, you’re getting ready to kick your feet up and think about turkey, the weather, maybe some football in the yard, and certainly that fat slice of pumpkin or apple pie. The last thing on your mind is the to-do list on your desk at the office. Yet, if you think about it, the PR skills you bring to the office all year long will serve you well as you prepare to engage in the holiday’s offerings and gorge on its treats.
I know you think I’m crazy, because you’re likely picturing how nice it’s going to be to sit down, eat a delicious meal, and drift into tryptophan land shortly afterwards. But in reality, what looms are the possibilities of kitchen fiascos, flight scheduling nightmares, burnt desserts and family time overload. How do we use what we’ve employed all year long to keep ourselves and our clients on a winning track, to make that enjoyable scene in our head play out as planned?
Check out these tips for using PR to survive your Thanksgiving holiday this year.
- Brainstorm, organize, plan, execute!
You would never run a client’s campaign without thorough preparation and planning. You should apply that same approach to your holiday, especially if you’re hosting. Hosting the big get-together is always fun,but as a wise man once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Or in the case of hosting, “With large parties comes extensive preparation.” Follow your game plan from the office, and outline how you’re going to execute the big day. Have lots of youngsters coming? An arts and crafts station, or an outdoor activity to keep them entertained – and out of the kitchen – is always a good idea. My grandpa used to rent a bounce-house every year, and it was always (and still is) my favorite. Likewise, if you have a large or diverse group of family and friends, consider surveying – send printed notes or go casual with a text – your guests for the drinks and appetizers they’d love to see. Just like you strive to learn everything about your client so you can best serve them, you want to anticipate your guests’ needs to ensure a fun and relaxing holiday for them – and yourself.
- Teamwork is a must, but so is leadership.
Ever hear the phrase, “Too many cooks in the kitchen?” I haven’t done the research, but I’m willing to bet someone coined it after a Thanksgiving “uh-oh.” We all love getting together in the kitchen and whipping up those recipes that go generations-deep, and doing it together is what makes it special. Aunt Jan knows just how to whip the sweet potatoes for Granny’s famous pie, and your brother never forgets to remind you that you shouldn’t overcook the green beans, and of course mom will have to help stuff the turkey because, well, it’s her thing. Everyone contributes in his or her own way, but getting too many cooks in the kitchen leads to disaster – or frustration at the very least. Run your kitchen like you run your client accounts: lead, but employ lots of well-organized help. We have account executives and account coordinators, and interns and executive vice presidents for a reason. When everyone performs his or her role the team functions at its best. So, Uncle Ryan can handle the turkey how he likes, and your sister can ice the cake, but like you would with your client team, keep control of your kitchen.
- Recognize when it’s time to enjoy.
And finally, if you’re anything like me, or my mom, or the large majority of Thanksgiving-fanatics, you’ve already shifted into high gear preparing for Thursday, and by the time that bird comes out of the oven, you’ll be ready for a nap. It’s often like that in the PR world — so many details to attend to in frequently compressed timeframes. While it can be overwhelming at times, it’s also what keeps it fun. And, it helps make those moments when you can sit back, reflect on your work and appreciate it that much sweeter. Thanksgiving should be no different. Holidays are bound to be stressful, and rightfully so with all we pack into them, but they’re still holidays. So, you’ve prepped every dish, served every beverage, and pulled out every chair in the house. Now, it’s time to sit down, relax, and enjoy the work you’ve put in. Dig into that turkey, have an extra piece of pie, and be happy with what you’ve accomplished alongside your team – er, I mean family. You deserve it.
By Morgan Beavers, SDI
Morgan is a senior at the University of Georgia studying public relations and English.
November 23, 2015