PR people tend to talk a lot.
In fact, to be less polite, we can be REAL big mouths.
The more I learn about this game though, the more I realize that listening is the most important part of the profession.
Here are 4 reasons PR pros need to listen more:
- In the era of social media, tribes of people form in complex ways. You want to break into that tribe and get them to talk about you? You better know a) who’s who; b) what their norms of behaviour are; and c) what the dialect/language of the group is. You can’t learn this by talking – only by prolonged listening/observation.
- You don’t learn a thing about how you can help people by talking. PR is actually about giving before asking. And to give properly you have to observe and record the needs and wants of your targets.
- Listening has become easy and free. Yes, you can spend loads of money on media monitoring, or a myriad of social media monitoring sites, but you needn’t. There are a zillion free tools that will help you track what influencers are saying about you AND what they’re saying to each other.
- PR has a rep problem and it can be fixed with less talking. PR’s reputation problem is now a cliche. However, many elements of the overall perception can be fixed with more listening. (Think about it – PR people as spam bots, PR people as used car salesmen etc)
What do you think? Will more listening make us better AND help our rep?