I was the stereotypical college student who was quick with a joke or to light up your smoke, (not so much anymore in PA), and yes, you guessed correctly, I bartended my way through college. It was fun, it paid the bills and I learned a few things other than just how to make a dirty martini.
While my experiences bartending made for good life lessons in general, they are also – funnily enough – applicable to the world of PR.
Drum roll, please!
1. Look Out for Your Clients Whether They Like it or Not.
While part of a bartender’s job description is to make sure everyone is having a good time, it is equally important to make sure they are safe. If that means taking away their keys and calling a cab, then so be it. The same holds true when working with PR clients. It’s our job to advise and steer them in the direction that makes the most sense for their business or organization. While they may sometimes be reluctant to implement our recommendations, they almost always thank us for them later.
2. Communication is Key!
I can’t tell you how many times I have repeated a drink order back to someone, then made and delivered the drink only to be told that it’s wrong. Granted, sometimes there is loud music playing, but being able to properly articulate what you want and how you want it is necessary in being able to deliver. In PR, clear communication is what it’s all about – and it’s vital to your success in this profession. You must be able to communicate effectively with both clients and the media to ensure you are delivering the appropriate messages.
3. Must be Able to Multitask.
While bartending, you have a number of things to remember. The guy at the end needs change for his drinks, this group of young women in the middle wants three shots of lemon drops with one kamikaze shot and you have to put in a food order for the couple sitting by the service bar – a burger, hold the top part of the bun, medium well, sub blue cheese with the lettuce, tomato and onion on a separate plate, and they want their fries extra crispy. It can get hectic, but if you are able to prioritize these tasks and aim for maximum efficiency, you can make everyone happy. It’s the same in PR; you have to get into a rhythm and make sure you prioritize a day of social media posting, press release writing, pitching and strategic planning so you don’t find yourself “in the weeds” at 2:00 p.m. and not delivering for your clients.
4. Unwinding After the Work Day
Although not surprising coming from a bartender, my favorite tip is this: have a glass of wine at the end of the day, or go to a yoga class, binge-watch your favorite show on Netflix – whatever helps you to unwind at the end of your day. It’s important to leave work at work and come in the next day refreshed and ready to take on the day with a cleared mind So pick your poison, kick off your shoes and enjoy (in moderation, of course!). You deserve it!