Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. You should let the people around you, who mean the most, know that your journey would not be the same if they were not a part of your work or your life. At the same time, you can take your thankfulness to a whole new level, by going one step further. You can show your appreciation. If you’re in PR and communications, here are five quick and easy ways to show your colleagues, peers and industry professionals that you’re thankful. You can let them know you want to make a difference for them and because of everything they’ve done to help you.
- Mentoring. Of course, mentoring is at the top of my list. After 28 years, I know my time will be well spent giving back. Even just a little time each week to share thoughts with a student via Twitter or to schedule a Skype “coffee” chat is a fantastic way to show thanks. You’re investing in the future of your industry. At the same time one of the best parts of mentoring, whether you realize it or not, is the reverse mentoring that takes place. Younger professionals have so much to share with you. I remember sitting with a college student at a local Starbucks. She was asking me about different careers in PR … what type of PR would suit her best and whether she should pursue agency or in-house communications work. As we began to chat about brands being immersed in tech and attracting the best talent, I found myself jotting down some notes. She was sharing an interesting perspective on the brands getting it right on Snapchat and which ones were not. Mentoring is a two-way street and win-win for everyone involved.
- Industry Associations. To show thanks to your industry, don’t just join an Industry association, be more active in their local, regional and national events. When you do, you can fully tap into industry updates and learning, as well as take advantage of the great networking opportunities with your peers. I look forward to the PRSA International Conference every year for so many reasons. I’m able to catch up on what’s new in technology by walking through the exhibit hall. I’ll sit in on keynotes and sessions to get the updates on pressing topics including measurement, diversity in communications, data and creative storytelling, etc. But, my favorite part is meeting up with friends to find out what’s going on in their world. I learn more about their work and we help each other achieve our career goals. There are so many ways to get involved in associations from events to the networking and the sharing that advances all of our career interests. Regardless of which path you take, being involved on any level is a great way to show thanks.
- Book Reviews / Journal Research. I know there is only so much time in a day, but some of your best time can be spent helping your colleagues who write books or do research for the PR industry. For example, new books on PR, social media, strategic planning, influencers, etc., are published every year by your peers. Spend some time reviewing the work of industry authors. Let them know how their books are making a difference (or not) and pose additional questions to further their work. I use my blog, PR Expanded, for video book reviews. At the same time, your professor friends pursue their research goals with new projects that often uncover interesting findings. Reading about their findings in peer-reviewed journals and offering your thoughts helps to continue the conversation. Maybe, you’ll choose to review one or two books and / or discuss a few research studies in your social media communities. However, it’s not the number of times you share; it’s the knowledge you’re furthering each time you share to help your peers and to benefit your industry.
- The Shout-Out. Taking the time to recognize someone else’s efforts is a great way to show thanks and to also create a stronger bond with industry peers. As much as you want to share exciting initiatives and new opportunities of your own (hey, we’re all in PR, and that means we know how to promote), take the time to create some awareness for the people who inspire or motivate you. Show thanks to the folks who work tirelessly to collaborate to benefit others and give their time selflessly. Granted, there are far too many great professionals to mention in one blog post or to give a #FF shout out on Twitter. However, your shout outs can also be in your own storytelling. You can weave your friends and the people you appreciate into your work. Make them a part of your blog posts, FB Live video streaming, podcasting interviews, and the many different ways that you tell a story today. As you do, this subtle shout out is an excellent way to share a friend’s cause and also help those peers to achieve their goals.
- Get involved. Sitting back doesn’t help to steer the direction of the industry, and it doesn’t provide a guiding compass. It’s time to get active. There are some very simple ways to get more involved. How about completing those industry association surveys or the magazine’s questionnaires on pressing industry topics that land in your inbox? You can also carve out time to interview for industry research studies, participating in informal one-on-one interviews with peers, or you can even volunteer your time on research committees. I recently participated on a tech committee to help construct a survey for educators. Or, who knows, maybe you’re going to rally your tribe to drive the next big tech and communication movement. No matter which activity looks interesting to you, the key is to become an “active participant. Being idle doesn’t move the needle. Your involvement on any level is a great way to show you care and helps to motivate others in PR to do the same.
There are so many ways to give and more importantly show your thanks. These are just a few. How are you going to show your thanks on Thanksgiving and during the holiday season?
I want to give thanks to all of my friends, colleagues, and, of course, my family. I will continue to show my gratitude in 2017 and beyond!