By Amy Thomases
During my career as a publicist at a major film studio, connecting was a cinch. I was representing some blockbusters, others Oscar worthy and some box office disasters. You can’t win them all, but it was my job to create buzz around these films, and we did. An advantage of my time in this role was that my phone calls were always answered or returned, my emails responded to, and my invitation for a lunch or drink after work was usually accepted. I was connecting to discuss Hollywood talent or an upcoming film. . .who wouldn’t respond to that?
In my current role of Director of Business Development at INK PR, connection is a bit more challenging. But I maintain that all business is based on human relationships and connection. The art of providing publicity does not need to involve a red carpet to be interesting.
I contend that old school ways still have a place in this new world of PR. Technology is terrific. . . .well most of the time. I understand and appreciate the value of Instagram, Linked In, Twitter and Facebook. Although my teenagers are still trying to teach me what a “snap” is and I have lost hours of my life watching Otis the Box Turtle on Tik Tok.
ASK QUESTIONS. . . .
I realize in this new world that we have to adapt to ways in which decision makers look to connect. E-Mail, Linked In, Instagram, DM, to name a few. But even when I am reaching out in this way, I am still trying to connect with a human being. Learning about a potential client’s business and their role is obviously important. But what is less obvious and something I find extremely helpful: is to always dig a little deeper in an effort to connect. Where did they grow up? Where did they go to school? What are their hobbies? Are they a parent? An animal lover? I always do my research (thank you social media) and remember those details. It is a great foundation to building a successful relationship. People do business with those they like and trust. I always treat my clients like I would treat my friends and family. I ask a lot of questions, I listen to their answers and I share of myself. I can be vulnerable, consistently honest. It’s important to show a personal interest in the other person in addition to their business value. I have found no matter how fast the platforms in which we connect change, some things remain the same.
SMILE YOU’RE ON CAMERA
Video is key. As the pandemic taught us all how to connect remotely. In the past I spent countless hours speaking into a conference room speaker box attempting to get my point across. But nothing beats being able to look someone in the eye and see their expression/reaction to something I just said. I can see where they live and/or work, that is when they don’t have an intergalactic background being used on our Zoom call. If I look carefully I can make out a photo of their family, an award or even a photo of their pet rabbit. They can see my interest and that I am listening to them on our call. Most importantly I am not a bot who has received them as a lead, but a real person who might even be able to share some interests outside of business. Studies show that nonverbal communication is almost 80% of actual speech. It’s not always the words that we’re saying—it’s the body language. So, take a shower and turn on that video.
GO FOR THE LAUGH
Numerous studies suggest that people who share a healthy, positive sense of humor tend to be more likable and are viewed as being more trustworthy. While I am not suggesting to be a class clown in business, I am suggesting that you should be ready to see the humor in something.
Be someone who can laugh easily and smile often. It helps to win people over. I promise.