Lessons in PR I learnt from my mother

One fine day, two decades back, when I had cleared an entrance examination to pursue my master’s degree in journalism and communication, little did I know, that it would be a life-changing decision to stick to that field. I was a ‘fresh-out-of-college’ graduate in fashion and honestly, my father felt I could become a decent fashion designer, after graduating in clothing & textiles. So, when he heard about my decision to pursue a mass communications degree, all he thought about was the safety of his daughter. He may have, for that era, watched Bollywood films where the goons ended up chasing a ‘journalist’ or a media person. Jokes apart, while my father remains my ‘wall’ when my mother heard about my decision, she backed me up. It is true, that life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother!

I see a lot of similarities between what my mother said to me growing up and what we as PR professionals advise our clients. Of late, I have started to realise that many of my actions in my professional and personal life reflect what she did and what I learned from her.

I believe mothers have an innate sense of what good PR is all about. They may not know the concept of PR as such, but I am sure you will agree that they offer reputation management advice without even realising it. On this Mother’s Day, here are a few classic examples my fellow citizens can learn and get motivated from:

“Do not speak ill of others”

PR translation: We have heard this the most growing up and is pertinent teaching in Indian culture and is also important in PR. It means refraining from negative comments or criticism of competitors, customers, or stakeholders. Instead, focus on building positive relationships and communicating your own strengths and values.

“Respect your elders”

PR translation: Show respect and consideration to your customers, stakeholders, and employees, regardless of their age or position. It also means valuing the wisdom and experience of those who have come before you and seeking their advice and guidance.

“Actions speak louder than words”

PR translation: Your actions and behavior are more important than what you say. It means delivering on your promises and living up to your values in all your interactions and communications.

“Be a good listener”

PR translation: Indian mothers often emphasise the importance of listening and understanding others. In PR, this means actively listening to your customers, stakeholders, and critics, and responding to their needs and concerns in a thoughtful and respectful manner.

“Think before you speak”

PR translation: This is another common teaching in Indian culture and is also important in PR. It means taking the time to think through your communications and messages before sharing them with your audience. It also means being mindful of the impact of your words and actions on others.

“Help others”

PR translation: Going beyond self-promotion and actively contributing to the well-being of your customers, stakeholders, and community. It means being a good corporate citizen and supporting causes and initiatives that align with your values and mission.

“Do not follow the herd”

PR translation: Be original, even if it is difficult, don’t follow the herd because everyone is. Stay focused and choose a natural communication style for your brand’s unique personality.

“My grey hair denotes my life and experience”

PR translation: Give your audience the benefit of the doubt, they are intelligent. Admit your mistakes, if you commit them because honesty is that one resort where the customers may consider buying from you again!

“Mind your language.”

PR translation: If you choose the right and appropriate tone as well as language for each of your communications, you will hit more goals and be respected.

“Be attentive always!”

PR translation: Always think about what you want to achieve as you plan a public announcement or launch a campaign. Messaging is critical in communications and a lot of your success rides on it. Give credit where it is due, when it comes to your peers and teams.

“Treat others the way you want to be treated”

PR translation: Customers, stakeholders, and employees deserve your respect and kindness. Go the extra mile to respond to their needs and concerns in a timely and helpful manner.

“Honesty is the best policy”

PR translation: Be transparent and truthful in all your communications. It also means that you admit your mistakes, if any and take responsibility for them.

“Listen more than you talk”

PR translation: Actively listen to your customers, stakeholders, and critics. This can help you understand their needs and concerns and respond accordingly.

“Apologise when you’re wrong”

PR translation: While you admit mistakes and apologise, when necessary, please also take necessary steps to make things right and prevent similar mistakes from happening in the future.

“Be patient”

PR translation: Understand that building a positive reputation and strong relationships takes time. It also means being persistent in your efforts and not giving up when faced with challenges or setbacks.

“Show gratitude”

PR translation: Show appreciation to your customers, stakeholders, and employees. This can be as simple as sending a thank-you note or offering a discount or promotion.

“Be proactive”

PR translation: Take a proactive approach to communication and engagement. It means anticipating and responding to issues before they become crises and building relationships with your audience on an ongoing basis.

Overall, I feel that a mother’s teachings are rich with life and experiences which can be translated to PR as key principles for building a positive reputation and strong relationships with your audience.

Happy Mother’s Day.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Pallavi Tinekar
Pallavi Tinekar is a VP, Technology & Startups- Concept PR. Pallavi is senior marketing communications professional with deep experience in communications and reputation management for large IT MNCs, FMCG, Finance, SME entities, and early-stage technology startups.

As Vice President - Technology and Startups at Concept PR, she
manages corporate client mandates and works on strategic and growth imperatives for the overall business.

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