PR Training

How to Work Smarter — Not Harder — in 2020

We all like to look at the New Year as a fresh start.

I suggest for 2020 that you make it a resolution to work smarter, not harder. And I’m here to help with those who would like to join this PR movement.

In the past, when I’d ask communicators about their jobs, they’d often begin by discussing what appeals to them. “I like using creativity and storytelling. I like completing intellectually stimulating activities at work. I like building relationships with new people.”

But now, most of the time, they start with how busy they feel. “I always feel rushed. I feel like my mind is always racing. I feel like I’m perpetually behind. I’m always worried I’m missing something.”

Is that how you feel, too?

What if, in contrast, you could feel like your mind is clear? Have that be the new normal. What if you could feel like you’re doing your very best work at almost all times? What if you could feel certain you’re on the correct path with both your daily work and career direction?

I know people who feel like that. I know how they act and think differently than the typical PR person.

You can feel like that.

But you have to let go of three false beliefs about working in public relations:

1. This is a service business, so my job is to carry out orders and meet requests.

False. That mentality may work for restaurants and flight attendants. But this is a creativity business. Your job is to be the expert, and to do that you sometimes need to ignore distractions and turn down requests.

2. Because I have access to a phone/text messaging machine/email inbox 24/7, I need to check it and respond to requests all the time.

Dig a deep hole and bury this thinking forever. Any recent college grad can be “responsive.” Your job is to be effective. And you can’t be effective when you’re constantly checking your digital tether.

3. I’ve got to finish all these things everybody wants me to do.

Not anymore. In the information age, it is impossible to process every input and complete every request that comes your way. You have a bigger challenge — you need to carefully evaluate and prioritize. Accomplish the vital few tasks that really matter, and have the knowledge and confidence to ignore the rest.

And now you’ve got these questions:

“What about clients or bosses who expect me to be responsive? What about missing inquiries from media? If this stuff is true, then why does everybody I know act and think the opposite? That rings true to me, but where do I start?”

Good questions. I’m doing a training session that will clearly walk you through the specific answers. Join me on Jan. 9 for a webinar titled “Work Smarter, Not Harder in 2020” that’s free for PRSA members.

And you’ll be able to leave those false beliefs behind forever.


Michael Smart teaches PR professionals how to dramatically increase their positive media placements. He’s engaged regularly by organizations like General Motors, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Georgia Tech to help their media relations teams reach new levels of success. Get more media pitching knowledge from Michael Smart here.

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Michael Smart

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