I’m about to finish my master’s degree in public relations from Indiana University (I say that proudly despite what follows in this post). But, I often wonder that perhaps I could learn all I need to know if I could just go back to kindergarten for one day.
Never hog the toys
When I was in kindergarten we had a rule: whoever got to a toy first during play time got to play with it. Sure, our parents taught us to share everything but in kindergarten that was NOT the rule. It was every child for themselves.
I do remember being traumatized when a girl named Deanna W. framed me and said she arrived at the play kitchen first when, in fact, I arrived first. The incident led me to a very embarrassing visit to the principal’s office (for the record that was the ONLY principal’s office visit during my entire academic career).
What I learned from that experience was invaluable: No one likes a bully. You see, Deanna W. wanted the play kitchen all to herself, and that is what she got. No one wanted to be with her. She hogged the toys but she did not make friends. As a wise PR professor of mine once said, “choose people over stuff.”
When you are planning a public relations campaign, especially if it involves crisis management, the needs of people should outrank your organization’s concerns over profit. Never forget the lessons of Deanna W. who chose stuff over people.
Who knew you could be your own show-and-tell
When I was in kindergarten I broke my collar bone. Because I was in kindergarten during an ancient time in medicine they put a cast on me that was like a shirt vest. When I went back to class, with the cast beneath my shirt, my teacher said I should be my own show-and-tell object. At 5-years-old I was quite shy, and remember being mortified about the prospect. What followed was even more embarrassing. My teacher had each student line up and one-by-one each kid in the class was allowed to come and knock on my cast, which meant they were knocking on my chest.
The PR lesson here: Never exploit people even if it seems like a good idea at the time. Just don’t do it.