My boyfriend and I got into a fight of epic proportions recently. It all started with a misunderstanding over a text, followed by a series of events that left me flustered, and him wondering why I was acting the way I was.
We eventually made up last night (for Valentine’s sake) and I came home with a bunch of PR-worthy lessons from the experience which are worth sharing.
1. Be clear of your intentions
The big fight started about two weeks ago when my boyfriend was planning the launch of his new gym. At first, we both had agreed that I was going to be helping him out with the management stuff, and I was happy to assume responsibility—until a week later when he informed me via text that he’s getting the coaches he’s hired to help him manage stuff at the gym.
I was incandescently hurt as I felt like I was suddenly being pushed aside. When we finally got to talk face to face, he eventually explained that he saw that I was getting quite busy with my own freelance work, and so he didn’t want to burden me with his gym management work.
Similarly, there are other issues that would’ve easily been settled if people were more transparent about their intentions. Last year, when working for a large-scale project, out client insisted that what their intentions are is nobody’s business.
“As long as our intentions are good and intended for the benefit of the public, we shouldn’t be forced to explain ourselves,” he said.
Decidedly, the project didn’t have a smooth takeoff as stakeholders weren’t properly engaged and informed.
2. When there are misunderstandings, don’t let it brew into full on assumptions
When I started being mad at my boyfriend and confronted him on my dissatisfactions, instead of sitting down to talk about it, he decided to wait two weeks (until his gym launch was over) to talk it over with me. In two weeks’ time, my initial irritation had fermented into a full on bitch fit, compounded by the fact that he’d completely ignored and avoided me the whole time.
So, I resorted to the bitchiest thing a PR person and girlfriend could do: cancelling the sponsorship I had initially arranged for his gym opening and boycotting the event altogether (OK, I’m not proud of this).
In his defence, my boyfriend later explained that he was only avoiding me with the hope that things would blow over and I would cool off eventually. I don’t know if it works for other women, not me I’m afraid.
When Malaysia Airlines was hit by the MH370 fiasco in 2014, instead of coming up with immediate updates and clarifications, the airline company was busy beating around the bush and avoided giving any answers. As a result, everyone was also busy making assumptions and a bomoh even got famous in the process. Needless to say, it was a year of PR disaster for MAS.
3. There’s no such thing as too much communication
When my boyfriend and I first started dating over four years ago, we were constantly in each other’s communication timeline: we’d text, Facebook-tag and call each other whenever we had time, and we even tried to meet up over lunch on weekdays as much as we could. We were happy.
Today, dates have turned into a weekly ritual of stay-at-home cookouts and conversations have evolved into me talking about my week and him pretending to listen while playing games on his phone. The problem about familiarity is that you tend to take the other person for granted, hence, you tend to assume more—thinking that if you’ve already known someone so well, there’s nothing to communicate anymore.
On my part, I have sometimes resorted to giving him the silent treatment whenever I get mad because I assume he’d know me well enough to know what pisses me off. On his part, he normally assumes that he no longer needs to discuss things with me because I should already know him well enough to know his intentions by now (see no.1).
When I first started in PR, my boss told me that the key to a successful PR campaign is information overload. He told me that we must shove information down other people’s throats up to the point that they will tell you, “enough already! I already know that!”
4. Tell your stakeholders what they want to hear
When my boyfriend started planning to open his gym, there was a lot of ‘I’ in the conversation: I want to do this so that I can pursue my passion. I’m doing this so that I can self-sustain myself without being employed by others. Bla Bla.
There wasn’t anything wrong with his ‘key messages’ per se, but to a girlfriend of four years who’s still wondering whether the guy would eventually pop the question, that wasn’t exactly a winning pitch.
In marketing, you’re taught to personalise your pitches according to your audience. Tell your stakeholders what they want to hear, interest them with an aspect of your product that would benefit them. Everyone wants to know ‘what’s in it for me?’.
So, eventually when my boyfriend said that he’s doing all these so he could earn and prepare for a wedding, the pitch won me over immediately. A little bit of PR goes a long way!
Submitted by: PR Momma