The PR-fect Date

Remember the good ‘ole days when you could pop over to the library on a Wednesday night with your friends and get asked on a date for that Saturday night? You’d go, get to know the person and have a good time (or not have a good time, and never have to see them again). There was no “Googling” or “Facebook stalking” the person – you’d just go on a date. Eventually, you’d meet “the one,” get married, and live happily ever after… or something to that effect.

Okay, so I don’t remember those days. But I’ve heard that’s how it shook out back then – at least that’s how it went in the stories my mother would tell.

Unfortunately, dating in this generation isn’t as simple. First dates are more like job interviews, and as a result can be extremely intimidating.

Granted, they do have their benefits. In fact, they are ideal for prepping for the PR world. Let me show you a few of the things that I’ve discovered that dating and working in PR have in common.

If you were the 8th dwarf, what would your name be?

This is my go-to question on a first date. It’s a little quirky, but that’s my style. It’s a perfect question to get the ball rolling and detect personality. And, when combined with other questions, you’ll be able to more easily evaluate your compatibility – or lack thereof – with said date.

Do you have a go-to question? You definitely should. Oh, and be prepared to be on the receiving end, too. How else will you really get to know the person and determine whether you want to see them again?

First dates aren’t the only place these questions come in handy. As a member of the PR department at IRONCLAD, we always have to be ready to ask and answer some tough questions about our clients, our work and at times, ourselves. While I have yet to ask clients about dwarves, I try to be detailed and outside of the box – enough to benefit IRONCLAD, our clients and any publication we are working with. I’ve learned that sometimes the more obscure you are, the more you can often learn. And we have to be prepared to answer questions for or about our clients, as well.

So your dog was born on Valentine’s Day?

That’s right. People know things. Thank you, Facebook and Google. In fact, researching the person is almost expected. So don’t be completely alarmed if a question is thrown out that reveals what a person knows about you. There’s some amount of normalcy to this – investigating whether you have any connections on Facebook, if they have any amount of criminal background, or even checking on a person’s height … which for some women is very important information. This being said, if someone knows your birthday, your address or your mother’s maiden name – run away and run fast.

Research is pertinent in nearly everything that we do at IRONCLAD. We find it important to stay on top of what’s happening in our clients’ industries, as well as getting to know which publications best fit the industries that we serve. And, of course, we try to know everything we can about our clients. After all, knowing your stuff is the best way to stay ahead of the game.

And yes, my dog was born on Valentine’s Day.

The Twin Cities Marathon is perfect for a first timer.

There is nothing worse on a first date than a date that isn’t engaging – or one that simply doesn’t talk. Keep the conversation alive by digging into your date’s interests. This is often where that go-to question comes in handy. Once you know your date’s interests, if possible, contribute to them. Hopefully, they’ll ask you about yours as well – and it won’t turn into a case of texting your best friend to call with an “emergency” in ten minutes.

Building relationships is huge in the PR world, as well. No one wants to work with someone who can’t hold their own, or someone with no care for what they’re talking about. At IRONCLAD, we love talking to and getting to know our clients. Whether it’s sports, kids, pets or even politics, it’s fun to learn about our clients’ interests and hobbies. I have yet to chat to any of them about the country’s best marathons – but I’m waiting and ready for my favorite subject to arise!

Be eccentric now; don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

You are unique. So is your date. It’s this individuality that makes each of us stand out. And showing this personality is what makes you memorable. So go ahead and talk about the Happy Arbor Day cards you made with your sister. Yes, they may think that’s a little too goofy for them, and it may show that you aren’t quite a match – or it may be that spark that keeps them wanting to learn more. Either way, you’ll be remembered.

Remembered – one of the biggest goals we have for our clients. Our job is to get them noticed, to promote their companies, and to demonstrate what is unique about their products. We pride ourselves in showing why they stand out from the competition, and getting them stuck in the public’s eye.

Expect the unexpected.

Dates, like life, cannot be scripted. Anything could happen. That’s what makes life interesting. You could show up to meet a blind date, and he/she could hand you not one but five mixed CDs of love songs. How are you going to react?

Expecting the unexpected is certainly the name of the game in the PR world. Things may catch us off guard, but as the saying goes; you gotta roll with the punches. At IRONCLAD, we pride ourselves in staying professional even during times where we could easily get flustered. It’s key for us and our clients.

Keep positive.

It’s important to remember that no matter what happens – even if those CDs scared you off or your date doesn’t understand the joy of making random holiday cards – it’s best to end that date with a positive attitude. After all, in life, dating and PR, burning bridges almost never turns out favorably – and you never know when you might benefit from that connection in the future.

While dating in the millennium may not seem as easy as it did in the 70s, if you go into a first date prepared and with a cheerful persona – you’ll definitely get some great PR practice. Oh, and who knows, you may even find the love of your life.