December 4, 2015

Net Gain: How to Score in PR and Volleyball

You can learn a lot about life from volleyball, as I did during many summer retreats in New York’s Catskills Mountains.

Volleyball is a total team sport—and the trick is to make sure every inch of your territory is covered by able players, alert and working in close coordination with one another.

Some hustle by all the players is necessary, but the basic rule is ironclad: Stay on the court and be ready, and the ball will inevitably head in your direction and present an opportunity.

During my first year in PR, I often made that analogy. At DLPR we’re fortunate to represent a wide range of respected companies and subject matter experts, and we cover the field by getting to know them, the topics they are best suited to discuss and with whom.

The news cycle will often do the rest. Whether it’s a corporate merger announcement, a steep shift in gold prices, or changes in the federal tax code affecting the financial planning of millions of Americans, sooner or later an opportunity will be up in the air, heading in your direction. You’ll then have two options: Rush up for the ball, or let it bounce and lose a point.

So when Mark Zuckerberg and his wife announce a $45 billion philanthropic endowment, in order to generate media exposure, it’s good to have a wealth advisor available who can talk about matching high-net-worth donors with the causes that can most effectively use their money. Or when the U.S. strikes a nuclear deal with Iran, it’s good to be able to pivot to an academic who is an expert on Iranian politics and culture.

In sports or PR, no matter how much you practice, you won’t be able to return every ball. Sometimes, like me, you will collide with a teammate, fail to clear the net or simply swat air instead of the ball.

But teamwork and vigilance will make sure you stay in the game.

Woody Allen once said 80 percent of success is showing up. Correctly positioning clients to share their expertise when the time is right is the other (often more difficult) crucial 20 percent. But, the rewards are well worth it.

By: Adam Dickter