Jodie Kaplan, Vice President of Media Relations and Branding

Public relations is all about relationships.  Well maybe not all about relationships, but it certainly plays a major role in the work we do.  You need to be able to build relationships with reporters and newsmakers, create a bond with clients quickly and grow your network.

But how do you create meaningful relationships when you are first starting out?  After all, you want people to trust you and respect you but you also want them to feel a part of your life.

Treat others as you would want to be treated and thoughtfulness goes a long way –  I learned this very early on in my childhood and it was something that I have carried with me.  I find pleasure in making other people happy as well.  It’s nice to give your colleague a funny card and baked goods for no reason other than to see them smile.  Has your client ever mentioned something that they liked to you in passing?  Surprise them and send it to them.  Being thoughtful isn’t just about getting someone something.  You build meaningful relationships by knowing what is going on in others lives, staying in touch and asking the important questions.  You want to make a positive lasting impression on the people you meet.

I met so many amazing people working in Columbia, Mo. I jumped on every opportunity I had to make a connection or build a relationship.  After all, you never knew when you would need them as a news source.  Plus, being a transplant and not knowing very many people it was always nice to make new friends.

I think this really hit home for me the other day when I received a message on LinkedIn from a friend in my former days as a TV reporter. The message said, “Did I ever tell you the chicken parmesan recipe you made us for dinner one night is now my family’s favorite entrée at Christmas.”  It was so random and out of the blue, and yet it brought a huge smile to my face. We developed a great relationship and I look back on it with such fond memories.  I never would have imagined that years later I would be reminded of the bonds and impressions you make on people.

Relationships are important in life and it is what you make of them that will be your legacy.