What PR Professionals Can Learn about Managing Pressure from “Iron Chef America”

PR agency life – or the life of any marketer for that matter – is full of constant surprises and competing demands. How do you successfully stay calm (or at least collected) in the face of these stresses, while producing masterful results? I believe the Iron Chef competition can teach us a few things:

  • Build a solid plan focused on the end goal: There is an overwhelming list of PR/marketing/social media tools and tactics at everyone’s disposal, but often they aren’t used very strategically. In high pressure situations, every action and every minute must be laser-focused on the outcome. If you’re not thinking about what’s most important to your “judges” at the end of the day, then you’re just wasting time. How are all of your efforts working together to complement each other and achieve the main goal? These posts offer some food for thought: Hubspot on “Why PR Does Help Sales” and Lara Ramos on how marketers can shift their focus from marketing metrics to business outcomes.
  • Be nimble enough to make adjustments: Whether you’re a chef or a PR professional, you’ll inevitably encounter unexpected factors as you work. Iron Chefs aren’t perfect – they make mistakes, but they keep working through or around them to quickly produce a delicious alternative. PR professionals must have the same mindset: when you hit a roadblock or a tactic that falls flat, quickly re-assess and try a new course of action.
  • Manage time wisely: Iron Chefs have one hour to create five interesting dishes, so they must be decisive about how they delegate work to their teams and prioritize tasks. They must be both leaders and team players, as their success is contingent upon everyone on the team working in sync. PR professionals are constantly juggling multiple projects, priorities and teams – and the demands can be intense. One of the most challenging things for more senior people is letting go of certain responsibilities and delegating appropriately to your teams.
  • Think creatively: You don’t get to be an Iron Chef by doing the same thing as everyone else. Most of us are working with limited time and resources. PR professionals must think creatively, be strategic and conduct smart research to find ways for their messages to stand out from the crowd. Craig Bading’s post about the 9 fundamentals to being a thought leader offers a nice roadmap for how B2B leaders can differentiate themselves.
  • Keep your cool: I’m always impressed by how calm Iron Chefs remain in the midst of intense time pressure and a barrage of questions from their team and commentators. The best PR professionals I know act smooth and steady in the face of pressure. It’s an admirable skill that can help you maintain the focus necessary to do all of the things listed above.

What ingredients would you throw into the mix?

Photo by akseez


To reach Kellie:

Email: kellie@blisspr.com
Twitter: @kshe
LinkedIn: Kellie Sheehan