Going for the Gold: The Four Skills PR Pros and Olympic Athletes Have in Common

By Allison Andrews and Alexandra Obradovich 

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia has provided the world with exciting sports, entertainment and drama over the past several weeks. We’ve seen the U.S. Men’s Hockey team beat Russia, Shaun White walk away without a medal and plenty of stray dogs.
While great preparation, dedication and execution are all required of Olympic athletes, these skills are also important in the world of PR. Here is a look at how events like figure skating, ice hockey and ski jumping utilize tactics similar to those of PR efforts.

Maintaining endurance

Cross-country skiing demands persistence, energy and strength, and requires endurance from each athlete to cross different levels of snow-covered terrain. The endurance needed for success in cross-country skiing is the same skill that is essential for planning and implementing long-term projects for clients in the world of PR. Staying on track is the key to meeting goals on a deadline and executing successful campaigns. Having the focus and determination to stick with a plan leads both cross-country skiers and PR professionals to victory in the long run.

Adapting to new situations

Hockey is a high-intensity sport and every second on the clock is important, with players anticipating where the puck will go and what their next move will be. Like a hockey team, a PR team must be able to navigate the high-tempo environment of the industry. The nature of public relations is fast-moving, and at times unpredictable. While a strategy is always in place, it is important to be able to adapt to one’s environment. A hockey player must always be on his or her toes and have the ability to go with the flow, just like a PR pro.

Demonstrating precision

Whether executed in pairs or individually, figure skating is always a crowd pleaser. Precision is key, in both figure skating and PR – from landing a triple axel to implementing a crisis communication plan, accuracy is a necessary ingredient to compete on the ice or in the industry. To score high in the PR world, competitors must deliver business-specific solutions with poise and grace. This choreographed dance of leaps, spins, twists and turns performed in the PR world is a necessary maneuver to successfully meet client needs.

Reaching the right target

From the audience’s point of view, ski jumping looks like one of the most terrifying events in the Winter Olympics. These athletes jump off a ramp and fly through the air, eventually landing some 360 feet from where they started. Competitors are awarded points based on style and distance, also known as their reach. In PR, it is essential that businesses reach consumers in multiple ways – be it through a print advertisement or social media posts. The importance of reaching a key audience for PR pros is just as essential as ski jumpers reaching their target distance.
The 2014 Winter Olympics and the PR world have many fundamental elements in common, including the importance of adapting to changing situations, maintaining endurance and precision, and reaching a key target. Although PR pros aren’t literally flying through the air or racing down the side of a mountain like Olympic athletes, their goal is the same: go for the gold.
Photo courtesy of Atos International’s Flickr photostream.