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The answers PR pros need to know


“You don’t have to know all the answers, you do have to know where to find them.”

So said a professor of mine a long time ago.  A time when directories like Yahoo! were the dominant way to search the Web and venture capitalists were pouring money into “portals.”  Needless to say, Google hadn’t yet made it so easy to find what what we were looking for.  Reference books, card catalogs and even the Dewey Decimal System still reign.

When I reflect, there are a few timeless principles that seem to stand up despite the changes we’ve seen in access to information.  I think my old proffs words of wisdom apply every bit to today’s PR world.

The idea struck me when today I was hit with three questions that caught me on my heels 1) a sales question about pricing where some models have changed 2) a history question, which while being away for a year, I had simply forgotten, and 3) a pseudo-crisis situation where a reporter simply phoned in a question on a situation I had yet to become aware existed.

I didn’t know the answers, but I knew who to ask.  To that end, PR pros don’t need to know all the answers, but we do need to know where to find them.

And when we do find them, that’s when the real work begins.

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3 Responses

  1. Great post, Frank!  Your professor’s advice rings true for so many working professionals, not just those in PR.  I know I get frustrated with myself when I don’t have all the answers, but to your point, finding them is the real work.  And it’s often beneficial to my knowledge and development to seek those answers or research them. 

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