What comms professionals can learn from travel

Hola chickas!

What an amazing five months of travel it has been though I’m now well and truly back into the wonderful world of comms…  Though I was hardly focusing on work while away, there were a few things I picked up off the beaten path which I think will help me back in the real world.  Adding to your professional credentials and experience: any excuse for a holiday!

So, here are some of my top learnings from five months in Europe and South America:


Dont be late or you'll miss the important stuff

  • Don’t be late. Though you may end up with a wicked story (like how you walked from Buenos Aires to Santiago because you missed your bus), it really sucks when you miss a deadline.  This is no different in the corporate world where missing a deadline can mean losing a client, angering a boss or letting down a colleague.  Keep time management top of mind.

Talk and listen - there are some amazing people out there

  • Talk and listen to people. There are some amazing folk around the world, many with incredible stories to tell.  You’ll be amazed how much in common you have with people if you just have a chat.  As a comms professional, a large part of our job is relating with the media and clients – listen to what they need and you’ll do your job better.

Do your research...or you'll end up camping in an office

  • Do your research. Whether you’re heading to a new town or wondering which operator is most likely to get you down the World’s Most Dangerous Road, via the road as opposed to the cliff, make sure you’ve done the leg work and can make the most informed decisions.  It’s the same at your desk – if you’ve covered off the background research you’ll be much better informed when speaking with journalists and clients, and also contributing internally with brainstorms and new business opportunities.

Help others - they'll appreciate it!

  • Help others when you can. Travellers have an unspoken law that information sharing is the norm when you’re on the road.  The simplest tip of where to eat or stay makes someone else’s life that little bit easier and you’re sure to reap the rewards down the track.  Everyone, from colleagues to clients and journalists are looking to do things more quickly and thoroughly.  Anything you can assist them with, whether it be taking on extra work or sourcing a spokesperson who is MIA, will help strengthen your relationship.

Don't be afraid to ask for help if things get tough

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s amazing what you can learn from others with a simple question.  Both travellers and locals will surprise you with their generosity and patience.  In the office, people like to feel needed and appreciate you asking their advice.  You’ll also learn so much more when seeking help from others as it’s amazing the level of knowledge sitting on the chair next to you!

Though good for a laugh, you will look like an idiot in the wrong gear

  • Wear appropriate clothing. Yellow ‘Game On’ undies at Machu Picchu may entertain a small crowd for a few minutes but they won’t help you walk at altitude…  Make sure you’re wearing gear that matches the occasion.  In the corporate PR game, ties and suits for meetings and new business prospects is the norm, but it’s also important to know your audience and slip into the short and thongs if appropriate.

Pay attention - it's the little things that count

  • Attention to detail! I am a real stickler for detail.  That didn’t prevent me from missing two letters in a Dutch street name and walking an hour out of town with a 20kg backpack.  Needless to say I bought the beers that night…  Attention to detail is the first thing I encourage any graduate or budding PR pro to take note of as it’s the simple things that make the biggest difference.  It doesn’t matter where you apply it, everyone appreciates it!

So, aside from having an awesome time and seeing incredible places, there’s a lot to learn from travel so keep that in mind the next time you’re thinking about ‘upskilling’ 🙂

ALSO!  PRINKS will be back in 2011 – we know we’ve been a bit absent of late but we are committed to getting the conversation going again amongst all comms professionals in the New Year.  Stay tuned for event details and keep an eye on the PRINKS blog and Facebook Page.  Merry Christmas!

4 Responses to “What comms professionals can learn from travel”
  1. Great post Roge – wishing you and Gem a wonderful Christmas – looking forward to catching up with PRink’ers in the New Year.

  2. Love it! I hope this fuels a whole crew of travelers-to-be to get out there and learn life lessons out of the office.

    May I also add “share the love”. It was great to see you and Gem share your journey, even though Gem wasn’t by your side physically for all of it. It was exciting to live vicariously!

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys! And to your point, Mandi, you’re spot on – sharing your adventures with everyone back home is so easy with the connectivity we have these days. Seriously, I was tweeting and Facebooking from Patagonia…go figure… If we’re taking the ‘professional’ angle, remember to share your experiences with people as this will help foster relations and allow you to get to know one another better! The better you know someone, the better you’ll be at knowing how to work with them.

  4. Lauren T says:

    Great post Roger! Can’t wait to hear more about your trip at PRinks next year. Merry Christmas!

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