There’s a small argument brewing over Tip #32, Hush, now. To clarify:
Daily Archives: September 18, 2008
Please remember that this blog is my perspective, and other journalists may feel differently.
That said, I stand by the original sentiment of the post. Those of you who note that the job of a PR person is to set up the meeting between me and the company rep, and then set the client free to swing his or her own bat, have it right. Once the meeting is underway, shut the hell up. Even if the presenter fumbles, keep a lid on it. If you try to steer the conversation at that point, you will make things worse. Passing a note? Good idea.
You don’t see PR people on stage at Demo, TechCrunch50, Under the Radar, or other product pitch shows, do you? That’s because the company rep — the person with the passion and vision that makes the product what it is — that person is the real story. The PR rep during a pitch meeting? You’re the fact sheet. Important, but I can read you later.
If the person you’re representing cannot tell the company or product’s story, then either spend more time in prep with your client, or find a new one. If you really want to be the one telling the story, go start your own company.
And finally, I do not mean to “deride” PR people. I poke fun, sure, but there’s no hate. Our corner of the communications economy would not function well without PR. So I respect the job and also some of the people who do it. I just have a strong opinion on what the PR function is, and it is not to be the person on the stage.
PR handlers during a pitch should be absolutely and completely silent. You are not the story.