PR Tips 101: Breathe, Relax… Cut Your Peers Some Slack

 

il_430xN.92370863Everyone has heard the saying, “patience is a virtue”, I am fairly sure that some of the people I have corresponded with have let that one go in one ear and right out the other. We are in a business where most of us are balancing a home office, personal life, and marriage/relationships/children. Sometimes we just need to give everyone a break, or at least the benefit of the doubt.  Unless it is an extremely time sensitive matter, if someone has not gotten back to an email in a 24 hour time period, don’t freak out. It does not mean that they don’t like you, most likely they are just busy because YES people do have a life outside of the wedding industry (imagine that!!). If you really want to work with someone but they have told you that they are really busy, give them time and be patient with them.  If  it’s a fit its going to work out regardless of how fast they write you back on their blackberry. Most of what I do as a wedding publicist is email, call, take a meeting and then wait. Do you think you are the only person in the world contacting that vendor? I am aware I am not the only person reaching out that editor. I know, I know, you are annoyed because you want them to get back to you right away- because you are paying them or you referred them the job and should be their number one priority. Well, guess what? They might be traveling, have come down with the flu, dealing with a family tragedy, taking a personal day to spend time with their kids etc.. OR they could also be working on the 35 other items that have come across their plate. I know first hand- I am constantly juggling waiting and am reminded of patience (especially when I am expected to get back to people right away too)! As small business owners we need to respect one another and be understanding. It may take someone a week to get back to me- that’s ok. I am conditioned to reach out and wait. If you don’t hear back send a kind  follow up email. Remember: “You attract more bees with honey than you do vinegar.” If you want something from someone you’ll be more apt to get it and returned in a timely matter if you are not breathing down their necks or approaching them with a  threatening tone.

Boundaries are 100% necessary in this business in regards to separating your time between your personal and professional life. It will only fodder the impatience fire, if you are a slave to your email around the clock. If people know that you will respond to them regardless of the time, then they will email you regardless of the time and expect a response. Keep your correspondence to normal business hours whatever that may be for you. Is it 7-3p? or 8-6p? or maybe it is even later depending on your line of work. We have been conditioned to be accessible at all hours of the day but for many of you wedding vendors you are also expected to be available on the weekends  as well OR else: the bride may go find someone else if you don’t respond ASAP, or the vendor may not book me and go elsewhere. Guess what?: It’s not meant to be! We need to set the standard for the lifestyle we choose to lead. Our business does not run our lives- we just let it. It’s in your hands to set the hours that work for you, respond to people when it fits in your schedule, and celebrate life all at the same time. Life is short… be nice to others and enjoy it!

*please note this was originally posted on 9/29/09

Photo found on Etsy

 

LEAVE SOME LOVE!

  • http://www.itseventful.com Renee Metty

    Great post and so true! It is a great reminder especially when we are in the thick of things!

  • http://www.tanahuffman.com/blog Tana H

    What a wonderful – and time appropriate post for most of us right now. I think I’ll have to refer a few more people over to read this! (hint hint!) ;)

  • http://thebrokeassbride.com The Broke-Ass Bride

    What a great post! Thank you reminding us all :)

  • http://greenweddingshoes.com Jen@GreenWeddingShoes

    Great Post Leila! I was just thinking about this same thing the other day.I always feel guilty when I see all those emails in my inbox, I will get back to you, sometimes it just takes a bit longer when there is so much going on. Thanks for reminding us all about what is important.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jsouthard Janine

    A different take:

    This is an interesting post to me because I don’t work in the wedding industry. Recently engaged, I’ve been very frustrated by the long lag times and slow turn-around of wedding industry vendors. It’s as though by being “wedding planners” (or “wedding florists” or what have you) as opposed to “event planners” the communications expectations are different. I’ve spent two months tearing my hair out because of vendors who don’t answer/return/make calls or emails in anything resembling what I’ve come to consider a professional timeframe.

    Yes, things do happen. And I’m quick to forgive emergencies. But, I’ve also been very tempted to find a non-wedding-industry event planner to help me out. I certainly wouldn’t make any of my clients wait more than 24 hours at the maximum for a reply in one medium or another. 5 minutes is acceptable; 5 days is not.

    It’s interesting that this seems to be a wedding industry standard, which is at odds with event and marketing industry communications standards. On the one hand, I suppose it’s good to know that I shouldn’t cut vendors who remain silent for weeks at a time (before finally responding to an “are you all right” email). On the other hand, I would think that there are wedding vendors out there who would want to have a more professional-level style of communication plan. If brides are (as you mention) dropping vendors who don’t respond within two days, then doesn’t it behoove the small business owner to have one-day turnaround?

    (Note: I’m a marketing professional who works in a consultancy and who has consulted in other industries in the past, small houses and large. I’ve also worked closely with event planning companies for launch events and tradeshows.)

  • http://www.sapphirecelebrations.com/blog Angie

    I agree – we are all busy and need to create a balance between work and personal life. Having a life (family, other occupation, etc.) does not mean, however, that we are not professionals. I am sometimes amazed at the delay in response I get from the vendors I am contacting regarding potential business. Brides expect an immediate response in this technology age, unfortunately. I try to ease the frustration that my clients feel when they try to reach out to these companies by contacting them directly.

    Yes, we are all busy…but I’ve found that if I don’t respond quickly the inquiry has moved on to someone else that has.

  • http://www.creativeeventsbyashley.com Ashley Dicksa

    I love this post!! You need to have work life balance in order to give the best to your clients and to your family. Thank you for the reminder!!!

  • http://www.fandango-fotos.com Christine Elizabeth

    Thanks for the reminder! I’m down with the flu right now. The first couple days I literally was tired from being up on the couch (out of bed) for a couple of hours. It’s nice to be reminded that boundaries are okay! I’ve been given so much grace in these few days, and I want to also remember all that you’ve said when I’m on the other side of the waiting game. Thanks!

  • http://www.mbweddingdesigns.com Michelle Barrionuevo-Mazzini (mb wedding designs)

    This is a great post Leila and it has certainly lifted up my spirits for the day. I’m constantly playing email catch-up as I generate 40-80 emails a day and as much as I try to express to people that I am busy and will reply back to them shortly, they sometimes don’t get it. I’ve tried to make it a habit to actually do quick responses letting my vendors know I’ve received their email and will respond either later in the week or after I am done with a particular wedding or event, so at least they know I got their email and I plan to reply back to it when I have time. Being a business owner, mom and wife can take a toll on anyone and learning to separate work and personal time is something I am constantly battling with, so thank you for shedding light on a subject I tend to deal with often and for reminding us that we all have lives aside from the wedding industry! ~ MB

  • http://www.cloverandbee.com Rebecca

    Thanks for such a lovely post, Leila! Life, love and happiness, truly. We couldn’t agree more about the bees & honey over here. ;)

  • http://www.joyfulweddingsandevents.blogspot.com Joyful Weddings and Events

    amen. boundaries. I always need to be reminded of that!

  • http://www.beinspiredpr.com Leila

    ladies! i am preaching to myself too.. Boundaries are key and i have to be reminded of them too. Thanks for being a constant source of inspiration!!

  • http://www.alysewoodwardblog.com Alyse Woodward Events

    Preach! Couldn’t agree more. So hard to implement – but so true.

  • Raquel

    Hi Leila, Thanks so much for telling it like it is, although I am completely guilty of replying to e-mails at all hours of the night. I have spoiled my clients over the years by trying to respond to their e-mails within minutes. Now that I am launching my own wedding and event planning company I might have the best opportunity to start fresh in setting reasonable boundaries. Although the majority of us agree with your post, it’s still nice to see it in writing as a solid reminder that we all need to maintain a healthy balance between our careers and personal lives, and truly take the time to enjoy our journeys.

  • http://www.weddingandromance.com Roslina Juri | Wedding & Romance

    Leila, such a great post, and timing is so appropriate for me . I would like to refer and share this post with others in my blog.

  • http://www.jldesignsandevents.com JL_DESIGNS

    O-M-G…nail on the head! people don’t understand that as a floral designer, i am NOT at my desk all day…i am out..running around, shopping for events, gaining inspiration for events, meeting new vendors, meeting new clients, etc. – not to mention trying to have a life and spend time with my family…it’s really hard to find balance and i still haven’t figured it out after 5 years! i think it’s something i will always struggle with and i appreciate the people that love me enough to wait and be patient…makes me go above and BEYOND for them in the long run because i know they have given me the time and flexibility i need as a designer…

  • http://www.iloveswmag.com Emily @ Southern Weddings

    Love this post – thanks so much for the boundaries reminder! It still surprises me when people email me on Saturday, then follow up on Sunday asking me why I haven’t responded yet. Whoa now!

  • http://www.zenadiadesign.com Heidi @ Zenadia

    Great post Leila. I think it’s so important to set a work schedule and try and stick to it so as to have time for your personal life! Of course, getting back to people in a timely manner is important, but not at all hours of the night. =) Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Jessa

    I don’t work in the wedding industry, but this totally speaks to me! I think women can especially relate balancing work, family, kids! It’s so true… we CHOOSE our lifestyle!

  • http://blairbrittevents.blogspot.com blair britt

    fantastic post… and so perfect, especially in the middle of the busy wedding season – thanks for the great reminder that we all need to take a step back from time to time and just breathe!

  • http://www.paperfinger.com Bryn at Paperfinger

    Ah, feels so good to read this and feel totally understood! Great inspiration and encouragement, Leila.

  • http://www.cobblestonerueblog.com Joy Nudd

    I am a big fan of your insights, totally agree! Thank you for posting!

  • http://www.erinadamsevents.com Erin Adams

    Thank you! I needed to “hear” this today.

  • http://Www.ashleybrockinton.com Ashley Brockinton

    Amen. Sometimes I feel like I’m expected to be robot perfect and it’s exhausting. Thank goodness for family and close friends!

  • http://www.all-things-simple.com Tamiko – All Things Simple

    This was a good reminder about balancing all the components of our life. I like the idea of setting time to respond to phone calls and messages. As Janine stated above, we have to remember that the standard we expect a response is the same standard that we should provide. I am like you Leila, I send an email, if no response in a week, I send another with maybe a phone message as well. I am a big email/text communicator and I realize that not everyone checks their emails on a regular basis. Using the phone does add that personal touch. So, if I am not able to return a phone call right away, I will then respond with a text or email at least it something to acknowledge I hear them.

    Again, thank you for this reminder.