Cover image via Bustle.
I’m proud to say that I’ve watched the entire series of “The Office” four or five times and consider myself a true fan. I’m sure there are a few of you reading this and getting competitive saying, “Ha, but I’ve watched it SIX times!”
There’s no denying that we’re an office who loves “The Office” (this isn’t the first time we’ve written about it). And while most of us are still cramming in one last Netflix binge of the series before it leaves the platform in 2021, it’s safe to say that the sitcom has made an impact on millions.
The end of the year is often a time of reflection, and with the decade coming to a close, it’s hard not to think about all the life lessons I’ve learned from my favorite TV show. But this is a PR blog, so let’s keep it on brand. Below, I present to you the six valuable PR lessons I’ve learned from watching America’s beloved sitcom “The Office.”
How to embrace the chaos.
The underlying theme of “The Office” is the constant chaos in each episode. Whether it was Dwight’s fire drill (S5E14), the infamous lip dub (S7E1) or the Office Olympics (S2E3), there was never any shortage of pandemonium. The same can be said for the world of PR – while we might not be breaking out in choreographed lip dubs, we have our fair share of craziness.
But while each episode has its own disorder, the Scranton branch still remains one of the top branches within the company – it has the best sales. In PR, each day comes with its own new set of challenges. Add that on top of juggling issues for a handful of other clients at the same time, and you have a recipe for chaos. But if there’s one thing I’ve noticed about PR pros, it’s that we thrive in chaos. No matter what’s going on, it’s up to us to remain calm and think clearly for our clients. So instead of letting the chaos take over, accept that its bound to happen and let it be your motivation.
The importance of creating (and keeping) close relationships.
Michael may have an unorthodox approach to keeping track of Dunder Mifflin clients (the Rolodex contact list in S5E24), but it works for him.
In PR, having close relationships with reporters or other media contacts can go a long way. Once you’ve created an initial relationship, continue to foster that rapport. Interact with them on social media, follow up with new story ideas, congratulate them on life updates, etc. Not only does it show that you care, but it shows that you pay attention and have done your research.
Don’t be afraid to share your big ideas.
Darryl is a great example of someone who spoke up about his ideas and was rewarded. He worked his way up from the warehouse to having his own office. In S6E19, he proposed a new shipping plan to Jo, the CEO of Sabre. She’s so impressed that she ends up promoting Darryl and giving him his own office.
This should be something you do both professionally and personally – never sell yourself short on the ideas you have. That’s a big reason why we have account teams at Dittoe PR – each client has an account team, which is comprised of three to five employees at every level. What I’ve learned is that no matter what “level” I’m at, it’s important for me to always speak up and share my ideas or opinions. My idea might be something no one has thought about, and it provides a different point of view.
Outside of account teams, we also often hold company brainstorming sessions when a client has a “big” idea – when this happens, it’s all hands on deck. During these types of brainstorming sessions, we want people to share their ideas, no matter how big or small. So, speak up! What you suggest could inspire another idea or create a new conversation.
Never give up.
In S4E2, we see Michael technically finishing the 5K he organized for the office – he almost quit after carbo loading on fettuccine alfredo, but is inspired to finish after seeing Jim and Pam. That same episode, we also see Jim and Pam finally become a couple, after Jim spent years admiring Pam from afar.
Jim’s determination to “win” over Pam is a victory in season four – with little to no hope at times, he ends up with the woman of his dreams. Similarly, PR pros can work and work and work with no return – instead of giving up, we often just need to change our approach or strategy. If we let every “no” from a reporter deter us, we’d never get anything done. Turn that “no” into a lesson or even a motivation.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky” – Michael Scott
This quote (of a quote) speaks for itself. Don’t give up, work hard, take a chance.
While “The Office” is full of nonsense and constant one-liners, there are still many lessons to be learned in each episode. Outside of the sitcom, we’re constantly learning from others in our own office and trying to better ourselves through our four core values.
Think you’d make a great addition to our team? Check out our careers page to learn more about positions and contact Greta Snell, Director of Accounts, at greta [at] dittoepr.com to inquire about open positions and submit your materials.