Student-run PR agencies and improvisation are not as far apart on the spectrum as one would think.
In 2011, comedic genius and writer of the greatest movie of our generation, Tina Fey wrote a book that would change everyone’s life forever. “Bossypants” has been named a bestseller on a plethora of lists including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. It was even voted Amazon’s “Best Book of 2011” and for good reason.
“Bossypants” is an autobiography chronicling Fey’s adventures through life. She shares her success story, her thoughts on the Internet, and essays about the unrealistic standards women face all while making the reader fall on the floor laughing. Inside the book, she explains four simple rules that push an improvisation scene forward. Improvisation is exactly how it sounds. Two or more people work together to create a scene by making the premise, scenario, and dialogue up as they go along. The four principles Fey explained in her book transcend improvisation and apply to the world of public relations and student-run agencies.
1. Agree and Say Yes – saying yes means agreeing with whatever your partner has created. This magic word means you will remain open minded. Student run agencies work the same way. We are in the business of saying yes, because we are here to serve clients in the community. Fey explains that you can’t always say yes in real life which is true, but shutting the door completely will motivate your client to go elsewhere to have their needs met.
2. Yes and- Once you’ve agreed with your partner’s logic you must add something to the scene to keep it alive. The same rule pertains to an agency. PR agencies dedicate hours of the day to brainstorming because PR professionals bleed creativity. It is an agency’s job to exceed their client’s expectations. They do so by adding creative elements or tactics (promotional material, events, hashtags) to the objectives their client has expressed.
3. Make Statements – Whatever the problem is, be part of the solution. This is arguably the reason why student run PR agencies were created. Communities, companies, businesses, everyone wants to flourish. They can do so by crafting their brand. People buy into a good story, an honest story. Student run PR agencies are here to be part of the solution, to help their clients gain by telling their stories.
4. THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, only opportunities – Accidents are going to happen. Just like scenes in improvisation fail so do student run PR agencies. You set measurable goals to achieve and sometimes you don’t reach them. It’s okay. Take that opportunity to evaluate how to achieve that goal next time. Failure is apart of life. You can’t achieve greatness until you’ve failed.