I spy with my little blue-green eyes… something… more useful in a PR agency than I could have ever anticipated — attention to detail.
During my interview last month with Airfoil Senior Account Executive Angela Leon, I asked what
qualities she felt I could bring to Airfoil. One of the things she highlighted was my attention to detail on projects as it contributes to the overall presentation and effectiveness of an assignment.
Her response got me thinking as to how I might have acquired this stand-out characteristic that is useful to any PR agency.
My choice to add “attention to detail” to the resume sitting in front of Leon and listed under the “Specialties” section of my LinkedIn profile was not made from a “Top 10 PR Traits” list. This rather tailored development was going to be my strongest ammunition for what was to come from a fast-paced, boot camp learning experience I began during my first month at Airfoil.
During group projects in college, I was usually the designated person to give the presentation the final edits and choose the complementary graphics, layout and design. I was the event organizer running around stuffing flower vases (gracefully of course) just minutes before check-in at the annual luncheon. I matched the color of my course’s folders to their respective notebooks and organize much of the rest of my life this way. I was the waitress at the restaurant sorting the jelly bins by flavor and making sure that the pies in the dessert cases were divided on each shelf evenly and, of course, by flavor.
The small things make a big difference, and I reinforce this for myself by recalling something Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said about attention to detail: “I try to do the right thing at the right time. They may just be little things, but usually they make the difference between winning and losing.”
Admittedly, sorting jelly packets on the clock might not have been the best use of my time as a waitress, however doing so has proven useful as I further develop my public relations career.
I can dig even deeper and explain why I tend to focus on details and why I even pay attention to things standing out in the first place.
Thank you, childhood obsession with the downright challenging and inspiring illusions of “I SPY” and “Where’s Waldo?” books. Thanks to every family member who purchased one of these for me as a birthday present and every person who found the tiny hand mixer faster than me. Thank you, red and white striped beach towels for tricking my brain into thinking that I finally found Waldo.
For this I salute you. Now when someone at Airfoil asks me to take a second look at a deck and I find a missing slide number in a sequence, I know what to attribute that to. I have learned that paying attention to detail is critical to business at all levels in an agency and positively impossible to ignore.
My recommendations for a PR professional’s summer reading list are not all found in the business section of Barnes & Noble. If you venture over to the children’s section during your next visit, you might just spot the one that is green… or red… or yellow… or blue.
-- Stephanie Oben is an intern at Airfoil Public Relations, a high tech PR agency with offices in Detroit and Silicon Valley.