Monday, March 16, 2015

Have a Coke and a discussion

I learned a lot about life from my dad. He is a hard-working guy with a great outlook on life and one of the most personable people you could ever want to meet. (Most people, if they have met my dad, often remark that I am a chip off the old block)

Not my dad, but he slung a lot of cases
He worked for more than 40 years as a Coca Cola delivery driver in Teaneck, New Jersey. That was a tough job. I went with him on his delivery route, and believe me, it was backbreaking. And, he did this whether it was raining, snowing, hot or cold.

When I did go out with my dad on the route, I noticed a few things that never seemed to change.

  • He always had a smile on his face. Not sure how he was doing it, but he greeted everyone with a smile. Regardless of race, creed or color. From the lowliest stock clerk to the biggest store manager, everyone got the same treatment.
  • Everyone greeted him by name. Now, delivering soda on a route for nearly 40 years will surely put your name and your face out there for everyone to see, but it was a true genuine greeting. With humor. With caring. 
  • And, he always took time to listen to his clients. He knew when someone's daughter was about to graduate high school. He knew when someone was getting close to retirement. He just knew.

How does this apply to us as public information officers? Simple. Our clients are everywhere. Our management. Our media partners. Our public. Our other partners outside of our agencies.

The biggest lesson I learned from my dad in doing my job as a public information officer is to take the time to greet members of the media - even if it will be a difficult interview - with a smile and a handshake. And by thanking them for coming out for the interview.

And to listen to what the members of the public are telling us. And the department representatives who we have to work with to get a better understanding of what their goals are and how we can work together to communicate to our public.

Holding your public in high esteem can make your job easier. 
It has been said that courtesy is the lubricant of society. It allows us the opportunity to work together without too many points of friction. That can help make our jobs a whole lot easier.

A great lesson I learned from the Coke Man I call dad...

Tom Iovino, Public Relations Specialist
Hillsborough County, Florida

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