The Hollywood award season has started, and with it comes events and moments that make headlines. Like other award shows, the Golden Globes provide an opportunity for public relations practitioners and students alike to learn a myriad of lessons:
1. Be Prepared.
Acceptance speeches can be awkward to watch when they are not prepared beforehand. While winners face pressure and a limited time frame to thank those who assisted with their win, many struggle to find the words to do so. The nominees know that they have a chance of winning, and they should prepare for it in some way. Being prepared in this capacity applies to public relations. Practitioners have to be prepared for any situation – even if it never happens. Being responsible for a client or a company struggling to find the words to address a situation because there was no plan in place can be avoided through preparation.
2. Learn to think on your feet.
On the flipside, there will be situations where none of your plans in place will help with the situation. There may be a time where there is no time for planning. While addressing the attendees, Jimmy Fallon’s teleprompter malfunctioned and he had to improvise. Fallon was able to make a joke about the malfunction and connect it to another event that has been in the news recently. While using a Mariah Carey joke shouldn’t be the answer to a public relations situation, Fallon’s ability to use this joke and keep the show moving proves that there is value in being able to think on your feet.
3. Extensively check facts.
Any public relations practitioner or student understands what can happen when facts are wrong within pieces we write. Facts should also be correct within speeches or interviews. On the red carpet, a reporter called the movie “Hidden Figures,” “Hidden Fences.” During the award show, a presenter also confused these titles. While it was probably just a slip of the tongue, the reporter should have had knowledge of the movie titles if they were responsible for interviewing celebrities. The presenter may have read the card wrong, but since they were on presenting something on this large of a scale, they should have double checked the card before reading the winning title. In the same way, public relations practitioners should do everything in their power ensure that facts are correct.
4. Learn to manage unplanned headlines.
As a public relations practitioner, there is an understanding that many things that make headlines are unplanned. While there was a planned opening monologue and performance by Jimmy Fallon and other celebrities, the kiss between Ryan Reynolds and Andrew Garfield, that a camera caught while showing another winner accepting an award, has gained more attention. This unplanned moment within the show didn’t cause a situation that needed to be dealt with, but as professionals in the field, public relations practitioners need to understand how to deal with these unplanned events because sometimes they can be detrimental afterwards.
5. Social media is a PR tool.
Social media is becoming, or has already become, one of the most powerful public relations tools. With that being said, social media can also be damaging – a lesson that most public relations practitioners already know. During the Golden Globes, Twitter was utilized as fans showed support for or disagreed with the results. Viewers took to social media to comment on red carpet arrivals and acceptance speeches. Many praised Meryl Streep for her acceptance speech that criticized president-elect Donald Trump, and others agreed with Donald Trump himself who also took to Twitter to voice his opinion. Regardless of political opinion or belief, social media allows the public to be part of the conversation which can be a benefit, or it can be damaging. In either circumstance, a public relations practitioner needs to know how to utilize social media to also be part of the conversation with the purpose of supporting client and organizational goals.
Gabrielle Coy is a sophomore public relations major at Waynesburg University. She serves as the social media coordinator for Waynesburg PRSSA, as well as a project manager for Red Brick Communications. After graduation, Gabrielle hopes to pursue her passions within the public relations field and work within the nonprofit or crisis communication sector.