In retrospect the adage – like most adages probably – is partly right. Professional networking has always been a major feature on the PR industry. Some would argue to its detriment.
The term does conjure up the worst sort of oleaginous PR man, ‘working the room’ with the intention of greasing as many palms as possible. And many a journalist has felt the need to magnify this caricature of the slippery PRO, who tells people what they want to hear, but rarely the truth. There may indeed be a few of these characters kicking around the sector, but in reality they won’t go very far.
PRWeek has decided to investigate further the practice of networking with a two-part feature on the concept, beginning this week.
Partly as a bit of fun we surveyed leading journalists about which PR people they felt were the best-connected in their fields. The results should surprise few who know the British media well. But it is enlightening to know that the three ‘winners’ fly in the face of the damaging stereotype.
Lord Bell, Alan Parker and Alan Edwards are all charming in person, certainly, but thankfully this is just one facet of their personalities.
Each of them – through hard work and, moreover, delivering what they said they would – retains the genuine trust of dozens of top people in public life.
Many a prime minister, chief executive or A-list celebrity has occasionally put their career in the hands of these men. If they had failed their client, they would not still be at the top of the profession.
PR people should be proud to be part of a business where personal trust, influence and tangible achievement are the keys to long-term success.