Although I initially planned to immerse myself in opera and musical theater during college, my internships and extracurricular leadership roles guided me to another passion: communications. Now, a little over a year out of school, I’ve realized that many “theater-isms” and “opera-isms” also apply to public relations:
The show must go on. Performing in front of nearly 3,000 people at Lincoln Center isn’t exactly a tranquil experience, and it’s no secret that PR can be stressful as well. Both industries require calm and flexible demeanors under large amounts of pressure. Whether we miss a cue while singing or miss a bullet point during a presentation, both opera singers and PR pros must be able to recover quickly and keep the show moving along.
If you’re on time, you’re already late. There’s a reason opera singers arrive hours before our performances. Without a proper warm-up, we cannot perform at our best. The same goes for the PR world – but with a twist. The media landscape is so fast-paced, and if we’re not on top of a trend in the beginning, it’s probably already left us in the dust. We’re diligent about keeping a finger on the pulse so we don’t miss valuable opportunities for our clients.
You have to know a little bit about everything. As a music student at a liberal arts university, I not only learned about every aspect of performing, but I also studied science, history, literature and math. This also rings true at a generalist agency. We’ve had clients ranging from finance to fitness and just about everything in between. While we do our best to staff accounts that play to each team member’s strengths, we also get the opportunity to work with companies outside of our comfort zone and discover new passions every day.
Testing, testing 1, 2, 3. Both opera singers and PR pros need to make themselves heard – but in different ways. For opera singers, we physically need to make our voices heard to thousands of audience members – usually without any amplification. In the PR industry, it’s about our point of view. Whether it’s a high-pressure new business presentation or a quick internal brainstorm, contributing to the dialogue in a meaningful way is essential.
While I’m not on stage as often as I used to be, the PR industry allows me to bring different talents to the forefront and apply the opera skills I learned in school to my career. Whether securing a top-tier media opportunity, or making a good first impression with a client, PR pros can always find ways to shine.
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