After moving to the Washington D.C. metro area in my early 20s, I found myself eager to participate in the phenomena of young professionals making the pilgrimage to Virginia’s wine country as a frequent weekend destination. The vast number of vineyards and wineries right outside the D.C. beltway offer an idyllic landscape to discover the humble wines of the region.
Entering this foreign world of wine offered me many lessons that can be applied to beginning a successful career in public relations.
Step outside your comfort zone.
Why can drinking wine at a winery be so intimidating? Stepping into an environment that encourages you to discuss your opinions and thoughts can be unnerving for some. Especially if you have no familiarity with the different types of wines, their origins, methods of creation, and features. Without stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things, you may lose out on new experiences to learn from.
The same could be said in public relations. It is so important to take risks, create new experiences, and build confidence in your skills.
Pay attention to your instincts.
It can be difficult to share your opinion with unapologetic confidence, especially when the topic of conversation is as subjective as taste. The best experiences I’ve had while wine tasting have been when a sommelier reassures me that there is no wrong answer when sharing your experience. In these circumstances, you must be able to trust yourself.
When entering the world of communications, it does you no good to second guess yourself. There are a lot of different and creative ways to approach the work. Each person’s life experiences have given them a lens to look at the world differently and each is of value. As you build experience and skills your confidence will also continue to grow.
There are nearly 200 different types of wines. Do you know them all? I don’t. And why should we pretend to know everything? Albert Einstein said, “When you stop learning, you start dying.” Give in to your curiosities—whether it be in work or pleasure—because you never know what you might learn or how you may grow. No matter if you are the most junior or the most senior member of a communications team, we all must keep developing our thoughts and ideas and never stop evolving.
Just like a fine wine, we will all become better with time. With these tips, I hope you too can build confidence in yourself and develop your public relations skills!