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After getting back from a recent five-day trip to Lake Powell where we lounged on a houseboat, explored the canyons and partook in our fair share of water sports (insert jealous comments here), I finally learned to water ski.

When I returned to the office this week, it occurred to me that some lessons in water skiing are the same lessons that you would use in PR – or in any industry for that matter. They include the following:

Concentration – Focus is key; whether it’s remembering to keep your arms straight and legs bent in the water or to keep the end goal in sight, so as to not fall down (in the water or in life), PR pros must always concentrate on the goals at hand for each client.

Strength – Not only do you have to have strength to get up and stay up on skis while going over the wakes, but PR pros need to have strength when dealing with clients who think they know PR better than you do, dealing with reporters looking for the inside scoop on a deadline (or those who are turning down your pitch), etc.

Ambition – If you want to do any fancy tricks on the water, you need to have that drive, ambition and courage; same goes for scoring that front page story in the paper. Take a risk and work to make it happen.

Goals – While my first goal was to actually get up on the skis, I made another to at least go over the wake and back. Can you say success?! As PR people we’re constantly making/completing goals for clients. Getting up on the skis meant it was time to cross the wake, which meant the next goal is to try a trick (maybe I’ll do that next time). Same in PR; be it writing that press release, developing a social media campaign, pitching local and national stories, and so on.

Balance - This is of utmost importance when on two water skis. If you don’t hold your balance you'll ultimately fall. As PR pros we're sometimes juggling upwards of 10-20 clients so balancing out your work between clients, in addition to having a work/life balance, is vital.

In any sport, we always learn something to help us in life or learn lessons that help us in business (there's no “I” in TEAM). What lessons have you learned from sports that compares to our everyday duties as PR professionals?

Kendra Schultz
Kendra Schultz
A former HMA Public Relations employee.


  1. I have a friend who has told me on more than one occassion that he will not hire a person unless they have participated in team sports at some level. It could have been Little League baseball, a cheer or dance line, rugby or whatever. He says the lessons learned there translate to the workforce.

  2. Beth says:

    Great post. And, “Practice makes Perfect”.

  3. Stephanie Lough says:

    One to add – take risks and don’t be afraid to fall. Of course, this doesn’t mean attempting getting big air on your first run, but you can’t be scared to try something new. If you fail, get back on and try again, and hopefully learned from your mistakes!

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