I’m fairly confident that the brilliant Councillor Ray Hassall, Lord Mayor of Birmingham didn’t begin that day two weeks ago thinking ‘Today I’m going to give that PR bloke something that he’s always wanted’. And yet, he did. Just because I asked and it was as simple as saying; “Your Worship, could I have a ride in your car please?”
I got a ride in LOM 1, Birmingham’s Mayoral Jaguar, along with a selfie with His Worship to prove it. On the same day, which was a mad dash topping out of four buildings with Colmore Tang Construction, I got selfies with two other mayors and even got to wear the official chains of the Mayor of Worcester. I don’t have mayoral or even political ambition, but for me it was a good bit of grown up fun.
This got me to thinking - which is a feat in itself - that as a confident communications professional I am happy to ask for what I want and even happier to ask for what clients want. But how many people wouldn’t? Please, people, if you want something which is perfectly reasonable or easily done, ask for it. Don’t rely on telepathy and just expect someone to know. On what will now be known as ‘Mayor day’, when I asked for selfies with their worships they genuinely seemed to be pleased to smile for the camera. I suppose if you’re a Hollywood A lister being continually asked, it might be very wearing after the fiftieth time.
I sometimes explain the benefit of being represented by a PR consultancy as the difference between the credibility of shouting ‘Look at me, I’m brilliant’, and someone else talking about you saying; ‘have you seen them? They’re brilliant’. And that’s one very good way of eliminating shyness as a reason why you shouldn’t get noticed. Unless of course, you’re a bit on the irritating side, in which case us saying it, or saying it yourself doesn’t make any difference.
Luckily we don’t have irritating clients, because everyone has been subjected to the loveliness test, which contains a section specifically designed to root out people who basically, well, irritate. Everyone knows someone, don’t they? Well, you can be confident that we don’t represent them.
I always recommend that people to directly ask us for what they want. Once we’ve stopped giggling we’ll have a think about how we can make it happen. We did actually have a suggestion for the potential client who wanted to see himself on the front page of The Sun. It’s a shame he didn’t go for it, because I don’t think that it would have necessarily meant a custodial sentence. But we’ll never know.
If you want to ride in the Mayor’s car, ask the Mayor. If you want to dance on the bar, ask the bar keeper. Maybe that’s a bad example, because by the time you’ve decided that’s what you want to do, you’re probably already teetering on a bar stool. But you get the point. Seize the day, seize the moment and even if it’s ridiculous and you are told no, it’s only a little bit embarrassing and at least you’ll have a story to tell.