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As a child of the 80s, I often relate movies, music and other pop culture references to my daily life. Case in point: During my bi-weekly discussion with our intern, Sarah, we were going through her weekly public relations tasks. My brain scanned the vast 80s trivia knowledge and it dawned on me. I was Mr. Miyagi and she was Daniel-san. This was my chance to impart my useless 80s knowledge as a valuable teaching moment. There is a lot that can be learned about the art of public relations by applying the same principles as “The Karate Kid.”

Public Relations - Karate Kid

Newspapers, books, and “The Karate Kid”? These are all tools PR pros can use to master the craft of public relations.

Wax on, Wax off
Basic media relations knowledge can be learned through media monitoring and clipping placements. By repeating these tasks on a daily basis, you begin to learn about different media outlets, reporter’s names and their beats. So, when it comes time to pitch a reporter about a certain topic, you know who is most likely to cover it. Public relations professionals also can learn about the value of earned media through clipping and placement reports.

“Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything”
Something can be said about the value of patience, concentration and perseverance. Public relations professionals work hard developing and implementing strategic communication plans. A public relations campaign cannot be executed haphazardly. A successful plan is accomplished through careful and thoughtful planning, then carried out with hard work and discipline.

Crane technique
Mr. Miyagi tells his protégé, “Better learn balance. Balance is key.” A good public relations professional knows and understands balance. It’s so important that we’ve chosen it as one of three critical values that drive our work every day. Deadlines, client communications and workload can be balanced through excellent time management skills.

Don’t “sweep the leg”
During the final scene of the movie, Johnny’s sensai instructs him to “sweep the leg” of Daniel-san, and take him out of the competition. This is the exact opposite of what public relations professionals do. A main component of public relations is relationship building, whether it’s with the media or your client’s audience. It’s all about building trust.

My parting thought to public relations students and professionals? Just as Mr. Miyagi says to Daniel-san, “Don’t forget to breathe…important.”

What else can “The Karate Kid” teach you about public relations? Share your thoughts with me in the comments section.

Andrea Kenski is an Account Manager.

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