Would You Like A Side Of Fries With That Press Release?

December 03, 2015
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Waiting tables is excellent training for a career in communications. A college degree is valuable, too, of course, but you won't learn the nuances that can make or break a client relationship sitting in a classroom the way you will by working in a restaurant.

If you want a crash course in crisis communications, teamwork and lots of other communications skills, grab an apron and start waiting tables on a busy Friday night. As a recent college grad and now assistant account executive on the BC team, many of the like skills I've gained working in restaurants since I was 16 are transferable to the communications field.

Whether you are selling a burger or pitching a prospective client, these seven tips can be the difference between success and failure.

1. Creating a bond is key: Whether it is small talk with a customer or establishing trust with a client, finding common ground fosters good will.

2. Attitude is everything: If you don't sound excited about today's special or a media opportunity, your customers or clients won't be either.

3. Be prepared: Come to the table (literally) and anticipate the answers to the questions your customers might ask. What's the soup of the day? Do you have gluten-free options? Same goes for working with clients: Do your homework and you'll inspire confidence.

4. Going above and beyond pays off: Bringing over a birthday dessert or landing a cover story makes for smiles all around.

5. Time management is huge: Waitressing is all about multitasking — delivering cheese curds to your four-top, dropping off the bill at Table 3, taking a drink order at your two-top. It's good preparation for managing the many tasks you'll encounter each day in the communications field.

6. Learn from your mistakes: Dropping a full tray of drinks or making a typo on a press release are things that will only happen once. Trust me.

7. Caffeine is essential: The quality of the work goes up proportionately to the amount of coffee consumed.

Take some advice from a full-time communications specialist and part-time waitress — remain cool under pressure, know when to ask for help and have fun, no matter the industry.

— Callie Murphy, assistant account executive