With the nation’s school leavers put out of their post-exam misery, it felt timely to talk about the lesser known ‘post-exam period’: the post-pitch waiting room.
Unlike the hedonistic school leavers who have a summer of festivals, interrailing in Europe, gringo trailing in South America or just hanging around parks with a fruit cider and bag of Kettle Chips, in the great world of PR, we don’t have the luxury of staving off D-Day style decisions in a haze of sun (rain) filled days full of hope and expectation. Instead, it is a constant wild ride of preparing, pitching and waiting, mixed with a heavy dose of angst.
Now, this is all part and parcel of the unpredictable and exhilarating nature of the new business beast, the incredible (all natural) high that comes with the pitch, is followed by the real low of waiting to hear our fate.
This can be hard to navigate, with the waves of queasy anticipation creeping up when you least expect and nervous energy coursing through you, how does one stay sane? So I took the liberty of adapting some advice for school leavers:
1. It’s good to talk – in the same way exams ending can leave you feeling bereft and without purpose, post-pitch can have the same effect, when the daily meetings and constant messages die down as you wait for the result, chatting amongst the team helps readjust and relive the moments of the pitch and how we got there helps fill the void, and after all that void is never there for long
2. Celebrate what happened – as with exams, it’s easy to wait until the official results to celebrate but getting to pitch and pitching itself is something to take a (brief) moment to reflect and acknowledge and take pride in what you achieved
3. Distract – we may not have two months of lounging on a beach or raving at Reading like the school-leavers, but the good news is that PR is a constant hamster wheel that you never seem to get off, so chances are there will be another brief/project client that needs you so get stuck into that, which helps keep the queasiness at bay
4. Memes – when the anticipation gets too much some light relief by the way of gifs and memes never fails, we are British after all
5. Remember, it’s all meant to be fun (and relative) – as Jezza Clarkson’s reminds us yearly academic results does not equal life success, and the same can be said for New Biz. The cliché ‘passion led us here’ can mean you take it all very seriously, it is the fun part, and in the grand scheme of PR not ER there will be other pitches and bigger and/or better opportunities (I’ve heard Clarkson is available for activity if the opportunity so arises).
When judgement day does arrive and the result isn’t what you hoped, then look to how your younger self coped on a similarly fateful day. Shock at the result, wallow in the injustice, distract with some high octane evening activity (frozen margs a must) and do your best to forget the trials of the day. Come the morrow, wake up, ignore the fuzzy feeling something less than ideal happened last night, load up on carbs, dust yourself off and repeat after me ‘onwards’.