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What Communicators Can Learn from the 2018 Winter Olympics

March 2, 2018

PR Lessons from Pyeongchang

This year nearly 3,000 of the world’s best athletes came together in South Korea to showcase years of hard work and preparation. After two weeks of intense competition, the 2018 Winter Olympic Games have come to an end. While most companies don’t operate on the same scale of the Olympics, there are a few key takeaways that communicators can draw from this event.

Teamwork is Key

It’s true, every team member counts. Working in a multifaceted profession makes collaboration an essential factor for success. Creating effective campaigns, developing strategies and executing plans are rarely tasks for one person. The U.S. Men’s Curling Team brought this point home along with their first Olympic Gold in history when they defeated Sweden in a remarkable comeback. Team USA’s curlers worked together each step of the way, beating the odds and even three-time defending Olympic champion Canada, twice. Yes, individual expertise is important. However, the U.S. Men’s Curling Team is yet another reminder that it is the combined strengths of each member that ultimately gets the Gold.

Setting Goals Is Vital

Goals help to keep you focused and motivated. Whether creating a short-term campaign or a long-term plan, beginning with realistic and measurable goals is critical. In PR, professionals often establish goals for the agency and for each client. Ghanaian athlete Akwasi Frimpong echoed the importance of goal setting with his Olympic debut. The skeleton athlete had hopes of returning to Ghana with a medal and had three additional goals going into the 2018 Winter Olympic Games: to break barriers, to make history and to gain necessary experience for the 2022 Olympics. Though he finished his event with the slowest time and without a medal, he still chose to celebrate the small victories in a post-Olympic tweet. Just as an Olympic athlete, communicators won’t always win but it is important to continue setting new goals and monitoring the progress of those previously set.

Perseverance is Necessary

The ability to keep going even when the odds aren’t in your favor is what sets the good apart from the great. Canadian Snowboarder Mark Morris exemplifies perseverance through and through. The 24-year-old Olympian nearly died last year after crashing into a tree, breaking 17 bones, suffering a collapsed lung and ruptured spleen. He, however, refused to give up. After having multiple surgeries, he returned to his snowboard just 12 days later. While communicators don’t need to injure limbs to understand the impact setbacks can have, it is important to know how to recover and keep moving forward. Perseverance is just as important for communicators as it is for an Olympic athlete. Sending a pitch that doesn’t receive a response doesn’t mean to quit. Hearing a “no” from a first meeting with a potential client doesn’t mean to never try again. Perseverance is key and is the foundation for incredible success.

Tayla Young is an Intern at Bond Moroch.