Small PR gestures

      9 Comments on Small PR gestures

Jim McCann of

Last week, Hofstra’s Vice President for University Relations, Melissa Connolly, visited my PR Fundamentals class, as she’s done in the past. She talked about her job, its breadth of scope, its challenges and rewards, and the career path that brought her to the campus. Melissa was honest and engaging, and she left my students with a better understanding of what a PR professional does.

We followed her talk with a discussion about developing a professional network, and I shared a personal story about the time I met Jim McCann, the founder and CEO of, at a friend’s daughter’s bat mitzvah. My friend handled PR for the company, and having read McCann’s book and admired his success, I asked for an introduction. He couldn’t have been nicer, and we finished our five minute chat by exchanging business cards.

The next morning I received an email from Mr. McCann–an extraordinarily successful businessman who meets dozens of people every day–saying how good it was to have chatted with me, and if he could be of assistance to me in the future, I should call. That small PR gesture was superbly memorable, because it only took him a few seconds to acknowledge our meeting and, with it, he made a lasting impression.

I told my students they could take a lesson from my McCann experience and write a note to Melissa Connolly. Less than 24 hours later, Melissa emailed me to say she received several thank yous from my students. It was gratifying to know they got the message: a small gesture showing appreciation can go a long way toward enhancing (or starting) your professional network. Now these students have made a PR connection that they may, on appropriate occasions, use again.

Woody Allen famously said, “Ninety percent of life is just showing up.” As a networker from way back, I know just what he meant. Your thoughts?

9 thoughts on “Small PR gestures

  1. Rachel_Lynn_Gonzalez

    The PR professors at Hofstra have always stressed to us the importance of networking. Especially with the rise of social media and how easy it is nowadays to connect/stay connected with people, networking can undoubtedly have its perks. I can think of countless people who have successfully networked and is now employed because they used their connection they made. This article goes to show that little gestures can mean the world of a difference, especially in the PR world. I will remember this!

  2. Matt Garcia

    Networking is definitely one of the most important parts of becoming a great PR professional. It’s also great when you can meet PR professionals in a different setting. I’m sure when you met Jim McCann, it was much easier to remember you through the bat mitzvah, as opposed to a networking event or something like that.

  3. Andrew Katz

    Hearing a story like this truly amazes me. We are always placed in certain situations or run-in with people we often forget about or don’t make an effort to get to know them any better. A simple one minutes chat could result in a future friend, business, or employment relationship. A piece of paper or business card can actually lead to success and opportunities.

  4. Kimberly Caro

    I love this story! Follow up is extremely important, especially in the PR industry. I have heard from many of my internship supervisors how much they enjoy a well written thank you note or email. After an internship or job interview I always send a thank you email and I make sure to include something myself and the interviewer spoke about to make the note more personal. Through my experiences with PRSSA I have also seen the success of sending thank you notes. After hosting a speaker or having guests at a networking event, our chapter always send thank you notes and the guests appreciate it so much that they often request to be asked back for future events. A small gesture can really go such a long way.

  5. jkleid

    My mom has always drilled it into my head to send thank you notes, and I definitely think the gesture goes a long way. Receiving a “thank you” can make a real impact on a person and it shows that you care. It is definitely necessary to send thank you notes to potential employers and business contacts, and may make all the difference when that employer is hiring.

  6. Jenn Picard

    I literally follow-up with every experience I encounter, whether it be a coach I meet at tournament, a person who interviewed me, or even a successful businessmen I waited on at work. Connections are SO important, and as a graduating senior I’m beginning to realize just how important. Every interview I’ve gotten this semester has been through knowing someone, not from applying to jobs from websites such as careerbuilder and monster (which aren’t good at all!). Even some more advice is to never burn your bridges; if you had a bad experience at an internship, job, or even with a friend always find a way to make that relationship better. In the end, you just never know who you’re going to turn to.

  7. Abby Littleton

    After reading this, I decided to send a note to the woman who interviewed me for an internship. You made some very good points in this post.

  8. laurencona

    I have always been told to follow up any type of meeting with a thank you note preferably written. This is out of the norm for today and people tend you remember you more. It is a small gesture that shows great appreciation for the conversation that was had and that is important when networking.

  9. juliachappell

    My mom has always groomed me in the good manners of thank you notes, I think that principle applies fittingly to the business world. I also think these kinds of gestures are not only important for building business network, but for being a good person and making connections with people.


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