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What I’ve always known brought back to life at the Sports PR Summit

Image of Amy Littleton and team at the Sports PR Summit

I have always known that communication is important. From my mother telling me to look people in the eyes and have a firm handshake as a child, to leading PR programs today as a communications professional in sports and business. Yet sitting at the Sports PR Summit this week, the importance of communication and the role of the communicator was brought back to life.

In the words of Mallory Pugh Swanson, “Pretty much every fire can be put out with communication. Communication is the most important thing. I will die on the hill for that.” Every issue, every opportunity, every pursuit requires it, and those who do it well are the most successful.

When J.A. Adande sat with renown sports journalists Michele Steele and Gene Wojciechowski, they said repeatedly that PR pros, in sports and otherwise, must be transparent, honest and accessible. And, while we already know this, it is sometimes not easy to accomplish when dealing with clients and leaders who might have the instinct to hide, spin or obstruct.

This is where trust comes in. Sports PR leaders Julian Green of the Chicago Cubs, Patrick D. Sandusky of the Chicago Bulls and Sheena Quinn of the Chicago White Sox sat with Chicago sports reporter Dionne Miller and famed journalist Joe Favorito. Their advice? Build relationships with clients and leaders, so that they trust you to provide sound counsel and to help them through difficult situations. “Being a trusted advisor for your owner or business leader is paramount. You must build that trust with solid counsel. They are counting on your judgment.”

And, then we got to the big boss. One of the most candid and straight-talking guys out there, Indianapolis Colts General Manager Chris Ballard. Full of nuggets of gold advice, he said, “Mistakes are portals of discovery”. Isn’t that the truth. We hate to make them, but we sure do learn a lot when we do. “Have a humble spirit. Hire good people, and let them work.” And most of all, “Don’t make excuses.” (FYI, making excuses will get you fired from his team.)

If you weren’t in the room at the Sports PR Summit this year, you truly missed out. I share these bits of advice from the day with you, but also share my own advice – next time, make the time. There is incredible power when leaders in sports PR come together in a live environment.

If you were in the room, I look forward to staying in touch. Coming out of the Sports PR Summit, the team at Stretch PR is more energized than ever to lead powerful communications programs for our clients. Programs built on honesty, transparency, accessibility, passion and tenacity. Now, let’s get to work. No excuses.