The importance of asking the right questions

In PR Thoughts by Ethan Rasiel2 Comments

Yesterday I got a haircut and the barber asked me “should I use scissors or clippers?”

Well…I just don’t know. Probably there are pros and cons of each, or there wouldn’t be an option. But a good barber would ask me what style I wanted, and recommend the appropriate tools for accomplishing it. After all, when I get my tires rotated the mechanic doesn’t ask me if I want him to use a ratchet or a wrench.

Made me think about the questions that some PR pros ask their clients – and I’ve been on both sides of that conversation.

“Would you like us to write a press release about this?”

“Are you interested in speaking opportunities?”

“Do you prefer that we measure results in impressions or ad equivalency?”

If you’re an expert in a field – whether it’s cutting hair, fixing a car, or doing PR – don’t ask your customers to tell you how to do your job. Ask them what are their needs, what are their goals, and what represents success. Ask them what assets are available and ask them about timeline and budget.

Then give them your recommendation for how to get there.



  1. Great point, Ethan. That really does apply to any industry. I deal with that regularly from programmers in fact. Instead of telling them to use AJAX or some javascript here or there, they often tell me to just explain what I want to happen, and they’ll figure out the best way to execute it.

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