The PR Handover - a lot like a big cake…

Niall Hughes, senior account manager, Clarion Communications

It’s gone 8pm, you’re still in the office and you’ve been working solidly for nearly 10 hours - but you’re not stressed out, you’re not frantically pacing by the printer waiting for your press packs for tomorrow’s event to come out, or slowly clearing time ahead of tomorrow’s big national sell-in...
No, you are finishing a document you started days ago - or at least should have. This document will, in one fell swoop, clear your time tomorrow, it will excuse you from tomorrow’s events and mean that you don’t have to reply to the mass of ‘challenging’ people on you clients’ Twitter feeds in the morning.

As any PR will recognise, it’s the handover ritual before you go off on holiday for a whole week or more to enjoy a blissful lack of actions, timelines and responsibility.

But then, just before you press Send you ask yourself the one question that will niggle at you for at least the rest of the day: “did I remember everything?”  You know you checked the timelines and your To Do list, plus you did a verbal hand over, but was there something else that will incur that holiday-ruining call from the office, just when you have started to relax? The chances are that you’ve remembered it all, but given the plethora of seemingly disconnected tasks us PRs do in a day’s work, you run a good chance of hearing these words, “Sorry to call you while you’re on holiday, but…”.

You would think that is the main stress a PR could face in handing over, but you’d be wrong. The more worrying thought should be “Has working overtime all week to get as much done as possible before I go made it look like I don’t actually do anything?”

Now there’s one to worry about. The answer is hopefully No – well I hope so… In my humble opinion I don’t think large handovers are a good thing; it doesn’t necessarily show that someone’s doing a lot, but might show that they haven’t been doing that much at all.

So before I jet off to Bulgaria for a week of 32oC sunshine, here’s a small thought. Handover notes are a lot like an XXL birthday cake: yes it looks impressive, but you’ll probably change your mind when you’re still eating it a week later with no-one to share it with.

PS. I want cake

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