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Back in business

Helen Byard

Last week, I stepped back into the MHP office for the first time in a year, having spent the last 12 months on maternity leave.

While I fully immersed myself in suburban life and enjoyed (almost) every minute, I was also ready to get back into the working world and use my brain for something other than meal planning and toy tidying (not to downplay the sense of real satisfaction these tasks can bring.)

It’s very easy to see these two worlds as completely different places with no parallel. But actually, there are a number of rules I lived by at home that can easily be transferred to working life.

So here are my Top 5 behaviours that I’m bringing back with me:

Keep it Simple

Particularly with my second daughter, I didn’t over-complicate anything. So we didn’t do a lot, but what we did, we did really well. That may have only been singing Baa Baa Black Sheep on repeat but we gave it our all, and were happier for it. Briefs, proposals and pitches can become a myriad of strategy, ideas and jargon. Strip it back and keep it there.

Trust Your Gut…

Whether you are wondering whether to take your toddler to the doctor with that barking cough, or considering whether an idea should be presented to a client, the answer is the same. Listen to your instinct and ignore it at your peril….

…But Get A Second Opinion

There is never any harm in getting another viewpoint from someone you respect and trust. I have learned a huge amount about parenting from listening to friends and sounding my thoughts out.

The opinion you get back might not be the same as yours in some way, but it also might add a whole new perspective to a question or challenge. No brief was ever won or retained by one person so use the amazing brains surrounding you, from the most experienced to those who are just starting out.

Plan to the Max

It’s a major requirement of our industry to be agile and think on our feet; it keeps us interested and ensures we’re constantly sharpening our skillset. However, a large part of work is project management and if you can get your account and time management in order – in a similar way to how nursery drop offs are timed with absolute precision – you give yourself a huge edge.

Tell A Compelling Story

Bedtime is a big deal in our house and if the voice of Paddington isn’t quite right, we’re in for a bumpy ride. What we do is no different – our job is to captivate an audience with a really great story. There are many different ways we do this but if we remember to inform, influence and in some cases, delight through what we say and do, we are staying true to our promise.

And finally, here’s an extra (but really important) one…

Enjoy The Moment

Parenting and PR are quite similar really; a heady mix of excitement, intensity, hard graft, strategic thinking and a healthy dose of creativity. And both are also a lot of fun. We are privileged to work in a fast-paced, challenging and unique industry that takes us in a number of unexpected and enriching directions throughout the course of our careers, so we need to remember that from time to time.

Take time to soak it up.