“Chopped”–where the race against time and the pressure of impressing judges join forces. Chefs on the Food Network show are constantly performing under seemingly impossible constraints, from having very limited time, to being in unfamiliar kitchens, to having cameras watching their every move.
Sound familiar? If you’re a public relations professional, “Chopped” might not be much different from your reality. These four facts of the PR life are constant occurrences on “Chopped”:
1. Deadlines are never ending.
PR practitioners are always on deadline. Whether you’ve got an announcement for a client tomorrow or a campaign due in a month, PR pros are always counting down the days until an event. Much like on “Chopped,” where contestants only have 20 to 30 minutes to make a high-quality meal, PR professionals may only have minutes to react to crises, news or competitors.
2. Everyone is watching you.
Especially in a crisis, all eyes are on you. On “Chopped,” contestants have lots of eyes on them, from the three celebrity judges to the cameras broadcasting the show nationally. In some instances, “Chopped” contestants nick their fingers as they wildly slice an ingredient. If the chefs don’t immediately stop what they’re doing and take care of their injury, the judges and “Chopped” crew remark on it–a mistake with clean up could cost the chef the competition.
This is just like the PR industry. In a crisis, all eyes are on you, the communicator. You have to know the right things to say (or to not say) when the media knocks on your door. You have to be able to handle tricky situations with speed and grace.
3. Testing the waters is a good idea.
When trying something new for a client, conducting research and testing is an integral part of the process. Conducting surveys and focus groups are two options when it comes to gaining real data on what your target audience wants and needs.
On “Chopped,” chefs must taste their food before serving it to the judges–in many cases, a taste test has saved contestants from serving undercooked or under-flavored meals. Just make sure that you don’t double dip with a dirty spoon.
4. You have to put in work to get results.
If you watch the show, you know to cringe when contestants crumble up an ingredient or leave it unchanged for a garnish. By taking the easy way out and not transforming ingredients, “Chopped” chefs often face the chopping block. If PR pros don’t take the time to develop the messages they are sending out, they won’t always get the expected results.
While “Chopped” can be likened to the PR world, there are many other television shows that reflect some of the challenges PR pros face. Which shows can you connect to public relations?