We had a chat with Nick Hindle about what makes a PR Pro
Role: Former SVP of Corporate Affairs at McDonald's Europe Twitter: @nickhindle Nick Hindle was featured in the 2015 PR Week Global Power Book. As part of our #PRProSeries, Janie Emmerson, MD of Communications at Hanson Search, interviewed Nick to find out how he made it in the industry. Why did you get into communications? I fell into it many years ago. It was not by design, but once I was in I got the bug very quickly. There are a few things that attracted me to it, which have stayed true throughout my career. One is the real enjoyment I get from understanding how to create a narrative and a set of ideas that will engage people. I think that is a fascinating part of what we do. The second is that we are fortunate to work closely with leaders and leadership teams. We are often part of the decision making process. This has increased over my time in the industry, as the need to listen and to be understood by stakeholders has become more important to success and therefore more valued. The third is the variety. There aren’t many roles where you’re able to get involved in every aspect of an organisation. We get a window into what people in other departments are doing. We’re able to better understand how they think, what makes them tick, their expertise, ambitions and concerns. What personal attribute has most helped you succeed in your career? Two ears, one mouth. And, thanks to my upbringing and education, an ability to get on with people from all walks of life. What would you say has been the biggest challenge that you’ve overcome? I would say it’s one that a lot of us share and that is a dismissive attitude by some towards what we do, best summed-up in the words PR Puff. This is far less prevalent than it once was - thank goodness - particularly around the leadership table. However, we must accept that we have played a part in allowing these perceptions to be created. Sometimes we are not clear enough about the value of what we do and don’t work hard enough to quantify it – people who come across as being hard to pin down can be annoying. Who would you say has been the most inspiring person you’ve worked with? Steve Easterbrook. He believes in hiring experts and empowering them to get on with their jobs. He wants diversity of experience and expertise throughout his team. He has excellent analytical skills and judgement. And finally he is brave. I think that courage is often one of the most under-valued leadership qualities. What is the best piece of career advice you’ve been given? Have the confidence to step out of your comfort zone - put your hand up to try new things. In ten years’ time, what do you think will be the biggest change in the global communications industry? I hope there will be much more diversity in the industry. At the moment, we still feel relatively one-dimensional in the way that we hire and develop people. PR has become a harder industry to get into. In a way, that’s improved the talent, but I’m not sure it’s improved the diversity of background and thinking. Technology enables us to find talent through different channels and it enables talented people to showcase their skills. This should remove barriers to entry and that’s incredibly exciting. What would you say are the three words that best describe you as a communicator? Thoughtful, collaborative and determined. Apart from your current role, what would be your dream role within communications? Anything that has a significant challenge. I’m drawn to organisations that understand the value of trust, which often means that they’ve suffered from a significant loss of it and need to re-build trust through their actions and communication. In sport, FIFA is a good example. In my opinion, it has lost trust because of a catastrophic failure in leadership, but great leadership is now required to re-build that trust. In commerce, a good example is the banking sector. It has a long journey to redemption, yet it is critical to the economy and people’s everyday lives, so trust is a currency that they need to understand and deal in far more effectively.