If you’ve got an issue, tell us the whole truth — especially the bad bits — and do it fast.

We can only help you get out of trouble, or stay out of trouble, if you tell us the unvarnished truth about the issues in the first place. (Even if you don’t have an issue as such, it’s worth alerting us to anything lurking in the background that might come to light if we are working to raise awareness of your organisation.)

A quality communications professional will not just help you communicate about an issue, but add their experience to addressing the question of how to actually deal with the issue at hand and the stakeholders affected.

Speed is of the essence. In the same way it’s easier to douse a campfire than put out a bushfire, it’s far more effective to intervene in an issue early in the piece than when it’s had an opportunity to fester and grow.

Keep us in the loop 
We’ve had clients ‘forget’ to mention that it’s their 20th anniversary year, or ‘not think’ to let us know that they’re holding a conference for all their major clients to roll out product improvements, or ‘not think it’s relevant’ that they’re speaking at a conference.

We’re not mind readers – tell us what’s going on, preferably well ahead of time, and we may be able to leverage it from a communications perspective. (Yes, it’s also our job to stay in touch and ask what’s going on!)

On a similar note, let us know how often you want to be communicated with what form works best (email, call, face-to-face) and when is the most convenient time for us to communicate with you. If month-end is hell for you, then let us know and we’ll try to save anything that’s not crucial until the next month.

Accept our news sense
It may be the biggest thing in your world that you’ve won an award, but if it’s not the Nobel Prize, it’s not national news and we would be wasting your money to no result by pitching it to Tier One media. The same goes for the fact that you’re participating in a trade show, or have recently won a new client. The good news is that such news might rate a mention in trade press, or in your local newspaper.

Let us help you be strategic with your communications budget
Tell us the business outcomes you want and challenge us to deliver a plan and activity schedule that will help get you there. Don’t tell us to “produce one media release a month” just for the sake of it. And, while you’re at it, measure us on our results, not on our output.

Realise that public relations is not just about traditional and social media
A good communications consultancy can also help you with a wide range of other services including internal communications, event management, speech writing, presentations, roadshows, advertising, market research, brochures, investor relations and more.

Respect our experience, particularly if there’s an issue brewing
An experienced communications consultant has seen a lot of water under the bridge and tried numerous approaches (and failed, too). If you are looking at a potential crisis, the last thing you want is your in-house marketing communications professional learning issues management on the job.

Back us up if we request it
Sometimes in-house staff can become threatened by the involvement of an agency, and refuse to play ball.

Keep it real
You know your business better than any consultancy. While an external view can be useful, please do challenge us if something we recommend raises red flags for you. A seasoned consultant should be more than happy to have a full and frank conversation.

If you’ve got a problem with our service, don’t let it fester.
Get on the phone to the agency owner, and get the problem nipped in the bud.

Don’t ask us to prepare a bid for you if you have no intention of hiring an agency and just want to steal our ideas. It’s rude. Plus, the ideas are only one part of the equation — and karma will mess you up on the execution.