When it comes to many professional engagements, often the "honeymoon phase" is the roughest. It's when both parties are balancing a number of things such as personality differences and determining the necessary next steps to put ideas into action. While there's a natural tendency among clients to try and take the "bull by the horns" during this phase, it's amazing sometimes what listening can accomplish.
I've written often about PR's struggle to get a "seat at the table" as many other consultants do. Making your PR counselor a critical part of your decision-making team may not seem intuitive or be easy, but if you're going to hold them responsible for results -- as you should -- then you should also listen to their recommendations and be willing to heed them when they're worthy of consideration.
One of the reasons to turn to a consultant over doing something yourself is to add objectivity to your decision making. When you get right down to it, almost anything that doesn't require a license can technically be done by a "do it yourselfer" who's willing to put in time and study. However, that doesn't mean it's a wise use of one's time and/or that the strategy will yield optimal results. Unfortunately, just as financial advisors often have to justify their fees to clients, PR counselors often have to work just as hard to not only justify fees but explain why they're better at executing a communications strategy than the client themselves.
There are a number of benefits to listening and considering objective communications counsel. For starters, anyone who's truly analyzed the typical elevator speech can tell you that they often don't deliver much of a value proposition. In other words, many people don't include information on what makes them unique over competitors and instead fill them full of jargon that most people outside the industry don't understand. If they had an opportunity to be on the receiving end of their own communications and listen to them objectively, many might even agree that their own strategy doesn't work. Yet, as much as we might try, objectivity isn't most people's strong suit. Given that, there can often be a lot of value in an objective third party and the counsel they provide.
Obviously, taking this route means giving up a bit of control -- something that's hard for a lot of individuals, especially entrepreneurs and those who have never hired a PR counselor before. However, if you've asked the right questions during the selection process and have enough information to feel confident you've made the right choice, be willing to relinquish some of that control and take their counsel. While it may be a struggle initially to let others manage these things, you're establishing a framework that greatly increases the likelihood you'll have a long-term relationship that will deliver a positive impact on your practice.