Young PR Pros: Episode #68 – Peer Pressure

peer pressure
This week, Kristine D’Arbelles (no, this is not a new host – remember, Kristine got married) and Julia Kent talk about peer pressure.

Often times as young professionals we feel intimidated in a meeting room with senior managers and vice presidents. When asked our opinion, we might bite our tongue and go with the room to please everyone. However, this is not always good for you and your career, or even for the company you work for.

We got this week’s topic idea from Big Leap Creative in their article titled What 5th Grade Peer Pressure Can Teach Us About Achieving Success. Lisa Gerber shares the story of how her sister went against her whole classroom because she knew she was right.

She was proud of herself back then for taking the risk and being the only one in the room to raise her hand for the right answer. It’s too bad, she said, that she only did it 80 percent of the time, but she couldn’t muster the nerve all five times. It’s much easier to go with the majority and she had run out of energy.

Kristine and Julia talk about stricking the balance between observing from your senior managers and sharing your opinion when you feel they are wrong. We have to be honest with ourselves, we are less experienced, so we might be wrong in our thinking and trusting those with more experience can pay off. However, a fresh pair of eyes sometimes is exactly what a communications project needs.

It is important to find the right balance and that is why we recommend finding a work place that allows you to freely share your opinion and ideas as well as explains why your ideas might or might not work.

We want to heat from you. Did you ever speak up during a meeting to share your opinion. How was it received? You can post your comment below or on our Facebook Page, or on our Google+ page, or in our LinkedIn group, or on Pinterest, or send us an email at, or send us a message on Twitter @youngprpros@kristinedarbell or @kentjulia.

4 Replies to “Young PR Pros: Episode #68 – Peer Pressure”

  1. I really appreciate this podcast, and this exercise involving the 12-year-old little girl. What gets me the most, is even though I am an outspoken person, I really hate thinking differently as a group. And there are times I don’t agree with the group for a reason but for some reason I don’t want to speak up and explain why I don’t agree. I guess I am scared to be called out, and being asked questions that the rest of the groups aren’t being questioned. But, shouldn’t I be more scared for biting my tongue? As a PR professional, we have to voice our opinions and there is a good chance that our answers could either a) answer correctly and raise other questions or b) learn from our mistakes and remember it. From now on I promise to speak up when I know (think) I am right.

  2. Hi Kate! We are glad you enjoyed the episode. We understand how you feel. It is not easy to speak out. As long as it is said in a respectful manner you should not be afraid to share your ideas. Good luck Kate!

  3. Kristine and Julia,
    This makes me so happy. Your discussion is an awesome one. Totally agree that speaking up is important when it’s done with respect. Also, choose your battles. If you’re doing it all the time, it can become tiresome.
    I’m working with a team right now where everyone just compliments each other and pats each other on the back. To me, that is far more dysfunctional than one that can debate respectfully. We have to challenge ideas, whether our challenges prevail or not.
    Thanks SO much for sharing that story. I’m glad it inspired this wonderful and important discussion.

  4. Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for listening! the “yes-man” syndrome, where people just say yes to all you ideas because they are afraid of hurting your feelings. It is important to be critical and objective, while still being respectful.

    However, I know it is easier said than done.

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