If you asked the average person to describe a PR professional, what would they say? Aside from the belief that we attend boozy lunches and are “all the same” that is.
They might say that we’re outspoken or great networkers. Or maybe that we’re merely spin doctors that can talk our way out of anything. There is a perception that these traits are what make a person invaluable to the PR profession.
But what if you’re not an extrovert? I work in PR, but consider myself to be an introvert. Those two words don’t typically appear in the same sentence. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not shy. But in the world of business meetings and networking events, I’m never the one shouting the loudest. And in the past, this has led me to wonder whether I’m in the right profession. What I’m starting to realise is that there is in fact a place for introverts like me in PR. And here’s why…
We’re good listeners
While some people want to be the only voice heard, introverts prefer to listen. We usually assess a situation and think before we speak – an important skill in PR when you’re speaking on behalf of your clients. Our role is to listen to our clients to understand their objectives before deciding how best to deliver on them.
We’ve all been in a meeting with that one person who bursts in with a million bad ideas. But it’s always better to take the time to listen to what a client wants and to offer one great idea.
We observe our audience before speaking out
Introverts observe their audience and communicate sparingly, choosing quality over quantity. We’re perceptive to people’s needs and try to get to the point quickly. From my experience, this has proven to be helpful in PR. Especially when pitching out a story idea to a busy journalist who only has 15 seconds to hear me out. Or writing the opening paragraph to an article that is crucial to engage the reader.
We just communicate differently
Don’t get me wrong, extroverts make excellent PR professionals. Communications is the core of our profession and extroverts are ideally placed for this industry. But what I have come to understand is that introverts also bring their own set of traits that are essential to the profession.
What’s important to remember is that introverts aren’t poor communicators. Instead we communicate differently and this can be an invaluable asset for PR or any business.
A team that benefits from the skills of extroverts and introverts will be the one that can deliver the best service for its clients.