Public relations is a field that requires a specific set of abilities. Competencies in areas such as storytelling, analytics, and assessment are now on par with traditional skills like writing, research, and communication. Possessing these talents and the knowledge you’ll acquire in school can really set you apart in the PR industry. So let’s find out which soft skills every PR professional should have.
Let’s start with a definition of “soft skills.” Compared to “hard” skills, which can be easily measured, “soft” skills are more nuanced and difficult to pin down. It cannot be measured, but employers know it when they see it. Sometimes, these talents are just as important as your knowledge or years of expertise. The Society for Human Resource Management determined that soft skills are more important to employers than hard capabilities. To help you pinpoint which ones you have and which you could work on (all of these can also be learned), we have included the most important skills in the list below.
1. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence, or EQ, involves more than empathy and compassion. It also implies self-awareness. This is essential for a PR professional since you must have thick skin to cope with criticism. Additionally, you must be able to differentiate between “hate remarks” and helpful feedback. This talent will allow you to mature as a professional by allowing you to react effectively to any situation.
Another component of emotional intelligence is empathy. This is one of the most critical soft skills every PR professional should have because it will be helpful in many settings. When you can put yourself in another’s shoes, you will be better able to understand your customers and communicate with the public.
Consider, for example, a press release you must create for your customer. Let’s say that you must apologize for the unprofessional manner in which consumers were handled during a PR disaster. Your language must show that you get how they have been affected, and it has to sound sincere. Additionally, EQ implies the capacity for diplomacy and tact. When negotiating with customers or finding a compromise, a public relations professional must be polite and know how to retain connections in the face of obstacles. Your crisis communication skills need to be on point.
2. Ability to create engaging content
A competent public relations professional is an outstanding writer. Since you will be required to provide interesting material for your clients, whether for the company’s monthly newsletter, a weekly blog, case study, or press release. If you have good grammar and diverse writing experience, you will be able to strike the ground running. And you need to. That’s your job. You’ll also need a global attitude that effectively serves a worldwide clientele. The world has shrunk to the size of a town nowadays. You may sometimes be expected to manage overseas concerns, necessitating some familiarity with their language and culture.
3. Public speaking
You do not have to be an extrovert to work in public relations, but you must have the confidence to speak in public. Public speaking may not come naturally to everyone, but anybody can perfect it with enough practice. This soft talent is essential for public relations specialists since they are often required to deliver client presentations, orally engage with big groups, and know how to address an audience at gatherings and seminars.
Moreover, a PR professional must know whether to communicate informatively, persuasively, ceremoniously, or demonstratively since each of these kinds of communication is unique. Since public relations is all about connections, effective communication—and doing it with confidence and clarity—is its foundation.
4. Time management
Time management involves much more than just sticking to a timetable. It is a combination of self-motivation, planning, prioritization, decision making, goal setting, and concentration that ensures effective time management. Sticking to the schedule is just a tiny part of it.
Frequently, public relations specialists must juggle many projects at various phases of the project life cycle. Therefore, they must be able to multitask. You must prioritize what requires immediate attention while simultaneously preparing to fulfill all deadlines and deliverables for all other projects. You must understand how to create objectives and be self-motivated and concentrated when necessary. A good PR professional always works on time management to avoid typical PR measurement mistakes and sabotaging their success.
5. Innovative and critical thinking
As indicated by this soft talent, PR professionals must possess both creative and critical thinking abilities. Creativity is difficult to describe, yet it involves innovative, abstract thinking rooted in inspiration and ideation. Public relations professionals use their imagination when working on press kits or creating something concrete, such as a news release or promotional video screenplay. Experts at Movers Development cannot point out enough how far a little bit of creativity can go. You better have a backup plan if you feel like you’re lacking in this sphere.
In contrast, critical thinking is analytical and mainly relies on memory, reasoning, and intellect. Public relations professionals use their accumulated information to guide judgments and choose the best options for their clients’ brands. By combining these two talents, PR professionals can solve problems and enhance concepts. Without at least three of these soft skills every PR professional should have, you can’t expect much success in your career.
This list is only the tip of the iceberg regarding the vast array of talents a skilled public relations specialist should possess. Conventional PR talents such as superior writing and media relations will never fade away. And they are the most critical soft skills every PR professional should have. If you also score high on emotional intelligence, you will be unbeatable.