October 18, 2013

Why Introverts Belong in Public Relations

An introvert in public relations sounds like a paradox. We expect public relations professionals to be gregarious and outgoing, which makes sense. Wouldn’t a communications field require its professionals to be, well, excellent communicators?

Herein lies a common misconception: that introverts, unlike extroverts, are poor communicators. The true difference between the two lies in the nature of their interpersonal styles. Typical extroverts draw their energy from crowds, external stimulation, and excitement. By contrast, according to Carl Jung, most introverts draw their energy from moments of serenity.

This quality is often misconstrued in professional settings, particularly in the communications sector, which can negatively impact employers and employees alike. In order to avoid this potential issue, here are four ways introverted professionals can leverage their strengths in public relations.

Pay Close Attention

Introverts tend to be excellent, sensitive listeners. Whether you’re having an internal meeting, speaking with a client, or grabbing coffee with a reporter, use those listening skills to the best of your ability. This is particularly useful for client servicing. Nothing makes people feel more important than knowing that they’ve been heard and understood.

To Communicate Strategically, Communicate Sparingly

Introverts use their words sparingly, not out of shyness but because they are strategic communicators. Many introverts think hard before they speak, allowing their ideas to crystallize before they are shared. This is an essential skill for communications professionals.

Stay Calm

The more positive side of a reserved demeanor is a calm appearance, regardless of what’s happening internally. In moments of crisis, introverts do not become outwardly overwhelmed. Instead, they coolly assess crisis situations, devise strategic plans of action, and help their teams execute successfully. This can effectively bolster trust from clients and colleagues.

Delegate Effectively

Introverts tend not to crave the spotlight. Furthermore, they are often self-aware and comfortable admitting to their weaknesses. This makes introverts excellent team players and even better leaders. Introverts are comfortable volunteering for tasks that play to their strengths and delegating tasks better suited for other colleagues, resulting in a higher caliber of work.

While introverts may not be commonly associated with the public relations sector, a unique combination of skills make them essential to any communications team. And let’s not forget: PR professionals often work behind the scenes to develop their client’s brands and reputations. This makes PR an excellent field for spotlight-averse individuals to find their place.

Further viewing: The following is a poignant TED talk by Susan Cain on understanding introversion and why it’s essential to the workplace.

Aliza Auslander, Account Executive