It takes more than a communications degree to succeed in the ever-growing, competitive world of Public Relations (PR)- it takes a certain je ne sais quois… Well, from our experience in the industry, we’ve narrowed it down to what we like to call the three P’s of PR: Patience, Pragmatism, and Presentation.
Working in PR means you have to endure a highly stressful and high-pressured working environment. Most of your work comes unexpectedly and has to be delivered in minimal time. When you think things are going smoothly, circumstances quickly change and require your immediate reaction. You are constantly at war with time. You are constantly overworked. What you need here is a heavy dose of patience.
Patience is the key towards good working skills like time-management, organization, and rationalization. Losing your patience- something inevitable in the PR industry- can severely affect your career. Sometimes the frustration can be so strong that it translates to task errors, word vomits, missed deadlines and broken relationships- yes, that serious. With a little bit of patience, you can slow down time and think clearly, make good decisions, refrain from losing your cool on colleagues or clients, and maintain your composure.
A great PR manager thinks in terms of PR. Great PR managers are excellent problem-solvers who analyze situations and conjure up solutions on the spot. They are excellent decision-makers and artists of persuasion. There’s one thing that can set them apart and make them excel in the industry – pragmatism.
There’s no room for emotions in PR, only rationale; no room for theories, only practical scenarios. A great PR manager never provides counsel based on his or her theories, especially with money and trust on the line. Counsel must be based on practical knowledge, successful case studies, and hands-on experience in similar situations. Your clients are not paying you for your theories, they are paying you for practical experience, and they expect you to succeed based on it.
In essence, a publicist is a consultant. For what, you ask? Your appearance! Now, don’t take this word too literally, we’re not talking about fashion here. We’re talking about the art of conveying messages that make your client look good- whatever ‘good’ means to your client. Whether it’s dealing with a public crisis, launching a successful brand, promoting a new product, or boosting engagement between stakeholders. Yes, all that simply means is that you are helping your client achieve its goals, in the most presentable and attractive manner to their audience’s eyes and ears.
Because confidence is key in this industry, it’s important that you are dressed in a way that exudes confidence. Your clients and the general public need to trust you- believe in what you are selling. You’ll find lots of agencies where PR professionals are dressed casually. And that’s totally fine. After all, you need to be well-dressed when facing the client, and not when you’re tied to your desk chair writing a press release that’s due in forty minutes. The issue is you never know when a client pops in your office, or you get called into an emergency meeting. You need to be dressed for the part.
In the volatile PR world, there will be lots of disagreements, internally and externally, and you can’t let them affect you. You can’t let tight deadlines break you. You can’t let feedback upset you. You can’t let late nights drain you. You have to persevere with patience, pragmatism and presentation.
Sisi & Rara