Learn more about the human and professional skills that an ideal public relations degree pro should possess, including the importance of efficient communication skills.
Public relations is an intense and tough job that can be rewarding but disappointing, exciting but mind-numbingly boring. PR is often misunderstood by many people outside the industry. Today, the lines between marketing, advertising and public relations degree are becoming blurry, taking the PR industry into a new direction.
For graduates that has degree programs for public relations, once you dig deeper, one can realize that PR is not what is supposed to be from the outside. To be a public relations pro, you need to possess a set of skills that can be categorized into two categories – human skills and professional skills. Human skills consist of patience and congeniality while professional skills involve the ability to write professionally and speak publicly.
To help you break down the skills needed to be an effective public relations degree professional, here are some guides that may help you assess yourself if you possess these skills. First and foremost, a PR person should be thirsty for knowledge. The best PR people are those who can place things into the appropriate context because having the skill to think of an idea and expound or narrow it is essential when pitching a story.
Being patient and being friendly are traits that a PR person should possess. Whether it is waiting to hear back from producers that you have talked to or just realizing that a PR campaign entails time to evolve, if you don’t have enough patience, you will fail to do this job. Also, if you are not sociable and friendly, why are you in a profession that requires you to be so?
The worst PR people are either overly aggressive or too passive, but the middle ground is called ‘controlled aggression’. This means you know when to turn your adrenaline on and off. One should have the ability to communicate in magnificent ways while just using simple terms.
If you are uncomfortable speaking to white-collared audience as well as blue-collared earners, you won’t succeed in this job. Public relations is often questioned for its truthfulness. Be a straight shooter and never lie, because anyone devious in public relations is going to be discovered, and will fail.
In terms of professional skills, a superb writing skill is very important. You don’t have to be a book author, but if you cannot write a decent memo, letter and most importantly, a press release, then its best to think of a new career. Due to the explosion of instant messaging and email, the ability to communicate through writing is somewhat vanishing in many people who have depended on shortcut language and electronics.
There are no shortcuts in professional writing. Currently, many pitches and press releases penned by accredited public relations degrees people look like they come from people who have flunked English 101. Writing skills are some of the most hard to find, but once a person has talent to write, it seems everything else can be taught.
Another difficult professional skill is orating, and it definitely takes a lot of people ample time to be comfortable in front of a crowd. Nonetheless, PR pros should be able to express their thoughts and the company’s story before an audience. The public relations degree profession takes a good amount of research, and those who don’t understand Internet tools such as search engines, search services and blogs suffer the consequences.
Finally, an effective public relations degree pro should know how to multi-task, but this does not mean the ability to answer the phone while eating and playing games. If you cannot pitch potential clients, pitch the media, help clients develop a strategy further than PR and get involved in crisis-control initiatives, then you are in the wrong game. Take note, specialty PR is alright if you have already proven something in the field, yet a well-rounded PR pro can carry everything from customer hand holding to sales.