Being a successful PR professional these days, isn’t just about being a good writer or researcher. As the industry continues to evolve, we’re expected to also master soft skills that complement the hard skills we’ve learnt in the classroom.
So, what are soft skills and which ones are important if you want to excel as a PR professional?
Soft skills are usually referred to as transferrable skills, that help develop a person as an all-round professional that can communicate effectively with other people.
PR professionals need the ability to speak to different audiences, from clients to journalists and bloggers to other team members, whether they’re other PR practitioners or designers and copywriters. Knowing the right language to use and tone can lead to good working relationships.
Project management isn’t often seen as a crucial ‘soft’ skill. However, PR professionals spend all day juggling different projects, so being able to plan, manage time and prioritise is a given, to ensure work is completed and on time. If time management and planning isn’t your skill, it’s worth enlisting the help of a project management expert who can give you some tips on how to plan projects and manage your time more effectively.
Keeping your cool
PR can, at times, be a stressful profession. When something hits the fan, such as hiccup at an event, or a client crisis, being able to compose yourself will enable you to deal with issues professionally and efficiently. It’s also important to help others keep their cool when problems arise.
Thinking outside the box
PR should never be a one size fits all approach. A PR professional often needs to be creative and think outside the box when it comes to getting their clients out there or if you’re hit with a problem, knowing how to get around it.
Being ahead of the game
Most PR professionals do this as part of their daily routines, but knowing what’s in the news or ‘hot topics’ is crucial to ensure that you don’t miss key opportunities to shout out about your clients’ expertise. Mine the news for thought leadership opportunities, and research what’s trending, as well as look out for issues that may affect a client.
PR is never 9-5 and is constantly evolving. One minute you’ve struck up a relationship with a journalist, the next minute they’ve moved on and someone new has taken over. The digital world is also changing and it’s important to keep up with the times. To be successful in PR you need to learn to embrace change and move on.