Traits for becoming a successful communications professional

It is not easy to excel as a communications expert. However, there are certain characteristics by honing which communications professionals can set themselves apart from their mediocre counterparts. The PR business thrives on relationships and networking. A public relations professional is required to be sociable, friendly and approachable. They must be capable of striking meaningful conversations with people which helps in building strong relationships.

Apart from being a good communicator in person, a PR professional must have the ability to write well and professionally – be it an e-mail, a letter, a blog post, an article, or a press release. S/he must be able to convince and inspire people through the written word. A compelling and well-written piece may tell a story that  has a lasting impression.

As a PR expert, one must be well-informed of the current stories, trends, etc., in general and, as per the clients’ requirements in particular. Know your client, your company, the industry and the media by heart. Strive to learn new things about the client or a product each day, as this helps in making a confident pitch for a media story.

All the clients expect their communications expert to maintain their positive reputation in the industry, hence it is vital that the communications professional pays attention to even the minutest of details. In today’s fast-paced digital era, even a minor error can make its way through the media in no time. All the communication to media must be carefully planned and meticulously reviewed to get positive outcome.

As a PR professional, one must be comfortable with public speaking, whether in front of one person or a group of media. They must also know how to convey a brand message or a story to an audience.

As a PR professional, one is required to be accessible 24/7 as something or the other is always happening with the client all the time so we should be apt in multi-tasking. Pitching to media, controlling a crisis, initiating a new campaign, being able to juggle multiple projects or clients at one time is a given in this profession.

Today, new technologies, new marketing techniques and new media are evolving every day hence it is essential for a communications specialist to adapt themselves to these changes. More so in terms of social media, it is changing so fast that what might look right today for a client’s campaign might not be right tomorrow. Hence, it is imperative that we as PR pros must have the ability to be flexible and evolve.

Being in public relations, it is inevitable that one is at the receiving end quite often. A successful professional is one who is able to withstand that criticism and persevere. Do not forget the bitter fact that PR is more than often taken as a thankless job so one must be prepared for that. One must be prepared to take calculated risks in order to launch the organisation you represent into greatness.

PR pros require a lot of patience as despite the best of efforts, results don’t happen overnight. Whether it’s not seeing immediate results from a public relations campaign, or waiting to hear back from a publication that you pitched to, patience is truly a virtue in the world of public relations.

Right attitude is of great importance for a PR pro. They must always be open to learning more and doing better. The field of public relations is changing every day, so there’s always something new to master or someone new to network with. Even for an experienced and seasoned public relations professional, there is a lot to learn in the business, so the attitude must be absolutely correct.

So yes, to be a successful PR professional, one needs a great mix of right characteristics.

Ritu Bararia
Ritu is a Corporate Communications leader, Mentor, Author, Public Relations Evangelist, Thought leader, Advisor. She has nearly two decades of working experience having spearheaded Communications, PR and Corporate Affairs with corporate brands such as Kingfisher Airlines, The Park Hotels, Bird Group.

She quit her corporate career in the beginning of 2018 to try her hand at various related things within communications space. She turned into a published author in 2020 with her maiden book ‘Little Joys of Communication’.

Currently Ritu is Senior Director at SCoRe and, Executive Director Communicators Guild – India (CGI).

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