Why Being Introverted is a Good Thing (Even in PR)
That’s right! Not all PR pros are super outgoing. Here’s why you’ll want an introverted PR pro on your team!
Whether you’re an extrovert or introvert, or find yourself somewhere in between, I encourage you to watch Susan Cain’s TED Talk “The Power of Introverts.”
In her TED Talk and book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain provides a compelling argument that today’s society undervalues and misunderstands the power and skills of introverted people. She argues that this is due to the “extrovert ideal,” the idea that introversion is inferior and extroversion is superior.
Why is this important to me? Because I am an introverted leaning PR pro. Surprisingly, the PR industry is filled with highly skilled, expert and introverted professionals, and whether you are working with a PR strategist in the industry, or a young grad looking to work in PR, it’s vital you understand why the characteristics of an introvert are invaluable to PR and communications.
Dispelling the myth of the outgoing PR Pro
Among many other popular stereotypes of what it’s like to work in PR or to be a PR pro, one that I hear a lot is that all PR pros are outgoing people. This stereotype is often accompanied by other PR myths – that PR is all about parties and PR people chase after the spotlight.
People are surprised to learn that many PR pros are in fact introverts. This fact makes so much sense to me because in many ways I am introverted. While I do have many extroverted qualities, in crowds I like to stand back and see what’s happening. I prefer listening over speaking. I feel the most comfortable one on one and I need stillness to recharge my energy. So why do these qualities make for top PR strategists?
Today PR is all about listening and telling other people’s stories. To really connect with your audience you need to hear and see their concerns, you need to understand what they value most and think carefully before you deliver a message.
PR pros like being the one behind the camera, not in front of it. They are thoughtful and strategic and don’t want or need the credit. This is why many PR pros make excellent media coaches, ghost writers and strategists. They like solving problems, thinking strategically and have little, to no desire, to be in the spotlight.
Like any strong introvert, PR pros are emphatic – we are passionate about sharing ideas and like to find creative ways to express them. After all, some of the world’s most famous leaders and creative minds are introverts:
· JK Rowling
· Bill Gates
· Rosa Parks
· Albert Einstein
· Mahatma Gandhi
Introverted PR pros are incredible copywriters. Great writers are often great readers. We like spending time learning, doing research, and keeping up-to-date with media trends. Press releases, slogans, tweets, blogs, remarks, media messaging – all require great writers who can craft compelling messages.
I want to leave you with acknowledging that we all have a spectrum of characteristics that fall in both the extroversion and introversion camps – one is not better than the other. But I’m here to emphasize the importance of Susan Cain’s message that we need to better understand and value the qualities of introverts, and ultimately, our own strengths and skills. Cain says that, “when you make life choices that are congruent with your temperament – and allow others to do the same – you unleash vast stores of energy.” By better understanding the strengths of both temperaments we can not only do our best work, but enable others to do the same.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What qualities do you think are valuable for each? Let me know in the comments below.