The PR introvert: how to make PR work for you when you're shy
Since the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test became a popular method of determining an individual’s preferred style of living and working, the classifications of “introvert” and “extrovert” have grown in popularity.
Many people immediately assume that being an introvert means you hate to talk or loathe picking up the phone; however, this really doesn’t paint a correct picture of an introverted individual. The true introvert has numerous qualities that make him or her ideal for a position in public relations. In fact, introverts can make excellent PR pros. They simply need to understand how to work their inherent strengths.
If you’re concerned that your introversion may be a hindrance as you develop your career working with the public, think again.
Below are some traits that introverts can definitely use to their advantage in PR or any career path that is often dominated by extroverted men and women.
Introvert Gift #1: Their Focus Is on Deeper Meanings
The introvert is a natural thinker. He or she doesn’t just see the world but sees the world at several levels. Peeling back the layers of the proverbial onion is part and parcel of an introvert’s life. Rather than take anything at surface value, they dig deeper. No wonder their journalism skills are top-notch! In PR, they can use this desire to get to the truth of the matter in all circumstances to pitch stories that publications, websites and periodicals will honestly care about; after all, those stories have been carefully designed to carry weight rather than be “fluff pieces.”
Introvert Gift #2: They Tend to Be Sensitive to Others’ Needs
One of the biggest complaints about public relations personnel is that they are too pushy and don’t seem to know when to stop. This may be true of extroverted PR experts, but it is rarely true of introverted ones. The introverts are sensitive to the timelines of their targets, and they use this sensitivity to their benefit. For example, they don’t automatically assume the person they are pitching has all the time in the world; therefore, they tend to be pithy and respectful. This can sometimes be a refreshing change, and it may get a press release or story noticed by a journalist or editor who feels appreciated and not abused.
Introvert Gift #3: They Really Care about Their Subjects
When an introverted PR person is passionate about a story, he or she lets nothing get in the way of the pitch. This makes it easier to pick up the 100-pound-gorilla-telephone and make a phone call! Introverts have the ability to connect with their clientele on personal levels. When this type of sensitive connection is created, there’s no stopping a determined introvert! He or she may not ever love making a cold or warm call to a prospective publication’s contact person, but the determination to get a story some print, especially one that could save lives or an endangered species, will usually overcome any wariness.
Introvert Gift #4: They Can Be Exceptional at Written Communications
While getting on the phone is always going to play some aspect of a PR professional’s job, the introvert can use time to his or her advantage and begin to make inroads via other, more preferred, methods of communicating. For instance, he or she may begin to cultivate relationships with prospects using email, social media and other written means. With a little foresight, this can be a huge boon in the future. Once contact has been made, future pitches will be much easier and more likely to be accepted. To be sure, this method isn’t foolproof, nor does it guarantee a response, but it’s a good way to get an “in” with an editor well ahead of a pitch.
Introvert Gift #5: They Often Make Excellent Public Speakers
Want to surprise your more extroverted colleagues? Give a speech to several hundred people without missing a beat! Introverts who have something to say can learn how to effectively speak publicly. Just don’t ask them to mingle much afterwards; they don’t mind providing the information, but they would rather eliminate the small talk. Some famous introverts who regularly speak to groups include Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, as well as Warren Buffet. This proves success doesn’t just come to those who score high as extroverts!
Don’t Hide Behind Introversion – Embrace It!
As someone in the public relations arena who is an introvert, you have to embrace your talents. Don’t forget that you can learn the skills that don’t come naturally to you. Just be patient; you may never adore making dozens of last-minute phone calls, but you can get through it if you keep the end game in mind.
Are you an introverted PR pro? How has it benefitted you in your career? Tell us in the comments below!
Adrienne Erin is an outreach specialist at WebpageFX who has pitched (and followed up with!) thousands of bloggers and journalists. She writes for SiteProNews, Search Engine People, and Socialnomics. Follow @adrienneerin on Twitter or visit her blog, Design Roast, to see more of her work or get in touch.
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