Does Being an Introvert Matter in PR?

I put off going into the world of studying PR because I though it was an extrovert’s job and I identify more as an introvert. I remember my mum telling me one day that I would have to be more confident to go into that line of work, and while she was right in some aspects – I think I was too quick to brush off PR just because I don’t want to be social all of the time.

When you imagine someone working within PR, it is easy to picture all of the natural characteristics that go with extroverts – such as having an outgoing and friendly personality. Typically they are seen as having no problem talking to a room full of people, they can easily network with people they’ve never met before and can make cold calls.

But as public relations itself has expanded, it makes sense that the people who work within it are different from old stereotypes. There are more skills and attributes needed to work within the industry, that have nothing to do with being an extrovert. To succeed in pr you need good written communication skills, attention to detail and ability to remain calm under pressure – just to name a few.

The label of extrovert to public relations practitioners is an old stereotype, one that is outdated, and it is now time for it to be challenged and changed. The industry is so big and is always expanding, and you need a mix of personalities within an office to bounce ideas off one another. Clearly you will need a different outlook to work within communication for a charity, than for a celebrity’s personal pr.

Most recently it is widely recognised that both introverts and extroverts are valuable to public relations. It is just another example of a stereotype of PR, that needs to be addressed because it provides the wrong impression of the industry and creates a bad reputation.

Perhaps recently with the rise of research and surveys into professionals working in public relations, that focus on their mental health and any issues they find within the sector, we are more open to the fact there are a wide range of different people in the industry. It no longer matters whether you identify as an introvert or extrovert – or do people even identify by those labels anymore? If there is one thing we can learn about our current society, is that it is no longer simple to fit people into categories without noticing the complexity of people’s characteristics.

So basically, the bottom line is – if you want to study public relations, then do so.

5 thoughts on “Does Being an Introvert Matter in PR?

  1. Great post, I think the same can be said of lots of different industries and jobs. A lot of people label themselves as either introvert and extroverts but I don’t think that label is a very good one as so many people can be a little bit of both. The term introvert, in the wrong context, suggests that we’re just shy, unable to speak up and find social situations difficult. But I prefer to see introvertism (is that a word?) as being a person who just needs to have their own space alone sometimes to relax and re-energise, whereas extroverted people often feel more energised by being around people rather than alone.
    I think we can all fall a little bit in between the two as well, I don’t think anyone is ever completely one or the other and I think it depends on the situations and scenarios we end up in and how we deal with them, and as you say there are merits to both in PR as well as other professions. I agree it’s all about our individual characteristics…but changing people’s minds about the idea of being an extrovert/introvert is hard as it’s so ingrained in people’s thinking.
    Again, really great post 🙂 🙂

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    1. I completely agree with what you’re saying. Our characteristics are so huge and so complex that we can’t fit them in two different categories. I don’t think I’m really one or the other!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m also an introvert and I’m studying public relations. I have a very lovely professor who spent half of a lecture talking about this topic, since he is also an introvert and he wanted to make it clear that not being a “people person” doesn’t mean that you can’t do PR. Being an introvert just mean that you get your energy from alone time and not other people like introverts, not that you are shy or lack confidence.
    I definitely agree with you that anyone with an interest in PR should study it.

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    1. That’s so good that he spent time doing that! How lovely! It really is a misconception of PR that all you do is go to fancy events and talk to people so it’s great that he spoke about it to remove that stereotype.

      Like

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