There are three essential skills every PR person should have if they want to succeed:
- Developing strategy
Being a strategist is the hardest part of PR, which is why the best strategists get the big bucks and the best jobs. Developing your strategic skills is the work of a lifetime, and should start when you are young, just getting into the business world.
The first thing you should do is undergo a personality assessment. Seriously. Something like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test or an equivalent. You might also avail yourself of a career assessment by a career counselor. These will tell you where your innate skills are and what your style is, so you can develop your strategic personality accordingly. Not everyone is cut out to be a CEO, but everyone has strategic skills if they know their strengths and weaknesses.
In PR, the next step is to understand the following:
- Bosses and others above you, such as clients
- The media and communications environment
- How to work with your peers and subordinates
The last part of the recipe is the hardest: learning to think for yourself. Here's where no one else can help you. You have to be confident in your judgements and be prepared to take the heat when you're either unpopular or wrong.
You'll know you're succeeding when people turn to you and ask for strategic advice (like how to solve a big problem, not where to go for lunch). The better your advice, the farther up the food chain you will go.
Tomorrow: the keys to being a better writer.