26 August 2009

Top qualities in a new PR practitioner

The always insightful Dave Fleet posted on 14 essential attributes for new public relations practitioners and – as one might expect – the thing has attracted huge amounts of attention and comment from people in the business.

It’s all good stuff.

Around these parts, your humble e-scribbler would point to the writing skills point.  This is gigantic.  Too many people have trouble with this in too many walks of life but in the public relations business not being able to write a clear, coherent sentence is deadly.

For newbies – to whom Fleet’s list is directed – this is a big one.

There are far too many who wind up in the PR business or who claim to be communications professionals who have basic problems with basic skills.

Your humble e-scribe would also had a characteristic or cluster of characteristics which is strangely absent from the list:  inquisitiveness and its cousin, scepticism.

One of things PR people do is explain stuff to others.  In order to do that effectively you have to understand the “stuff” first.  You gain understanding by being inquisitive, by being nosy.  Ask questions.  Learn how to find out stuff.

Related to that, be automatically sceptical of anything and everything.  Ask lots of questions. Allow nothing to go unchallenged.  Better to get to the bottom of something and expose all its facets before you wind up in public.

Inquisitiveness and scepticism will ensure there are no surprises once a bad news story goes public.  On the positive side, they may turn up an angle that no one thought of before.