Introverts in PR, Ironic? Maybe Not

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Posted At: September 25, 2012 11:10 A.M.
by Mariah Fairweather

A common response to the question of “Why did you go into the public relations field?” is “I am a people person.” Public relations professionals are often characterized as outgoing, approachable people. They are often known as extroverts.

The other night I was watching “Susan Cain: The power of introverts” on Ted. She pointed out how one of every two or three people are introverts. This made me start thinking of the power of introverts in public relations.

Sure, PR professionals often deal with the media and interact with their target publics at events. However, a huge aspect of the PR world is being able to brainstorm creative ideas and pitches. This is where introverts fit into the field. They can sit in their offices, ponder new angles and come up with strategic solutions to problems, while extroverts may get side-tracked by a conversation with a co-worker.

As Cain says in the Ted Talk, introversion does not mean that people are scared of human interaction; they are just stimulated more when they are alone. Just because someone is introverted does not mean they cannot serve as a spokesperson or deal with the media. They may need more public speaking practice or media training, but just like introverted Cain, they can deliver a presentation in front of hundreds of people as well as an extrovert can.

Extroverts may be more socially appealing and convincing as leaders, but introverts make great leaders, too. Introverts can help cultivate others’ ideas, while an extrovert may spoil that process by consuming the spotlight. Many great leaders have been introverts, such as Theodore Roosevelt, Rosa Parks and Gandhi.

In a field full of extroverts, there is still a place for introverts.

3 Comments

  1. Zaruhi Saribekyan

    Great observation!
    Totally agree! Introverts should be welcomed and encouraged.

    Reply

  2. Brittany Carl

    I never thought about public relations professionals being anything other than extroverts. When you are both a marketing and public relations major, people expect you to be an extrovert who is outgoing and loves having conversations with others. Thinking in this perspective, introverts should be welcomed into the field. They are able to come up with ideas and not have to worry about being sidetracked by a person who walks into the room.

    According to Susan Ricker in “Find the Job, News and Trends, Surveys, The Right Job,” the most popular job for an introvert would be designer/artist. Maybe we can focus on more introverts being a part of the design field for public relations.

    http://www.theworkbuzz.com/news/job-surveys/jobs-for-introvert-and-extrovert-personality-types/

    Reply

  3. Caitlin Vaiskauskas

    I completely agree with your standpoint. It seems that many people have the wrong idea about what being an introvert means. As you said, being an introvert does not mean a person is afraid of social interactions by any means. Introverts can very well handle individual social interactions, speaking in front of people and making presentations. While extroverts are beneficial to the world of public relations, the creative side that many introverts can bring to the field is necessary as well. I for one know that my creative side is lacking; I would much rather face a group of people and speak to them. With practice and observation, though, I can help strengthen my creative side and brainstorming abilities. Just as I can practice with brainstorming, introverts can, as you said, practice their public speaking and build up the social skills that many deem necessary to be in the public relations field. Just because a person is lacking strength in one area does not mean they cannot build up that particular strength. For the public relations field, introverts are just as important as extroverts.

    Reply

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