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.