4 traits of great PR pros

These finely tuned skills separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to a communications professional’s prowess. 

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If a vision is complex or the contextual environment is noisy, it’s a good idea to hire a PR adviser to help get the message out.

The table stakes for a good PR practitioner are pretty standard: deep media relationships are a plus; experience working in a newsroom is helpful; strong writing skills are mandatory; managing and developing a solid team is a must; event management is good; social media savvy is a requirement.

Good PR personnel need to have each of those boxes checked, but there are four additional skills that separate great PR professionals from good ones.

1. Speaking truth to power.

Most people are intimidated by power and tend to fear those individuals who are higher on the organizational hierarchy. Surprisingly, that fact holds true even for people who already hold positions of influence and power, such as corporate or senior VPs. Higher-ups often intimidate them.

On more than one occasion I’ve witnessed every direct report of a CEO refuse to share with the leader some kind of bad news because they were afraid the top executive would figuratively “kill the messenger.”

The best PR folks need to be fearless in those meetings, willing to deliver the bad news as well as a positive strategy to respond or overcome the stated challenge.

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