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Posted on 08.12.2014

How to Survive (and Succeed) as an Introvert in Public Relations

It was my biggest critique growing up. "Speak up, Jacq!" I heard it from my high school volleyball coach, my parents at the dinner table and my first boss. For years, I struggled to shout my name louder in sports practices and felt swallowed up during group gatherings. I was labeled the "quiet girl," or worse, "stuck up."

A few years ago, I found an accurate description for myself: introvert. I researched it extensively, had several 'aha!' moments, and I learned to embrace this trait. I gained significant confidence in who I was and better utilized my strengths. After successfully navigating through many interviews, and landing a great job at Lovell, I am here to attest that public relations can be an incredible industry for introverted professionals.

Maybe you're wondering why I chose this profession. First, I love to write. Then introvert-public-relationsin college, I stumbled upon a few marketing classes and was hooked. When I learned that public relations was roughly a combination of writing and marketing, I made an immediate decision. Additionally, working in public relations does not mean you "love people." (And if you want to work at Lovell, you better make sure you don't say that in your interview!)

While I'm fairly new to the profession, I am already well aware that introverts represent a minority in the public relations field. But, as my colleague Rebecca Kirkham proved in her blog "Introvert Power," introverts are not a liability in the communications field, they are an asset.

Introverted does not mean antisocial, shy or insecure. We have as much leadership capability as our extrovert counterparts, we just tend to take more time for thoughtful responses. Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts and TEDTalk lecturer, discusses how approximately four in 10 top executives are introverted, including some of history's greatest leaders and icons: Mahatma Ghandi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates and Audrey Hepburn.

Although this profession pushes me out of my comfort zone, I embrace the challenges and am also happy to know I am surrounded by many successful, introverted PR pros. These are a few tips I have relied on to help me excel in the industry as an introvert:

  • Form one-on-one relationships with coworkers and clients. As Catherine Fisher said, large group settings make it difficult for introverts to show off our personality and our opinions. Forming personal relationships helps us feel more confident in speaking out and ensures the other people know how much you have to offer.
  • Focus on your strengths. For me, it's writing. Coincidentally, the best feedback I have received thus far has been about a blog post.
  • Have confidence in what you bring to the table. Know you are an asset and know why. This will help you feel secure in a company and in your role working with a client.
  • Remember that participating in social tasks and speaking opportunities are blessings in disguise. These provide great opportunities for you to form better relationships with coworkers and clients, and they also allow you to rise to the occasion and prove yourself.
  • Take time to close your door. If you do not have a door, take a solo lunch. Introverts require alone time to regain energy. Taking time each day to regroup will make you more productive. After you do, though, open the door (literally and metaphorically speaking) and welcome in the conversation.

Do you have any more tips for introverts? Do you have experience with introverted colleagues or clients? Share with us below!  

 

Jacqueline Miller is an Administrative Assistant at Lovell Communications. You can view more of Jacqueline's blogs here. Connect with Jacqueline at Jacqueline@lovell.com, or @JacqMills28

 

Photo cred: Michael Yip

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