According to Beth Monaghan co-founder of InkHouse Media + Marketing, Confidence and Empathy are two essential traits that PR professionals should have to succeed in their work.
I totally agree. Dealing with your clients and the media can be very similar to being a salesman at an electronics shop; your client is the customer that walks in knowing that he wants to buy a digital camera, but doesn’t know which model to get for his requirements. A confident salesman will be able to clearly identify the customer’s needs, give the customer a sense of ease and comfort and therefore win the customer’s trust in his advice.
In PR, you need to be confident and compassionate, but how do you achieve that?
Know your stuff
You can’t sell something if you know nothing about it. Your client needs to feel the confidence exuding from you as you talk. This means you need to do the research in advance and be humble enough to appeal to best practices and benchmarks – because living by example means that you can learn from other people’s mistakes.
Know what the client will say
Be prepared for any sort of questions or inquiries. Think of the simplest to the most difficult thing that they might ask you and be prepared to answer. Even if you don’t know, be prepared to respond in some sort of way. Exude confidence even when you don’t know what you’re talking about, and people will believe you do.
Admit when you’re wrong
Take responsibility for your actions, because you are the PR professional. Accepting mistakes means you can move forward. This is the hardest thing to do, but clients will gain confidence in your honesty.
Are you convinced?
Believe in what you preach, if you do, they will. If this is something that you are completely against, don’t force it because it won’t be 100%. When you don’t have a choice, try to find some element that you can relate to in order to allow you to become invested.
Take responsibility for your actions
Whatever you do, back it up. If you say you will do this, you can and will do this. You are responsible for the outcome, so hold yourself responsible. You will only be able to do this, if the steps before this fall into place. Covering all you basics allows you to move forward for the client.
The same goes when dealing with the media, if you are confident about what you are pitching to them they’ll be more likely to take you seriously and cooperate.
The moral of the story is to be confident, but be careful to not be over-confident and conceited as that’ll just put people off. This is where Empathy comes in. You need to put yourself in the client/media’s shoes and look at things from their perspective.
If you combine these two traits you will have an excellent formula and as Beth Monaghan put it “Without empathy, confidence often leaps toward cockiness. And without confidence, empathy
wants to slide into meekness.”
Do you feel what I feel?