We let the facts do the talking.

In PR, Presentation is everything

The 20th World PR Congress took place recently in Dubai and all credit to Sunil John Sunil John, Chairman of the Organising Committee and his team for pulling together an excellent event.

Forty plus regional and international speakers, including some of the most respected names in the industry graced us with their presence.  Some of the highlights can be found here.

Client work meant that I missed one of the highlights of the two days and that was , ‘An Hour with a Living Legend,’ in the form Harold Burson, a pioneer of modern Public Relations and the Founder Chairman of Burson-Marsteller.

The 91 year old is an inspiration to all PR people today and I am reliably informed he still goes into the office most days.  I am not sure I love my job so much that I would be following in his footsteps when I reach that age!  In fact I will be happy to just reach that age!

There were plenty of other very good presentations and a few that weren’t quite up to the mark.  That’s not meant to be a criticism in any shape or form but just leads me to reflect on how a great presenter can really bring a topic to life. Lord Bell and Lord Chadlington were two that stood out from the crowd.

In fact Lord Chadlington talked around an eight point checklist of what to look for when recruiting someone for a job in PR.

A key note speech about a list? This could have been like watching paint dry. But far from it. He brought it to life, filled with examples of personal experiences interspaced with humorous anecdotes and of course some insightful advice. And his exceptionally confident delivery made for an entertaining and informative half hour.

In the PR industry presentation skills are very important for a variety of reasons from pitching for new business through to presenting results to clients on the value we have added to their business. Communication plays a part in almost every aspect of your business, so being able to communicate well can boost your overall performance. But it is a skill that I believe is still sadly lacking in the majority of practitioners.

The list of eight skills that Lord Chadlington discussed didn’t include the ability to present. Given his performance I wonder why?

Just in case anyone is interested, in brief the questions he asks or the attributes he looks for when recruiting are:


  1. What are you successful in? (I want successful people to work for me)
  2. Are you digitally fluent? Digital must be part of the DNA of any new recruit in PR
  3. People who think.
  4. People who are articulate. (This elicited the cry – pleeeeease write!
  5. People who are globally minded
  6. Are you hungry? (and not just ambitious!)
  7. Are you disciplined?
  8. And finally you need to be trustworthy. Strong morally and ethically.

Anything else you’d add to the list?