Introverts Navigating the Extroverted World of Public Relations

By: Callie Ross-Smith

Two responses always come up when I tell people that I am studying public relations. The first comes from people who have just met me or who do not know me well:

“Oh wow that must mean you are such a people person.”

The second one comes from friends, family and my closer inner circle.

“Public relations? You sure? I’m surprised that something like that would be your thing.”

My thing. You see, I am not a people person and my family is right, studying PR definitely goes beyond my typical comfort zone. 

Public relations tends to be an environment where Type A personalities thrive, network, come together so they can thrive together once more, then they’ll network even more to create an empire that dominates the communication world. It is really cool to see and something that I admire. 

As an introvert, someone who does not get energy from interacting with people, I still see my place in this overtly extroverted field. 

I still thrive in team settings; I just usually need to brainstorm beforehand, alone, in order to get the results that I am looking for.

This gives an opportunity to the team to see a perspective that perhaps they would not have come across had it been just the team working together as a singular mind. 

My outgoing colleagues can go right ahead and do the people facing pitches, I am more than happy working behind the scenes to create the spreadsheets, guide audience research and monitor social media activities. Our strengths complement each other. 

The name of the game for relationships is quality, not quantity. Outside of my professional life there are few people who I’d willingly just go out with, without planning at least a couple days in advance. These people are my ride or die crew, the ones who have always, and will always, drop everything to be there for me. They are the most supreme in quality of people, and that type of relationship I have with them has been slowly curated through open communication, trust and respect. 

I’d like to think I form these kinds of relationships in my professional life as well. As I develop I may not be able to have a contact for every scenario or need possible, but the ones I do have in my back pocket will be strong.

When we really look at what it means to be a PR practitioner, what really counts is being dedicated, able to think on your feet and able to know your audience.

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