I like to talk with my friends and colleagues in the PR and communication world—what makes them happy and successful in their careers. Not only does it help us focus on our strengths but it also allows us to learn from one another—especially me. I read a blog post on LAF called Three Signs you’re a PR pro (very good read) and was inspired to list the top skills (I think) every good communicator should know and practice DAILY.
#1 Tell a story that captivates people’s attention. As communicators, we have the ability to tell a story. In my opinion, it’s one of the main reasons I love my job. Especially in health care. WOW! If you can captivate attention with friends and your business colleagues and clients, you’re golden!
#2 Be connected and build your own inner circle. Network, network, network! Engage in as many conversations as you can, go to fun events and establish connections online. Which brings me to #3.
#3 Establish an online presence. You work hard to create a presence at work and with your important stakeholders, right? Why not do that online too. Everyone is online these days and social media is a great tool for creating and communicating your personal brand. Build it and they will come!
#4 Deliver bad news. Yup, bummer. But it does have to be done from time-to-time. I’ll be blogging more in depth about this one soon.
#5 Manage time. Be a focused juggler. Many of us work on several projects or accounts at the same time. You’ll have to manage your time effectively and provide each project and account with the appropriate attention at the appropriate time. Learn how to prioritize effectively.
#6 Remember names. I can’t stress this enough when I talk to other communicators. Read Networking 101 for my easy way of remembering names.
#7 Listen carefully to others. The more you listen and the less you talk, the more you will learn and the less you will miss. Not everyone will agree with this one but I’m a natural listener …
#8 Get in front of people and talk. Or give a short informational speech. I’m working on this one as I write (I’m still not fully comfortable). At the next company meeting if your boss asks you to explain what you’ve been working on over the last month, a short, clear, informative response is surely your best bet. “Duh…” won’t cut it.
#9 Know how to take a good picture. As mentioned in #1, telling a good story often involves a photo. If you’re like me, you have a digital in your handbag or car at all times and one in your phone. You never know when news will strike. Be prepared, always.
#10 Take useful notes. Go back to your days in college. Remember all the notes you took class-after-class. Never forget those skills because useless notes are useless, and not taking notes can be a recipe for failure.
#11 Be communicative. You can’t be shy. Hone in on your skill as a communicator, including writing and public speaking. Find out how you communicate best and embrace it.
#12 Make a good first impression. The first and utmost important thing to know and remember is that you have the control and all the power over the impression you make on your circle of connections.
#13 Be creative & open-minded: Be able to develop interesting story ideas to promote your organization, service or client. Think outside of the box!
#14 Be team-oriented: Working together with colleagues to brainstorm story or promotional ideas are one of the best parts of PR and communication. I love team collaborations and I never go full-force in to a project without consulting my colleagues and online PR community. I love you all!
#15 MEDIA-RELATIONS SPECIFIC: Be persistent but yet sensitive. PR people especially: rejection is part of the game; don’t take it personally. I learned this the hard way early in my career. I was so bummed out when something didn’t pan out the way I planned or a reporter didn’t bite on my awesome idea. Keep trying. Find another angle, pitch another idea to your boss, find something else that tells a good story. However, remember to be sensitive to reporter’s deadlines, time and opinions.
#16 Be passionate. I can’t stress this enough. Love what you do and believe in the products, clients and organizations that you represent. It will shine in your work, always.
I know you’re reading this and thinking, “I would add this too.” Please do! What would you add to this list?