It is a common misconception that introverts can be rude and lack the social skills necessary to interact with people. However, for a majority of introverts, that couldn’t be further from the truth. On the contrary, most introverts like being around people and having a good time.
In many cases, the difference between an introvert and an extrovert is that many introverts are reflective people who get recharged in solitude – rather than being among a group of people. While introverts tend to be more reserved, they do enjoy being social and being around people.
However, some people stereotype public relations professionals as “attention grabbing,” “outgoing” and “energetic” people. These words are often used to describe most extroverts – not introverts. Can an introvert be successful public relations? The answer is yes.
We need to continue to strive for diversity in our profession. However, diversity isn’t limited to race and ethnicity. Diversity can be achieved through differences in age, profession, gender and personality. Having balance is key in any workplace.
Below are a few characteristics of introverts that make successful public relations practitioners:
Introverts often only speak when they have something meaningful to say. In most cases, introverts are reflective and like to think carefully about what they are going to say. In public relations, it’s important to take the time to craft the perfect message, especially during a crisis. Introverts may engage in more meaningful conversations, which leads to meaningful messages. With all the noise, it is not about speaking louder; it’s about bringing value every time you speak.
Introverts embrace relationships. In public relations, forming and maintaining relationships with our stakeholders – from clients to the media to fellow employees – is vital. In some cases, it can take a bit longer for introverts to warm up to people, but once that connection is made it is difficult for that relationship to be broken. Most introverts seek meaningful interaction.
Introverts are great listeners. Before jumping in and speaking, most introverts like to wait until the other person is finished talking before putting in his or her two cents. This can allow them to analyze the situation before saying something they don’t mean. It can also allow them to better understand the person they are interacting with, get a sense of their needs and potentially provide a proper solution.
It is important to accept both introvert and extrovert personality types in our profession because everyone can contribute something unique. Having people that can contribute unique ideas and different perspectives allows for an organization to be successful and well-rounded.
Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? How do you work with someone of a different personality in the workplace?
Parmida Schahhosseini is a senior at Baylor University studying journalism-public relations with a concentration in marketing. She currently serves as the President of Baylor’s PRSSA Chapter. Follow her at @pscha648.