In order to succeed in public relations, you’ll need a wide variety of skills and traits, ranging from confidence, communication and listening skills. However, if you take a sample of the best public relations professionals in the business, they all have one thing in common – emotional intelligence. The ability to perceive emotions of others and make wise judgments make the difference between a good and great professional.
Defining Emotional Intelligence
First of all, what is emotional intelligence? Emotional intelligence is the individual’s ability to identify, assess and control the emotions of themselves and others. There are two main components to emotional intelligence: personal competence and social competence. Each of these two components are thus broken down into two skills, related to the ability to manage behavior, handle social complexities and make personal decisions.
Traditionally, IQ was seen as the main determinant for the individual’s potential for success. However, there was a missing connection between success and high performers. Recent studies are showing that emotional intelligence was present among successful individuals and was the critical factor that set them apart from others.
What’s the Connection between Emotional Intelligence and Public Relations?
In its core, emotional intelligence is comprised of four traits. These four traits, important for successful public relations professionals, are as follows:
- Self Awareness
Self awareness determines the individual’s ability to perceive emotions and stay abreast of his or her own emotional state. It would not do if the individual in charge of public relations lost control of his or her temper, as they may reflect poorly on the company. Even worse, this may lead to a major PR disaster, fueled by angry voices on the Internet. As a result, self awareness is a critical skill for PR professionals, as it helps them stay calm and in control.
- Self Management
Self management is a key skill for personal competence, and involves the ability to control emotions and adapt to changing circumstances. As mentioned before, it is vital for PR professionals to be able to maintain his or her temper. But in addition, they must always be flexible to the changes that arise in the industry. Public relations is an active, changing environment, and requires the individual to be highly organized and efficient in order to succeed.
- Social Awareness
Emotional intelligence is more than just understanding emotions – it also determines one’s actions regarding those emotions. Social awareness is the ability to pick up on the emotions of others and understand their connection to social networks. Public relations professionals are interacting with clients, media members, and others on a daily basis, and must survive in a constantly changing environment.
- Relationship Management
Finally, relationship management is the ability to use the awareness of emotions to manage interactions. This skill is especially important for public relations professionals, whose entire livelihoods depend on relationship management. They must be able to connect with a wide variety of individuals, ranging from media members to customers. A high level of relationship management will allow them to keep track of different connections and maintain the image of their company.
Sara Fletcher is a writer at Talent Smart, a leading provider of emotional intelligence and DISC assessment. She has written on a variety of topics, ranging from small business, sports, and career advice.