What personal qualities make a successful public relations practitioner? People who succeed as public relations professionals are strong communicators—through their writing, the spoken word, in public speaking situations, and in small groups. They tend to be team oriented extroverts who enjoy being around other people. Successful public relations professionals are adept at juggling multiple deadlines and thrive under creative and time pressures. They also work hard at building relationships and are proactive in maintaining them.
Equally important, successful public relations practitioners are intellectually curious and have diverse professional and personal interests. They are voracious media consumers and make it a habit to spend time each day reading as much news as they can from a variety of sources. Good PR professionals know a little bit about many different things, and it shows in the work they do for their clients and employers.
Successful public relations professionals are guided by a clear sense of personal and professional ethics—that is, the ability to distinguish right from wrong and then choose the most ethical course of action for the client or organization. Making the right decision can be difficult, especially in competitive situations in which others around you may not want to do what is most ethical. Yet, public relations practitioners are expected to be the ethical “standard bearers” for their organizations, often against considerable pressure to act otherwise. This responsibility extends to counseling top management on ethical matters.