The “PR” person as introvert…

“…whenever you try to pass as something you’re not, you lose a part of yourself along the way.” – Ahhh, the introverts challenge.  Introvert?  But surely those of us who work in the 24/7 news cycle of public relations and the underground world of guerilla marketing can’t really be introverts?  We are the ones following the media around, blogging, checking five news sources before breakfast.  Posting on Facebook and Twitter as a contractor, a nutritionist, an artist, and an author – all before our second cup of coffee….

I remember an exercise when I worked as a news media relations director of a major nonprofit health organization.  It was one of those whole agency retreat days at some pine scented woodsy environ.  Good God, yes, they was repelling and falling backwards into each other’s arms.  Missed that last one as I had to handle a media call about cholesterol and exercise.  But then we had this wonderful exercise where 150 of us were lined up on where we fell on the Myers Briggs inventory.  The first letter – you receive four – was a measure of introversion/extroversion.  But not just an “I” or an “E” – a particular data score on just how much in either direction you were.  150 program staff, fundraising staff, administrators and PR folks lined up by our score.  The facilitator asked us to look at each other.  Look at who we worked with every day.  Who are our natural partners who we need a good relationship with to make our tasks successful.  The fundraiser needs excellent PR to make goal.  The program staff need to reach out through the media and our sources to find ‘patients’ for their support groups.  The facilitator asked us to think about how we approach each other.  Is it the great big “strategy meeting”?  Is it volumes of emails?  Planning sheets?  Conference calls?  Webinars?  One on one conversations?  Do we barge in on people – or do we make appointments?  Why are some of our interactions less successful than others?  Why do we inevitably find we “can’t work with someone”?  We stood for some time looking at each other.  Fundraisers were on the far end of “E”, and quite expected to find them there.  But then a fundraiser stepped forward and said, “why are all the PR people down there – how can they be introverts?  This exercise must be faulty somehow….they are the ones out front, in the media, making statements, giving interviews…..”  The facilitator simply said, “they are introverts, yes, because they are really successful for you, because they think before they speak”.

This exercise – and the article I will post, below, have explained myself out of public presentations, keynote addresses, spokesperson work, and more.  If you want to work effectively with me, know that I need time to process.  Very rarely will I tell you a strategy without thinking about it first.  I might start to have a conversation with you, take two sides of an opinion….and do a little bit of a Columbo routine if you push me.  You might even be lucky and be there when my lightbulb clicks on over my head, but most likely not…But if you want a refined and considered strategy that works, let me ponder. I will come back to you, really, with a lightbulb moment, and it will be simply – brilliant!

If you don’t understand any of this “need” (not ‘want’), think of how you recharge your batteries?  Is it to get all dood-ed up and go to a fancy party, dance the night away, run into a whole bunch of people you know?  Or is it sitting with a cup of tea, kitty at your side, and reading a great stimulating article or book?  Ahhh….see the difference, my friends?

Happy to share this article, and remember, “… whenever you try to pass as something you’re not, you lose a part of yourself along the way.”

The Power of Introverts!

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