How to think like a PR person

You think in sound bites; you deal in talking points; you feed on deadlines, and more.


What is it about professional stereotypes? Are we innately attracted to certain careers, or do we adopt habits and personality traits over time?

When an entry-level staffer asked me how to “think like a PR person,” it actually got me thinking—about PR. What distinguishes someone in our business? Here’s my list:

You naturally think in sound bites. But why do the cleverest ones come when no one’s around?

You work best against a deadline. The more brutal the deadline, the better.

You want to media-train everyone you meet. You sometimes have to hold yourself back from suggesting that strangers “headline” their answers to questions.

You’re a voracious consumer of media and content. From specialized blogs to SlideShare, you love to compare different versions and newscasts about a breaking news event.

You edit everything. Then you edit your edits.

You cringe when someone says “hone in” instead of “home in.”
Yet you regularly talk about “key learnings” and “deliverables.”

You deal in talking points. When a friend or spouse asks for advice on a personal issue, you give them a recommendation and immediately outline next steps in verbal bullet points.

You’re always looking for trends. Just as you’re always looking for things that buck the trends.

You experience a visceral response when you spot a TV news van. And you have to restrain yourself from running after it.

You instantly connect the dots from one meeting to the next.
All clients programs, even seemingly disparate ones, are relevant to one another.

Anything you’d care to add? Let me know in the comments section.

Dorothy Crenshaw is CEO and creative director of Crenshaw Communications. She has been named one of the public relations industry’s 100 Most Powerful Women by PR Week. A version of this story appeared on the Crenshaw Communications blog.

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Topics: PR

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