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How to Think Like a PR Pro
Public relations professionals are always looking at the bigger picture to plan for every possible outcome. To think strategically, you have to look at how what you’re going to do fits into the bigger picture.
Here are six ways to widen your focus and avoid careless mistakes to think like us, PR pros!
Always be in the know and aware of what’s going on in your industry. History often repeats itself and teaches us important methods to handle situations. Be familiar with the past, so you can predict possible outcomes in the present. This includes watching trends, paying attention to economic signals, seeing how big moves playout in your industry and then anticipating how it could affect your band.
2. Think critically
Believe it or not, this is where we really use our brain! To be a strategic thinker, never take things for face value. Instead, question everything. When we become less curious and stop questioning, we lose our competitive edge.
What is in front of you is not always what you see. Use your skills and industry knowledge to really see something for what it is. When people take things at face value, especially online, terms like fake news are born. To think critically, be looking for bias, challenge beliefs (even your own) and uncover hypocrisy.
Back to the big picture! A strategic leader synthesizes information and seeks patterns in many sources before developing a viewpoint. It’s about taking in all your valuable knowledge to best read the situation. This is often where people begin to assume. To avoid this mistake, always test your interpretations time and time again.
Avoid analysis paralysis at all cost! Often times we get stuck overthinking each step to perfect our work and ensure we are making the correct decision. This prevents us from moving forward.
It is important to find a balance among speed and quality. In order to not miss a deadline, you must be decisive.
Consensus is rare among most industries. Luckily, communication is a PR pro’s No. 1 skill. Always listen to all sides and assess the risks to find the balance. Understanding what drives other people’s agendas can help you build support.
This is something PR pros do nearly every day. It can be as simple as addressing a negative comment on social media or as serious as engaging with stakeholders. Either way, it all relies on communication.
To think like a PR pro, you must fail so you can learn. Listen for honest feedback to shift your habits or celebrate them. As always, it takes practice!
If you would like to dig a little deeper, check out Paul J.H. Shoemaker’s book “Six Habits of True Strategic Thinkers.”
If you’re thinking this is a daunting list of tasks, don’t worry. We are here to help! Not only are we PR pros, but we have years of practice strategically thinking our way to perfection.