Amith Prabhu: The 6 Cs that are the currency of being successful PR professionals

23 Jul,2013

By Amith Prabhu

 

Public Relations is a unique profession to be in, for a number of reasons. But two that stand out are the fact that it offers access very early in the career to two categories of influential people. While one category is the senior leadership within the client’s organization, the other is top editors of media outlets one engages with on behalf of a client. The other reason this profession stands out for is the amount of high intensity and high profile events that one has to deal with ranging from launches to disasters and from CSR projects to government relations.

 

It is that time of the year when students are in their first semesters and brand new employees are in their first few weeks in their first job. Keeping this in mind I thought of touching upon a topic I have an affinity towards – attributes of a PR professional.

 

A question I have often got asked at campuses during a guest lecture or on Twitter from random young aspirants is what does a PR professional need to have as important attributes to succeed. Over the years I have assimilated these random responses into what I call the 6 Cs. Some of them evolved during conversations I had with my former boss Ravi Kiran. A Twitter chat last month with Shafi Saxena reignited these thoughts and here are the 6 Cs that are applicable to multiple professions and would help many 20- and 30-somethings make wise career decisions. Some of these are bundled in pairs but feel free to mix and match to soar to greater heights

Critical & clear thinking: The first thing I would look for in someone with or without experience is to how well he or she can think about a given situation, both critically and clearly. This also brings out the passion that one has for a subject or area of interest.

 

Curiosity & Creativity: The spirit of questioning is a virtue in a world that heavily depends on search engines to find answers. Asking smart questions also stems from having a creative mind that is always fertile with interesting ideas.

 

Communicative & connectedness: Excellent written and verbal communications is imperative in a profession that thrives on being people-centric. In addition, the ability to reach out smartly and build on relationships is a plus

Confidence that leads to collaboration & cross culturalism: Confidence is an amalgamation of multiple factors and its external appearance is in the way we dress and carry yourself.  But confidence comes from a zest to never stop learning. This can happen by conversations, travel and reading that occurs after our formal education stops.

 

Commitment and compassion for a cause: This is multi-pronged.  Primarily, a CV that shows prior commitment that includes formal volunteering or prior experience that shows consistency goes a long way in building professional credibility. In addition, we often work on CSR programmes for clients. An understanding of this sector can only come from having been part of one in our student days. Working for a non-profit also hones leadership skills. So pick up a cause, go out and volunteer and the difference you make will certainly make a difference to your career success.

 

This is not an exhaustive list. Feel free to add to this list and take cues from the words highlighted in italics. I look forward to your comments on the column and tweets to me. Please share this with young professionals if you are not one anymore.

 

Amith Prabhu is the founder of The PRomise Foundation which organises PRAXIS – the annual summit for PR & Corp Comm professionals in India. During the day he is a full time employee at a leading Public Relations firm in their Chicago office. He spent the first eight years of his post graduation career in India and is in the US for two years of which he has completed 18 months. Views expressed here are the author’s own and don’t represent those of his past, present, future employer or of MxMIndia. You can connect with him on Twitter @amithpr

 

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  • Himanshu Agarwal

    Thanks Amith for another informative piece. I like the way you reinforce the frameworks with anecdotal wisdom from the field.

    Also wanted to highlight that the bold fonts cited by you are not rendered on this webpage.

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