3 Types of PR Pros

3 types of PR pros: What’s your sign?

People have been trying to figure out other people for millennia. Some attribute your personality traits to the year you were born [see: Chinese zodiac], the day you were born [see: Western astrology], or right down to the minute you were born [see: Hindu astrology]. In any of these examples, it seems to have nothing to do with your upbringing or cultural influences. It has all been pre-ordained.

I don’t believe that we have a specific destiny, but without getting too metaphysical, I think we can work backwards a bit from your chosen profession to determine what sort of person you are.

At this point, you might be getting your back up a bit.

“You don’t know me!”

“Who made you judge and jury?”

“As a Leo, I take deep offense!”

Just hear me out.

We identify our stakeholders and categorize them into publics all the time. I’m just reversing the thinking and taking a look at public relations as an industry. What traits do we share? How do we differ? And, what can we learn from each other to become better at what we do?

To my mind, there are three types of PR pros. Let’s take a quick look at each to help you decide your sign.

The Strategist
Behind-the-scenes mastermind and tactician

3 types of PR pros: The Strategist

Upside: This person prefers to be in the background, feeding the communications needs of forceful personalities and speakers. They feel that without their guidance and support, the organization would crumble to the ground. They excel at deploying the right comms, over the right channels, at precisely the right time.

Downside: While technically proficient, their delivery can fall flat if they are not well rehearsed or if they don’t have all the data.

The Showman
Adrenaline-fueled, get-out-in-front, spotlight seeker

3 types of PR pros: The Showman

Upside: This person loves the limelight, actively looking for opportunities to spread the good word in front of any audience, whether it’s the people she met in the elevator, or an audience of thousands at a conference or event. They are confident in their presentations, prepared or otherwise, and exude charisma. They are born connectors, instantly likeable, and great in a crisis.

Downside: They tend to be reactionary and fly by the seat of their pants. They deliver detailed plans when needed, but prefer to wade into the conversation immediately.

The Utility Player
Well-rounded, hybrid practitioner

3 types of PR pros: The Utility Player

Upside: This jack of all trades is usually a bit more experienced and appears to be in complete control. They are able to step into almost any situation, generate ideas, and take the lead in implementing them. They are equally comfortable delivering their key messages to a group as they are creating them in the first place.

Downside: The last part of ‘jack of all trades’ is ‘master of none’.  Utility Players are prone to playing Devil’s Advocate with themselves, undermining their abilities if they feel out of their comfort zone.

Naturally, the truth about any individual lies somewhere in between, and in reality, your organization needs all three, but in your heart of hearts, you know which one describes you best. The key thing to take away from this blog post is that you need to know which one you are to optimize your talent, and seek opportunities to grow.

If you’re a Strategist, take a public speaking course. If you’re a Showman, step back from the moment and look at the longer term. If you’re a Utility Player, stretch yourself in low risk situations.

Do you recognize yourself in this list? Is there another distinct sign you’d like to add? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Photo credits:


Published by

Ashley Brown, APR

I have seen and done it all, on large and small scales, including communications planning, event coordination, print production, digital presence management, media relations, and more. Bringing in an outside perspective, with an objective set of eyes to pour over your organization's communications programs is considered best practice and yields actionable results. I gather anecdotal and empirical evidence to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of your current communications programs, and make suggestions about how to improve your planning and execution processes, as well as your communications products and materials.

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