The best PR consultants are essentially paradoxical – they’re at once highly insecure and deeply confident.
The best PR consultants are insecure – they are constantly thinking about what might go wrong, how a story might play out, how satisfied their client is, whether their team is fully motivated, whether the campaign is hitting objectives etc. This insecurity drives them to make sure their clients are happy, their team aligned, the copy is crisp and on message, the PR plan updated, and the news monitored. They’re constantly looking to do better, get more coverage than the last launch, more awards, briefings, speaker opps, analyst meetings. If you’re not focusing on what might happen next, anticipating the worst case, you should be.
The best PR consultants are confident – they know where the campaign will go, are sure the approach and messaging will work and that the story will pan out as planned. They’re willing to back their creative ideas and deliver against them. They’re bold in putting themselves and their clients forward, making them stand out from the crowd. They’ll shoot for the top, and if they don’t get it, bounce straight back. ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’ is their motto and more often than not, they’ll get that breakout coverage, broadcast piece or keynote. If you’re not confident in the strength of your ideas and your abilities to deliver, you should be.
Many PR consultants only display one of these traits. Purely insecure execs do well and cover all the bases for clients but tend not to push themselves forward. This can be frustrating since they do great work but are less successful in new business or making that killer first impression. Confident execs are almost the reverse, they always put themselves forward but sometimes struggle to walk the talk. They rely on a few standout achievements which help them progress, but may be lacking in other areas.
The best PR consultants have the paradoxical mix of confidence and insecurity. They have a tough, confident persona which in turn inspires confidence in their team and the client, while at their core hold a streak of insecurity which constantly drives them to perform and improve. It’s a rare paradox – but if you’ve got it, you’re destined to be the best in the industry.