The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in PR

This is a guest post by Courtney Lukitsch, founder and principal at Gotham PR.

This is a guest post by Courtney Lukitsch, founder and principal at Gotham PR.

Given the wildly successful business tome Emotional Intelligence 2.0, there is a renewed excitement about how to shape the culture of the future workplace. Core tenets of this work revolve around identifying key attributes that contribute to working in groups and independently. The focus on emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, in tandem with IQ, is important to the very survival of any working environment.

Within the PR profession, we have witnessed EQ’s increasing significance, given 24/7 digital media and the Client being ‘always on.’ In the 21st Century, clients are constantly engrossed in their social media presence and how they appear to the public. Deadlines and emotions, along with expectations and results, routinely run high, as detailed in this thought piece by the PRSA. Extensive studies go so far as to state that emotional intelligence drives culture, which in turn impacts strategy and ultimately, business outcomes. PR pros are expected to master communication as the voice of a brand or firm with 100 percent authority and objectivity, every moment of the day.

A recent definition of PR has come into play, where agencies are tasked with performance recognition in addition to the multidisciplinary purview that we at agencies already possess: media training, branding, strategic planning, creative press relations, social media interactions, reputation management, new business development, high profile industry event production, professional photography and onsite media tours among them.

Entrepreneur cites the key role that emotional intelligence plays in today’s workforce. Professionals with higher EQs have proven to work better in groups. In a typical office setting, teamwork is imminent and is important to success.

PR professionals are constantly working in groups, whether it is within their own agency or with clients. Having a high EQ is integral in the PR industry in order to succeed. Taking the time to cultivate emotional intelligence within an agency, as well as seeking out new hires with higher EQs, will propel your agency forward.

Emotional intelligence is defined as being aware, expressing, and controlling ones own emotions, as well as handling interpersonal relationships empathetically. The four components used to analyze a person’s EQ are as follows:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management

As detailed in Emotional Intelligence 2.0, an individual can modify their EQ level and practice habits that will increase it. Because EQ is malleable, while IQ is not, it is important for professionals to understand how to improve themselves to ultimately improve their workplace.

Because of deadline-driven environments, misunderstandings via social media and online presence, and overall high-stress levels, understanding emotional intelligence is key to a successful business. High EQs mean more productivity and less conflict. And although emotional intelligence is heavily equated with teamwork and group interaction, that doesn’t mean agencies should drift away from one-on-one interaction with employees and clients. Taking the time to sit down with another professional and understand their goals will benefit your company in the long run.

Surveys demonstrate that while a C-level executive or team leader may possess an exceptional educational background, work credentials and profit-driven track record, they might be lacking in the ability to relate to all members at every level within an organization, or be clueless as to their contributions or roles. This is where emotional intelligence allows one generation to train and relate to the next within growing organizations.

Mentorship is important for everyone in any industry, but particularly public relations, because it will help to shape the future of the craft. It is the role of experienced and burgeoning PR professionals to assess how mentorship within an agency as well as client-side impacts the success of any campaign.