Emotional Intelligence in PR

According to Spreckley, emotional intelligence is defined as “the capacity to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships empathetically”. It is the quality that enables us to confront the many problems we face with patience, insight, and imagination in our effective relationship with ourselves and other people.

The School Of Life explain in more detail what emotional intelligence is exactly and why it is necessary in the video below.

Emotional intelligence is not specific to any particular field as it is something that is necessary in all areas of a business as well as in everyday situations in life.

There are six key parts of emotional intelligence and these factors are what E.I. can essentially be defined as consisting of.

  • The first is self-awareness

Self-awareness is the ability to recognise and adapt your emotions to a particular climate or setting. In PR, it’s easy to get hot-headed when under pressure and going through a crisis. However, remaining cool and understanding that any sudden reactions could cause a backlash is key. Overreacting or reacting out of line would not only look terrible as a PR professional, but also reflects negatively on the company and their clients. A PR professional must be aware of the tones used in text and language, their body language, and their facial reactions. Self-awareness in PR can essentially prevent any damage.

  • Knowing your strengths and weaknesses

Another trait that emotional intelligence consists of is the ability to self-assess what you’re good at and what you could do with improving on. Knowing your strengths allows you to essentially do the best work that you can, improving the overall outlook of an organisation or client and essentially saving time. However, so can knowing your weaknesses. Being able to identify areas in which improvement is required means that you can reach out and request any aid that is necessary. The only way to improve on your weaknesses it to be able to actually identify what they at first, and this isn’t something that most people are able to admit.

  • Articulating emotions

Sometimes, successful communication requires a bit more that basic instruction and feedback. It requires an emotionally intelligent individual to be able to adapt their language to be supportive, assisting and empathetic with their language to get a message across. Having someone compliment your work ethic or style is a lot more encouraging that being told that what you’ve done is simply ‘good’. Vocabulary should be used in an expressive and encouraging or sympathetic way according to the context in order to achieve its desired impact. It’s all about being able to show emotion in the words you say.

  • Adaptability

With PR being an extremely fast paced field, it’s important to be able to adjust to the current climate you are facing. This is an industry that didn’t professionally exist over fifty years ago and continuing to change with the times today. According to Coetzee and Harry (2014) individuals with high emotional intelligence are those who are able to adapt efficiently to changing circumstances, often at very short notice.

  • Learning to say no

Emotional intelligence is linked non-directly to emotional wellbeing. As humans, saying no to the things that annoy or upset us is not always the easiest thing to do. Whether it’s because we feel the need to please people or simply don’t want to be perceived negatively as someone who is never on board with something,                                        

According to Tiny Buddha, the following tips should help with learning to be a bit more direct with refusing something.

  • Be direct, such as “no, I can’t” or “no, I don’t want to.”
  • Don’t apologize and give all sorts of reasons.
  • Don’t lie. Lying will most likely lead to guilt—and remember, this is what you are trying to avoid feeling.
  • Remember that it is better to say no now than be resentful later.
  • Be polite, such as “Thanks for asking.”
  • Practice saying no. Imagine a scenario and then practice saying no either by yourself or with a friend. This will get you feeling a lot more comfortable with saying no.
  • Don’t say “I’ll think about it” if you don’t want to do it. This will just prolong the situation and make you feel even more stressed.
  • Remember that your self-worth does not depend on how much you do for other people.
  • Relationship Management

The final key factor of good emotional intelligence is relationship management. This means managing interactions based on the awareness of what’s going on around you, talking in people’s thoughts, emotions, and history into account. It also includes having a good judge of character, and by this, being able to understand pressures and stresses that could affect bad work and knowing that this does not reflect individually on the person. Good relationship management creates better relationships with colleagues, employees, stake holders, and investors.

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