Q. I’m thinking about applying to some PR/communications programs in Canada. I like many aspects of the field, like all the writing one has to do. But I am an introvert. I can do public speaking fine but I’m definitely not an extroverted “people person”… my question is, do you have to be an extrovert to do well in PR/communications? -GP
A. Despite the perception that everyone in public relations is an extrovert, the profession is home to many introverts who are very successful. I bounced your question off someone claiming she’s an introvert, and she said she had the same concerns when she decided to switch her major to PR. She’s now a successful agency vice president, who manages projects well and is respected for her serious approach to helping clients and managing her team.
You might benefit from taking a personality test that confirms and quantifies your level of introversion. You may not be introverted in areas that are deemed critical to public relations. For instance, great writers and researchers don’t have to be feel comfortable glad-handing colleagues and clients, yet their work is critical to the success of the team. As you exceed in what you do well, you’ll no doubt build your confidence level and become quite comfortable as a public relations practitioner–even if you’re not a full-fledged extrovert.