Life Beyond Public Relations: Communicators in the Real World

By Julianna Sheridan

A few months ago I wrote about how our first jobs make an impact on our careers in public relations. After a recent trip, I’ve come to realize that our jobs as communicators have a profound impact on our personal life skills.

Earlier this year, I was traveling in Morocco, a country where the culture is rooted in bartering. I was on a mission to find a blanket to bring home while in Marrakech. As I was speaking with the shop owner, he offered me the blanket for $400 – ouch. However, I had done my research and had a price in mind. I knew what these blankets sold for at home, and I had the foresight to ask a few different shop owners how much they were selling their blankets for. I held my confidence and conviction in what I was asking for, and I was able to walk away with the blanket for $40 – a price that was not only in my budget, but was much closer to the average selling price.

So what does this have to do with my career in PR? At heart, we are relationship builders and we know how to read situations and people. Because the shop owner was still engaged, I knew I could continue working with him to get a result we were both happy with. Without my strong research skills and unwavering persistence, I would not have walked away with the blanket at a fair price. While I am still growing in my career, I recognize that without my experiences at Matter, I would not be as strong in these areas.

I asked a few of my colleagues if they agreed with my hypothesis that our careers benefit us outside of work, and they wholeheartedly agreed.


Interpersonal Communications

From relationship advice gurus to family drama mediators, our interpersonal communication skills are unmatched. In our jobs we strive to take an objective approach to communicating so that we can get to the root of what a person is trying to say. We listen and find solutions with ease, which translates well when we’re tasked with helping others work through their struggles with communication. Many of the people I asked said that friends and family constantly turn to them for their sound counsel and relatable advice.


Time Management and Organization

Particularly in an agency setting, we juggle a lot at once. When there are client demands coming from every angle, it’s important for us to be on top of our to-do lists and understanding deadlines. You can usually find the PR person in the friend group as the one that’s always on time or is designated as group trip planner.


Wordsmiths and Editors

A lesser known part of our jobs as PR professionals is being strong writers across many styles, formats and industries. From press releases and pitches to client bylines, we handle more content now than ever before. I’ve edited countless emails for my parents and provided guidance to friends as they apply to graduate programs. Bottom line: we love words and we can’t resist a red pen.


Thinking Outside the Box

We are constantly tasked with brainstorming creative ideas for our accounts. Whether it’s a new pitch angle to grab a reporter’s attention, or a campaign activation to make a splash, we need to be thinking outside of the box to bring new ideas to the table that will make an impact. A few of us at Matter work with organizations outside of the agency, and leverage this creative mindset to brainstorm campaigns and events that will drive awareness and action.


If you’re interested in honing all of these skills and others, learn more about at how you can join this great group of relationship-guru, overly-organized, creative and fun professionals here.