Emotional Intelligence in Public Relations: PR = EQ

Fri, Jun 10 2016

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% 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.

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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

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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.


Gotham PR recently published this piece on PR Newser concerning the importance of cultivating a mentor through an internship. As public relations is a two-way street, so is mentorship; mentors should look not only to educate the younger employees they take under their wings, but to learn from millennials as well.


Young adults entering the workforce typically do not just see a job as a means to make money, but as a vessel to contribute their knowledge and passion to. They bring a more passionate approach to the industry, and can teach veteran employees a thing or two about emotional intelligence and its value. “Reverse mentorship,” as detailed in a thought piece by PR Week, reveals that senior executives benefit from having a younger, tech-savvy mentee that can help them navigate the digital world.


The value of mentorship can be tracked, too. Keeping up with past employees and interns to see where they are today can help a company see their value of their mentorship. Gotham PR maintains an active team roster, which also includes alumni and where they presently work and rank in the industry. Maintaining relationships is key in any agency, whether it is internally or externally, which we are currently researching further for a book to be published.


At Gotham PR we continue to cultivate talent both internally and externally, often creating marketing departments where there was none in-house to grow a business. It is this unique skillset in coaching clients properly on how to grow a brand at scale, as well as managing the day the day business, that makes our agency an asset beyond PR and experts in EQ.

Author: Courtney Lukitsch, CEO & Founder of GothamPR. Article originally posted on PRNewser; find it here.

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