Effective Communication Skills for Public Relations

by Lisa McQuerrey; Updated September 26, 2017
Businesspeople At Conference

Public relations professionals provide clear, concise and timely information about their clients and their clients’ businesses to the media and the general public. This requires an ability to be an articulate and effective communicator.

Verbal Skills

Public relations representatives often speak in public, participating in interviews, panel discussions and news conferences. This requires a strong, even speaking voice that is easy to understand. To be effectively received, public relations professionals should project an air of confidence, knowledge and authority while speaking. An overly soft voice, a tendency to stammer, talking too quickly or being hesitant can project a lack of confidence.

Written Skills

Public relations professionals often create media kits and issue written statements and news releases. These communications are intended to catch the attention of the news media as well as convey accurate news and information. This requires the ability to write compelling headlines and convincing copy and creativity in pitching articles.

Social Media Savvy

Social media venues have the potential to quickly spread news and information via multiple avenues, and public relations professionals must be able to communicate effectively through these channels. You must be continually aware of trending news and be able to compose short, fast, easy-to-read posts and updates and to redirect or dispute negative commentary quickly. You also require the ability to stay abreast of trending news and information and insert client news into appropriate online forums that attract viewers and subscribers.

Crisis Management

Public relations staffers are often required to handle crisis situations, such as product recalls, corporate scandals or emergency situations. Professionals are able to communicate in a fast yet calm manner, presenting the facts while positioning the client in the best light possible. This requires the ability to think quickly, formulate communication strategies while under the gun and maintain a steady voice.

Persuasive Ability

Part of effective public relations involves the ability to develop and maintain media sources. You must be able to explain why clients would make good interview sources and provide compelling story overviews, both verbally and in writing. Public relations staffers may work with a client’s marketing or communications team to ensure persuasive messaging is consistent.

Photo Credits

  • Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images