3 PR Skills for the Future

Future Skills

A colleague recently asked me about the top three qualifications in public relations, today and in 2025.

It was for a curriculum review at a university’s journalism and mass communications school.

My first thought was about the tsunami of change we’ll see in the next 10 years. It would be easier to predict what the next three to five years will bring.

The Future Work Skills 2020 report by the Institute for the Future came to mind. Smart machines, new media and global connectivity are just some of the trends reported that will shape the future of PR and corporate communications.

For today, Tell Me About A Train Wreck, my blog post on what I’m looking for in a new hire, led me to the top qualifications for 2015:

  • Critical thinking. Using reasoning and and systems thinking to make decisions and solve problems is the foundation for this field (and many others). This is a key skill in the framework for 21st century learning.
  • Writing – for a social, mobile, global and video-based world. Writing reflects sound thinking. And in a world suffering from information overload, writing today has to be clear, concise and compelling.
  • Business acumen. A thorough understanding of the business, the competition and the industry is key to successful PR and corp comms. Give equal weight to learning about PR and the business world.

As I started projecting future qualifications, I ended up with the same three. Yet, those will hardly be sufficient for what the world will look like a decade from now. So to those foundational skills, I would add:

  • Tech savvy. This encompasses everything from video production to learning to code. As the Wall Street Journal reported, it’s about gaining “procedural literacy” and thinking about how processes work in the world. In the PR realm, it will become increasingly important to bring art (writing) and science (technology) together to engage and influence people in the future.
  • Data analysis. With the explosion in data creation, it will become increasingly important to analyze data, see patterns, choose an appropriate course of action, and know how to ethically and appropriately present data to change behaviors. This is also vital to consider on a personal branding level through Michael Fertik’s The Reputation Economy.
  • Creativity. This is another 21st century skill. And it’s one that’s closely linked with innovation. With data, technology and information, a creative ability enables connections and something new and fresh from considering and combining seemingly disparate ideas and concepts.

With so much to learn, where’s a good place to start?

Often, it’s by doing one new thing and taking just one step.

As a new school year kicks off, I’m recommitting to learning a new language with my Spanish studies. My husband is brushing up on his Italian, and our children are heading back for the first day of school.

What are you learning this fall?

Published by

Caroline Leach

Hi, I'm Caroline Leach. I help people and organizations tell their stories. I'm a Marketing VP at AT&T, a former Communications VP at DIRECTV and an alum of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. This blog, How to Build Your Career through Social Media, shows you how to build your personal brand, advance your career and embrace your future. It helps you promote your employer and your network too. Opinions expressed in this blog are my own. Your comments are welcomed and encouraged. I'd love to hear from you!

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