Developing EQ in PR: Tarunjeet Rattan, co-founder, PRPOI explain how

Can you develop EQ in PR? Now that’s a tough question to answer. Can 'Emotional Quotient' be learnt, built and nurtured in a human being, let alone a team and an agency or client.

Can we really be objectively sensitive to our own selves? To answer that, PRPOI teamed up with PRmoment India to put together an interesting discussion with Dr John Victor, clinical psychologist and founder, Mind Solace and Paarul Chand, editor-in-chief PRmoment India for their Saturday Live Sessions on Facebook. While the discussion covered several aspects of the subject and answered even more, I share the top highlights of this very interesting subject here ( with my two bits thrown in).

  • Know yourself: The more you go inwards the more you will be able to understand how things impact you and articulate your views on the same. This could mean a conversation with self, friend or with a counselor. Some people find meditation and other forms of self-healing and introspection effective and yet others find reading and seminars to be effective. Find your own medium that works for you. The more you know about your relationship with self and the emotions attached, the more effectively you will be able to deal with the outside world.
  • Learn EQ: Yes, it can be learnt. This is another way of saying that you can discover EQ within yourself. You just need someone to help you discover it. Unfortunately, a lot of our schools and colleges do not teach us the same. They will teach you management theories, technology and commerce but often forget that business is done between humans not machines. That will never change. Companies rely on your ‘personal’ relationship management skills to work out complex human relationships from Day 1. Ironic, right?
  • Stand up for yourself and your teams: Empathy is great to have but it does not develop into EQ if you do not act on the emotion driving it. Stand up for yourself and your teams. This might come as a surprise to a lot of professionals out there in the cut-throat world of PR. We typically do not push back till we are pinned between a rock and a hard place. I myself have been guilty of that.  But since I started working on my EQ consciously a few years back, I let go of a lot of toxic client, team, and media relationships at work. It helped me regain new confidence in my own abilities. When this newfound energy is directed back into your own work…you can do wonders!
  • Emotions are your strength: The industry is majorly dominated by women and one of our biggest strengths is that we are fueled by emotion. There is no mountain that women cannot move if they are fueled by a strong enough emotion. Yet, they are told in not so many words that their emotions are a sign of weakness. Disapproval comes sometimes in the form of a reprimanding look, rolled eyes, smirk or general labelling as a weakling, soppy mess or PMSing jokes. Why? Obviously, no one wants you to break down in the middle of a meeting or start sobbing at your client quarterly review but can you use this emotion to understand and reach the depth of an issue so that you can solve complex business issues. Use your emotion to guide you whether the tone of a conversation or an incident should enrage you or not. Use your compassion, anger or happiness to your advantage.
  • Learn to say NO: This is one of the most valuable lessons you can learn. We let work spill into our personal lives and blur it till there is no boundary left. Some wear it as a badge of honor and realize it very late in life that this is one of the most self-destructive ways of living a life. It messes with not just your physical but also your emotional, mental and family wellbeing. There are strong forces on both sides that vie for your sanity – clients and media. If a non-appreciative boss is also thrown in this mix, you are headed for burnout faster than expected.
  • I have been guilty of this in the first couple of years of my professional life. I still sometimes do. My father caught this pattern early on and realized that after a lifetime of telling me to be a ‘good’ girl ( read : say yes to what your seniors ask of you!) , he now had to recondition my brain to say NO if I was to survive. Over the years, I trust a handful of people in my life to pull me back from the brink. Like an addict, I can sometimes fall off the wagon. Like an addict, I can give you a million and one reasons why I should finish that ppt / report and mail it off at 1 in the night. Like an addict, I can reason that this is temporary, and I have it under control. I rely, need, and trust these select individuals to intervene and restore sanity. Be good …hell! Be awesome at your job ! But don’t die proving it. You have 8 hours in the day to do that. Dazzle them blind!
  • Create a pitch that works: When you have a sensitive issue to pitch, craft one (email or conversation) that conveys concern about the issue first before pitching in your brand. It’s a fine line that you have to walk. Help the journalist on the topic first before pushing your client. A great way to achieve this by helping them out with facts, data and reports with credit source to your client. Once you have established the exceptional quality of the content you can subtly position your client as a source of more in-depth information. But lead with issue support first.
  • Set your priorities: Choose to work with an agency, boss or client who have the same priorities, values, and culture as you or one you want to learn, imbibe and grow in. Money and time are a seesaw you must balance. Wellness is the tradeoff on both ends. How much are you willing to trade off?

This was not an easy subject to deal with. Many a time when we are handling a client in PR we have to take some tough decisions with them, media or team or our own selves to preserve our own sanity and humanity. The conversation brought out a few welcome suggestions and a few uncomfortable truths. But all in all, it is worth the effort, time and energy if it helps open up a few more conversations on the subject. Build EQ in yourself and your teams today. Rub it off on your clients and media friends. Start. Today. Now.

Written exclusively for PRmoment India  by PRPOI co-founder, Tarunjeet Rattan, as part of an editorial partnership for September with  PRPOI. The entire discussion can be watched here: