November 18, 2021 / in PR 101Professional DevelopmentUS Blog / by Mary Lorenz

According to the 2021 Global Comms Report, the role of the modern communications professional looks far different today than it did a decade or even five years ago:

  • Eighty-seven percent of communications leaders say the C-suite has sought their teams’ counsel more in the past year.
  • Additionally, 91% agree that, in addition to being strong communicators, today’s comms professionals have to be strong data analysts as well.

With that in mind, we wanted to see what other skills were essential, given today’s rapidly evolving media landscape. We asked the PR and comms pros of our online client community, Cision City, to tell us about the most in-demand soft skills required in today’s landscape. We took their top answers into this handy (and printable!) infographic for easy reference.

How did we land on these traits? Here’s a quick breakdown:

Adaptable: A majority of our Cision City members agree that the ability to evolve in an ever-evolving industry is essential. As one respondent summed it up, “What was relevant when I graduated is now irrelevant, this is the case for every aspect of the industry. So being able to quickly adapt to fast-happening changes is a must.”

Analytical: One of the major takeaways from the recent 2021 Global Comms Report is how PR and comms are relying more and more on data in their roles, and the feedback from our Cision City community reflected that reality as well. Key to success today, according to one respondent: “Knowledge of the different areas of the industry, including new ones like social media and a data-first mind set.” Another emphasized the need for strong reporting/analytical skills, critical thinking skills and digital/tech savviness.

Organized: Organizational skills came up a LOT with the survey respondents, which makes sense – especially now that PR’s role is much more complex and nuance with a lot of moving parts to juggle. One respondent put it succinctly: “You definitely need to be organized, or else you won’t get anything done.”

Agile: While PR pros have always needed to show a certain level of agility, the events of 2020 underscored just how critical this skill is. Or as one respondent put it: “You need to able to think and act fast. COVID taught this to all of us.” Similarly, another told us that a good PR pro “knows to expect the unexpected and isn’t fazed by constantly being confronted by new challenges.” Amen.

Creativity: While it should go without saying that, writing is probably one of the most essential qualities anyone in this industry needs, one respondent pointed out that “being creative is just as important [as being a good writer].” The reason? As another respondent put it: “If you can tell a story that grabs someone’s attention (and keeps it) then you will be a rockstar in this industry.”

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Enjoyed this infographic? You might like the Anatomy of a (Nearly Perfect) Press Release

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About Mary Lorenz

Mary Lorenz is Editorial Director at Cision and writes about best practices and thought leadership for marketing, communications and public relations professionals. She has a background in marketing, public relations and journalism and over 15 years of experience in copywriting and content strategy across a variety of platforms, industries and audiences.