media update’s Nakedi Phala reveals how PR practitioners can manage their own image, while serving their clients' businesses and organisations. 

As a PR pro, no one is there to look out for your reputation except for yourself, so it's important to present yourself in a way that makes you appear confident in the work that you do, as well as reliable. 

The most important aspects to consider when it comes to self-branding is driven by how you interact with others, how you carry yourself and how you treat other industry players. Additionally, keeping a good public image is one of the most effective ways to grow yourself in the PR space.

With that in mind, here four tips for keeping up a good image in the PR industry: 

1. Maintain a positive attitude 

As a PR pro, you’re in a field where you interact with people for the majority of your time, which means that you need to keep your attitude in check. People are drawn to positivity, as this makes them feel content and comfortable around you.

When you maintain a positive attitude, your colleagues are more likely to approach you for advice and assistance with some challenges they're facing. In essence, this makes everyone enjoy working with you — from journalists to stakeholders and clients. 

If you keep your attitude in line and consider the way in which you work with others, as well as how you treat them, you’re well on your way to becoming someone that others can draw inspiration from — and who doesn't want to be a role model in this image-obsessed industry

2. Present yourself well

When meeting with current and potential clients, you need to make sure you're tidy and presentable all the time. Even though the way that you dress doesn’t fully ‘expose’ your personality, it does play a role as to whether a potential client will give you a chance or not. 

If you’re clean, smell good and are well dressed (think corporate attire), then your physical image has already done some of the work for you. You've presented yourself like a professional. Dressing up gives off an impression of credibility and competence to others and shows that you respect and honour your profession. 

Remember, your appearance is everyone else's first impression of you — before you even say 'hello', people have already made their own deductions in their minds of who you may be. 

3. Honour and respect your job 

Honouring your job simply means you need to be passionate about being a PR pro; it means having that constant reminder as to why you chose this job over other professions out there.

Here's how you can show others that you honour your career:  

Respect time 

Time is an expensive commodity, meaning that you should always strive to complete your tasks quickly, without compromising on the quality. If your schedule is busy, diarise all the goals you need to complete. When you have responsibilities that you aren’t able to get to, remember to communicate with the affected party that there’ll be delays, as some tasks elapse over the deadline. 

Respect and credit coworkers

In the PR space, you will come across individuals with different personalities — some will be quiet, shy, and reserved and others (probably most) will be just plain bubbly. However, it is ideal to show respect to each individual, no matter who they are. The workspace is changing rapidly, so you could find yourself reporting to someone who you previously disregarded or who you now need as a client. 

In essence, just remember that everyone in the industry is different and they all have their own unique ways of doing things.

4. Be meticulous about the work you do

Paying attention to detail is important if you want to gain the approval of someone who has an eye for scrutiny.  

When you learn to have a knack for double-checking and even triple-checking your work, the return on investment for that will be people seeking to work with you going forward. 

A classic example is a well-written, edited PR press sent out to media outlets — normally, these are bound to be published; however, if the information is just haphazardly thrown into a document without a second glance, chances are that the journalist won’t bother opening any other information sent their way. This is because will have created the perception that your work is not of good taste. 

Take time to carve out your best work. At the end of the day, it reflects you and the organisation you serve at large. 

It’s essential for a PR pro to keep a positive image of themselves, especially because they’re trading in the business of image and reputation. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below. 
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A gathering of media practitioners at industry events offers opportunities for intensifying current rapport, building new relationships and even growing your brand. Check out this article on Three ways to use events as PR opportunities for more information.