Julia Schatz, Consultant 

I consider myself incredibly lucky to have grown up with the technology that is available at my fingertips. Literally. Smartphones, tablets, laptops etc. are seemingly extensions of most people today, especially my cohort of recent college graduates and those beginning their careers. Growing up with this technology leaves us with both a great advantage as well as a much less obvious disadvantage: Our deteriorated person-to-person communication skills. This is an essential skill in many fields but especially to those in the public relations world.

When I first met Dennis Culloton, president of Culloton Strategies, he said something that really resonated with me. He said that in the public relations (or any communications field, really) you need three things to be successful: strong interpersonal skills, strong writing skills and attention to detail. The first is a skill that is becoming lost in texts, emails and social networking sites. Ironically, interpersonal skills should be more important than ever for our generation!

After getting laid off from my first post-college “real” job, I began pounding the pavement and networking with as many people as possible – in person.  Nowadays, everyone gets hundreds of emails per day so if you really want to be remembered, meeting in person is crucial. In the age of social networking, we are told time and time again to create a “human voice” for our brand. You are your most important brand so being human is your biggest advantage!

This idea applies whether you are networking, interviewing or working in any communications position. Face-to-face interaction (in person, not via Skype or FaceTime) will always be most effective because it shows you are willing to make the extra effort. People recognize and appreciate this effort in a world where communication is simply a click away.  People connect to people, not words on a screen. If you want to be successful in the public relations field you need to be able to put your smartphone away and engage in conversation with those around you. Just like anything else, practice makes perfect.