Four words can recharge your PR

Creativity, charisma, competence, and confidence. These four words are the building blocks for a satisfying career in public relations.

As PR professionals, we venture into the uncertain and unpredictable world of the human condition every day. We're constantly trying to understand a multitude of audiences who influence the bottom-line interests of our clients and employers.

In our pursuit of success, we often neglect to understand ourselves, which can be stressful and threaten our careers, relationships, and overall wellbeing.

This doesn't have to happen.

Every morning, I recite four simple words: “creativity,” “charisma,” “competence,” and “confidence.” These four words, which I call “C-4,” are the building blocks that raise the foundation for not only explosive PR campaigns, but also a satisfying career in public relations.

Creativity: If you have ever dreamed, then you are creative. Often creativity comes to us when we least expect it: while exercising, relaxing, napping, walking, doing yard work, or reading. The workplace is generally grounded in a predictable Newtonian universe, but as PR professionals we must tap into that unknown force that moves Einstein's relative universe. Rarely does creativity come to us at our desks, so cultivate your creativity outside the office and it will pay dividends in your career.

Charisma: Charisma is derived from a positive attitude and a desire to succeed. These qualities stand out in our society, and you will attract likeminded friends, colleagues, and clients. Personal success philosopher Napoleon Hill, said “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

Competence: Competence comes from taking risks and accumulating enough mistakes that give you the benefit of experience. It's also knowing when to shut down your PR persona and recharge yourself with a good book, hobbies, travel, exercise and, most importantly, family. 

Confidence: At 19, I sold Kirby Vacuum Cleaners door-to-door in New York. After three months on the job, I was the top new salesman for the Northeast region. Confidence develops over time and it is extremely important as counselors to our clients and employers. It's reflected in our voices, our body language, and our demeanor.

C-4 are core attitudes that impact these additional aspects of our work:

Counselor: Lacking these qualities compromises the role of being a valued consultant.

Change: Charisma and competence keep you anchored during uncertainty.

Commander:   Every campaign needs a project manager who exhibits these qualities

Circumspection: Creativity helps us see the forest through the trees, which is strategic.

Communications: It flows from the four values.

Collaboration: You must be confident to trust the best team's approach.

Composure: Confidence and competence keep a cool head in times of crisis and deadlines.

Cold call: Charisma and confidence are vital for new business.

Capable: C-4 ensures you are a dependable and trusted team member.

In today's world, we can hardly hear ourselves think as the static gets louder. Reciting the four values every morning helps me affirm my attitude and recharge my passion to grow as a PR professional.

Patrick Slevin is SVP and general manager of the Tallahassee office of Hill+Knowlton Strategies. You can follow him on Twitter @patrickjslevin. He can be also reached at

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