The Nine Types of Public Relations Professionals: Using the Enneagram to Understand Your Strengths

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If you are like me, you visited the PRSSA National Conference and looked around the room in awe. The people I met were so different from me, but we are all interested in the same profession. That, coupled with a recent discussion in my public relations class, made me curious about how different personality types interact with public relations. I personally love the Enneagram, a system of nine types of personalities. Here is a brief description of each type, as well as how they function as a public relations professional.

Type One

Type One in Brief: Their basic fear is of being corrupt, and their basic desire is to be good.

As a Public Relations Professional: Type Ones have a strong sense of integrity and embody the idea that public relations should be the guiding ethical force of an organization. As well as being driven and organized, Ones strive for perfection, meaning they work hard to achieve the best.

Type Two

Type Two in Brief: Their basic fear is of being unworthy, and their basic desire is to be loved.

As a Public Relations Professional: Type Twos are frequently cited as knowing what others need before they are told. This makes a wonderful coworker, but it also makes for a professional who can anticipate client needs and make clients feel comfortable.

Type Three

Type Three in Brief: Their basic fear is of being worthless, and their basic desire is to be valuable.

As a Public Relations Professional: Type Threes are highly skilled at networking and making connections. Not only are they willing to meet new people, but they easily adapt to different social circumstances. Threes are driven and hardworking.

Type Four

Type Four in Brief: Their basic fear is of being unauthentic, and their basic desire is to be significant.

As a Public Relations Professional: Type Fours are extremely creative people who thrive when able to let their originality pour out of themselves. These are the public relations professionals who will create beautiful, unique work and strive for authenticity and originality in all they do.

Type Five

Type Five in Brief: Their basic fear is of being helpless, and their basic desire is to be capable.

As a Public Relations Professional: Type Fives are highly inquisitive. Their favorite part of public relations is the researching portion. They will fully immerse themselves in research and ask questions until they feel as if they have truly conquered the subject.

Type Six

Type Six in Brief: Their basic fear is of being without guidance, and their basic desire is to be secure.

As a Public Relations Professional: Type Sixes are constantly scanning their own environments to see what potential crises could occur. That translates well into crisis management. Sixes also pause to look at all sides of a story and ask the questions to help the group be confident before proceeding.

Type Seven

Type Seven in Brief: Their basic fear is of being in pain, and their basic desire is to be content.

As a Public Relations Professional: Type Sevens are highly enthusiastic. They will always be thinking one step ahead of the team and are the ones who will make even the most boring of tasks fun.

Type Eight

Type Eight in Brief: Their basic fear is of being controlled, and their basic desire is to protect themselves.

As a Public Relations Professional: Type Eights are great at being in control of a situation. Let them handle the moments when you need to put an assertive foot forward. Eights are also highly concerned with morality, so they will speak up if asked to do anything unethical.

Type Nine

Type Nine in Brief: Their basic fear is of being lost, and their basic desire is to be peaceful.

As a Public Relations Professional: Type Nines are great at looking through other perspectives. They are the ones who can easily step outside themselves to see how different publics and/or personas will view messaging.

To learn more about the Enneagram and find your type, visit www.enneagraminstitute.com/.

Anne Davis Parks is a senior at Samford University, finishing her double major in journalism and mass communication, and English. She serves as her PRSSA Chapter’s vice president of communications and as a JMC Department ambassador. Connect with her on Twitter @annedavisparks or via LinkedIn.

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