The PRoust Questionnaire provides a quick insight into a public relations practitioner’s interests and point of view, as well as their professional beliefs and values. If you are not familiar with the original 19th-century Proust Questionnaire, please see details at the end of this post.
1. What is your most striking characteristic as a PR practitioner?
Straight talking and to the point.
2. What is your principal fault as a PR practitioner?
Not recognizing that some people don’t like straight talking.
3. What is your favourite occupation in PR?
Being given difficult and brain-taxing things to do.
4. Why do you work in PR?
Because it’s important.
5. What is your idea of PR nirvana?
Clients who listen and take advice – and I’m enjoying a little taste of heaven now!
6. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery in PR?
People who don’t tell you the whole story when they have a problem.
7. What qualities do you most admire in a PR practitioner?
Integrity and fun.
8. What qualities do you most dislike in a PR practitioner?
Arrogance and not really caring.
9. Who would you describe as a PR hero or villain?
[Hero] Someone who makes a positive difference. [Villain] Someone who sees his or her fee as the measure of all things.
10. What do you most value in your professional contacts?
Keeping me in touch with reality.
11. Have you ever been influenced by a PR campaign?
Yes, the campaigns on conserving resources. They appeal to my better nature and my instincts – I’m a Yorkshire woman – they are notorious for looking after the pennies!
12. Where would you most like to practise PR?
13. Has a novel, film, play or other work of fiction ever influenced you as a PR practitioner?
Shakespeare’s Hamlet – as a practitioner you need to recognize the play within the play.
14. Who do you think has great public relations?
15. Which real, historical or fictional person or brand would you like to give a reputation makeover?
The Big Bad Wolf – he had kids to feed, too!
16. Who is your favourite writer?
At the moment Alexander McCall Smith – I hear Africa when I read him. For the long term, Graham Greene – fantastic stories, great writing.
17. What one thing is essential to your PR life?
18. Groucho Marx is quoted as saying he’d never join a club that would have him as a member. Which PR club, association or tribes do you belong to—and why?
Chartered Institute of Public Relations: because professionals should support their Institute. Board member of the Global Alliance, because being “global” matters and its conferences are held in wonderful places.
19. Where do you most like to do your professional networking?
Over a cappuccino.
20. What’s the best career decision you ever made?
Becoming an academic – being paid to think is wonderful.
21. What skills and abilities do you think tomorrow’s PR leaders need?
Same ones as today’s: Integrity, an ability to deal with ambiguity and a determination to do what’s right.
22. Which talent would you most like to have?
To be able to draw.
23. How would you like to end your PR career?
With a glass of champagne feeling the job’s been well done.
24. How would you describe the current state of public relations?
On the brink of greatness….or irrelevance, depending on whether we are up to the challenge.
25. What is your PR motto?
Always make the call you don’t want to…put it right.
Professor Anne Gregory, PhD, FCIPR, is director of the Centre for Public Relations Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University. Before moving into academic life, Anne spent 12 years in practice, holding senior appointments, both in-house and in consultancy. She is still actively involved in research, consultancy and training for large clients such as the Department of Health. Anne was president of the UK Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) in 2004, and edits the Institute’s Public Relations in Practice series. She is an internationally recognised researcher, has written and edited books and published in numerous journals. She is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Communication Management. Anne invites you to make contact with her by email. Or comment here.
The Proust Questionnaire was originally designed to reveal one’s personality. Its name and popularity as a form of interview has roots in the responses given by the French writer, Marcel Proust. His first set of responses came at the end of the nineteenth century, when he was still in his teens (from an English-language “confession album”).
For PR Conversations we have adapted this original idea with questions that offer a public relations’ perspective. It will be fun to compare and contrast responses as the series grows. If you would like to be invited to complete our PRoust Questionnaire for posting on PR Conversations, please visit our Crowdsourcing suggestion form.
Earlier PRoust Questionnaire respondents: