Agency life requires many things—writing skills, attention to detail, fast responses … you name it. However, one of the most crucial things needed when working in an agency is a solid set of interpersonal skills.
So, what exactly are interpersonal skills? They’re skills and traits used to interact and communicate with others—also known as people skills (Indeed).
In an agency, you’re collaborating with a variety of professionals, helping coworkers come up with solutions to last-minute issues and working closely in groups to create exceptional results for your clients. Having effective interpersonal skills is essential—you can’t expect to connect with your clients and team if you are unable to properly communicate and relate to them.
We have compiled a list of what we have found to be a few of the most critical interpersonal skills used in agency life to keep company culture engaging, fun and comfortable. Ready, set, read!
Keeping an open line of communication between coworkers is essential when working in an agency. Although our two offices are almost 1,000 miles away from each other, we are constantly staying in touch, whether it’s for a client project, a brainstorming session or a team meeting.
Though we all understand the importance of communication, we can’t do it by ourselves. Our team uses a few different types of platforms to keep us in-touch and organized. Team collaborative software like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack and Google Hangout are useful for video calls, messaging and scheduling meetings—we use it constantly. Project management software such as Asana, Trello, Wrike or Monday can easily become a guardian angel of sorts by keeping you on track with a multitude of tasks and projects. Ours allows us to schedule said tasks for ourselves and others, create requests for our design team and collaborate on any current or upcoming projects together.
Overall, communication is key within any organization, but of course, agency life, especially when multiple teams are needed for a project. Also, who doesn’t love a nice dose of teamwork?
Strong communication with clients is imperative as well—you wouldn’t want to make a mistake on an important project because of an unclear email or confusing phone call. Staying on top of client work and staying in-tune with what the client is looking for can boost the way other brands see your agency, making it a leader in capability, efficiency and performance.
2. time management & organization
When deadlines are hitting you left and right or you’re working on projects for multiple clients, organization and time management are essential. At KM&A, we take pride in our work—timeliness plays an important part in that. Being late creates a sense of mistrust with clients and can cost you your credibility as an agency!
This is when project management software comes in handy. Ours allows us to see the status of a task, how far along in the process it is and what tasks need to be completed or need additional TLC.
Staying organized and being on time are two interpersonal skills that play hand in hand. They have a symbiotic relationship, kind of like the different departments we have here at KM&A.
When we say flexibility, we’re not talking about gymnastics. We mean mental flexibility—the ability to adapt and respond with strategic problem solving to an obstacle that pops up such as last-minute events, shortened deadlines or a PR crisis. As you know, life is full of twists and turns and every day is different. Having the ability to adjust to changes quickly is necessary in order to be successful.
4. self confidence
Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘confidence is key’? It reigns true in agency life as well. Think about it this way: if you’re pitching a marketing strategy to a client, are they more likely to bite if you sound confident in your work or if you sound unsure? Right, they’re more likely to trust the confident pitch. How can you expect brands and businesses to trust you if you don’t even trust yourself?
The same goes for internal meetings and pitches. Being confident in the work you create and sounding sure of yourself in a meeting with leadership will make them more likely to welcome your pitch or idea. It’s all about answering the most important question: why? Why is this strategy the best? Why is this the most conducive way to build engagement on a client’s Facebook page? Why were these colors used in the brand guidelines? Having confidence in the decisions you make assures your clients and leadership team that you know what you’re doing.
At KM&A, we’re extremely confident in our work. Not to be boastful (okay, maybe a little), but the proof is in the pudding—we’re bold, strategic and confident in our abilities and that’s what creates the breakthrough results our clients see.
5. problem solving
We hope you have your thinking cap on because problem-solving skills are vital in agency life. Let’s say a significant prop breaks during the filming of a virtual event—what are you going to do? What if a client posts something controversial on social media and is receiving serious backlash for it? How are you going to fix the issue or concern?
As an agency pro, you must always be on the ball when a problem arises. Life moves fast (as does life in the office), so being quick and prepared for a potential problem is always a smart thing to do. Think of it as mental insurance … you’re planning for the worst and ensuring you have a plan C, just in case your plan B falls through—but let’s be honest here, regardless of the outcome, we’re certain it’ll to be one heck of an experience.
Now that you’ve brushed up on some of the important interpersonal skills needed for agency life, you’re ready to hit the office! Having a solid set of interpersonal skills not only expands your professional reach through networking and communication with coworkers and clients, but also influences the company culture of your workplace. Creating an open, organized, collaborative workspace can lead to successful projects, campaigns and work.
Next time you’re working on a challenging task, remember the key skills: communication, time management, organization, flexibility, confidence and problem solving … oh, and the cherry on top? A positive attitude!