“I’m a people person.” That statement brings joy to the hearts of PR professionals…just kidding. This statement provides nothing but annoyance and a round-the-world roll of the eyes from those in the PR industry. Yet, this statement seems to exemplify what people assume a PR professional is: a people person. We do work with people but we are much more than that. In any aspect of business, you must be able to communicate and be able to work with other people around you.
I know that my freshman and sophomore year of college I had no idea what public relations meant besides the fact that it dealt with people. But to what extent it dealt with people, my knowledge was filled with empty holes. In PR, we learn how to utilize and harness our communication and management skills, think outside the box, and represent our client by disseminating relevant and necessary information to the press, creating events, preparing media plans, among other activities, in order for our clients’ messages to be heard and used by their targeted audiences.
If it were this simple for people to understand, public relations wouldn’t be so misunderstood, but it isn’t this simple and the problem stems from a deeper root. The president of Public Words, Dr. Nick Morgan, wrote in his Forbes article, “Almost Everyone Gets PR Wrong,” that, “Executives usually think about public relations as if it were a matter of keeping score. You get good points for favorable press mentions; you lose points for bad ones.” However, executives and others miss the points of who PR professionals are and what they do.
PR professionals have two general objectives that we must reach in order to begin to do our job for any client. A public relations professional must be able to think as an outsider looking and wondering about what our company (or our client) looks like to an everyday person, as well as seeing the client’s needs and wants through their perspective. This provides a divide that many people don’t understand and often underestimate. It’s our job to connect the two perspectives in order to satisfy our client’s needs and wants through their messaging while also making this message relevant and satisfying for our client’s audiences.
This leads us to the second general objective which is our story-telling ability. As PR professionals, it is our duty and ability to provide our clients’ compelling stories through short and sweet synopsis’s that grabs our clients’ audience’s attention. We do this through a narrative. Dr. Morgan stated in his Forbes article that, “The narrative is the quick story that has developed over a long period of time for any organization, company or important public figure.” While representing clients we must do the best we can in order to tell their story in the most efficient and effective way to be disseminated to wider audiences.
PR professionals work with people but we do much more than that; it’s our job to connect two realities; tell the stories right and benefit both the clients and their customers.