Understanding Public Relations is Through Learning and Experience

What really is “PR”?

At the very youth of my course we were frequently (and still are) asked “how would you summarise Public Relations?”

PR is not something that can be described in a sentence, after sitting through 2 whole Semesters of experienced lecturers passing on their personal experiences and expanding our knowledge with PR theory, it is clear to me that everyone seems to have their own definition of PR.

In my earlier lectures, we were told that we are going to graduate as “professional communicators” whereas others stress the utmost importance of PR is reputation, which is definitely important, especially for young practitioners like ourselves who are just starting to build our contacts and personal identity within this field. In my understanding, PR is constantly changing and it is the acceptance of this constant change that is key to a PR practitioner.

In an earlier lecture; we were introduced to the room with a quote from the book title “How to win friends and influence people” (Dale Carnegie) It is this importance of reputation that a practitioner is expected to maintain if they are to pursue a career in public relations. Our lecturer went on to tell us “never stop learning”. PR is through experience and learning, even a post-graduate is still learning and continue to do so during their career as a practitioner. This can be explained by a practitioners ability to adapt to the changing and developing of PR with an open mind and a curious heart.

Cover of How to Win Friends and Influence People

When I was younger, I can remember being asked to define words or phrases under pressure in a single sentence that I simply could not do, I wouldn’t be able to find the perfect words that could define a subject and give it justice. For example, ”Define ‘culture’ in one sentence”, I don’t know about you, but for me, being asked to do this under pressure seems rather daunting! It is this same principle that stands for PR. There are various different ways to define it but somebody else is going to have a different opinion or approach to the subject.

So, every time I am asked the question “what is PR?”, I share my education and experience of the subject so far; my answer to the question is undoubtedly going to change throughout my future as a PR practitioner, as is yours.

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