Public relations has never been more powerful or more valuable than it has in the past 10 years. Everyone from the Pope to the Queen of England, from the President of the United States to the President of Russia, from Apple to Walmart, from George Clooney to Kim Kardashian practices public relations on a daily basis. However, it is key to understand the importance of communication and its role in public relations practice.
The importance of Communication
Communication is the third step in the Public Relations process where it is a part of the overall execution. The goals of the communication process are to inform, persuade, motivate, or achieve mutual understanding. To be an effective communicator, a person must have basic knowledge of :
- What constitutes communication and how people receive messages
- How people process information and change their perceptions
- What kinds of media and communication tools are most appropriate for a particular message.
Good communicators are those that also understand their audience and have the ability to convey a message to reach their focus. In PR the role is known as a Communication Specialist and they are sometimes the face and the voice of a company brand. More often do we find companies that have gone through a crisis situation and it is the PR Communications Specialist who needs to communicate the news to the media and at times “save” the value of the company to the public.
To be a better communicator takes practice and skill. PR professionals need to understand the company and its mission and the cultural atmosphere before they decide on how to communicate their messages to the media and public.
5 tips that can help you
Here are 5 tips that can help in becoming a better communicator in a Public Relations atmosphere:
Tip #1: Think Fast
It is crucial for PR representatives to think fast and be able to have the mental agility to answer any type of question that is given to them. They must know how to position their company in the best possible light and never leave unanswered questions. This takes time in researching and being able to determine what is the message you want to give to the media about your company.
Tip #2: Understand your company values and mission
A PR professional is the voice and often the face of the company. It needs to be in line with the corporate culture and the company mission and values and understand everything relating to its brand, products, and services. However, one must also be sure to understand the company employees, staff, and its superiors because they may also need to communicate to the company culture internally as well. Knowledge and understanding of who they are will help to be able to communicate effectively and decrease any miscommunication or misrepresentation as well as clear any biases.
Tip #3: Ethics
It is so important especially in a crisis for the PR professional to always answer and communicate in an ethical manner. Openness and honesty are key components of the PR profession. When in doubt always say the truth, apologize, and end it quickly.
Tip# 4: Use the senses
The use of the senses has been known in increasing message retention. Knowing how to communicate a story or a message using more than just the listening or hearing sense will increase the probability that you can persuade or reach your audience and will make your communication process much more effective. One way of doing this is by incorporating “Storytelling” in which you can help to paint a picture in the mind of the public and the media about your company´s latest news.
Tip 5: Cater your messages towards the correct publics
Finally, as said earlier, it is essential that a PR professional cater their messages towards various publics and be versatile. When communicating messages internally to employees the messages must be done where the employees will understand and relate. No use of complicated jargon or semantics should be used. When communicating to the media and public this should also be closely researched and analyzed with the help of other departments like the marketing department to define who the target audiences will be.