March 2009


The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it.” –Edward R. Murow

From the Textbook “Public Relations: strategies and tactics” by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glenn T. Cameron.

Communication, known to some in PR as execution, is the third step in the Public Relations process. Goals of the communication process include, but are not limited to:

  • Inform
  • Persuade
  • Motivate
  • Understand

To reach these goals, professionals need to understand how people receive messages,  how people process the information that they recieve, and which tools to use in the media to get the desired message out.

Is the message appropriate? Is it meaningful? Is it memorable? Will the audience understand it? – These are just some questions that pro’s should ask themselves before the plan is executed.

One should ALWAYS remember that communication is SYMMETRICAL. It is a balance between the sender and the reciever. The sender should also recieve feedback to judge if the message was communicated correctly.

Effective use of language is a key concept and should be carefully considered. The target audience should play a large roll.

The credibility of the source is most important. If people do not believe the source of the information, then the message will be of no use. In fact, if the source is known to be unrealiable, then the message can actually be negative.

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Ethics are norms that are based on one’s moral behavior when descisions of fairness arise or questions of right or wrong. Many people use “The Golden Rule” as their basis for ethical descision making. In Public Relations it is always important to have good ethical tactics for many reasons; for instance reputations of yourself and the people you represent are at stake and the public that you are giving information to deserve to have the full truth.

PRSA has its own code of ethics that PR proffesionals are to follow. The society agrees that there are 6 core values that should be followed : Advocacy, Honesty, Expertise, Independence, Loyalty, and Fairness. There are different tips on handling different situations as every conflict will be individual and unique.  http://www.prsa.org/searchResults.html?c=1&id=88145&qr=ethics

PR is not considered a profession at this time because it lacks the education and background that is required for other feilds like dentistry or medicine. Many argue, however, that PR is a combination of many professions. ‘”We act as publicists, yet we talk of counceling. We perform as technologists in communication, but we aspire to be decision-makers dealing in policy”‘ (John F. Budd Jr.). PRSA is one of the first to aquire an accreditation program. This lengthy program involves a preview course, portfolio, and written exam. Members that are awarded are considered Accredited in Public Relations.

Public opinion and persuasion are key factors involved with PR. A public relations professional should be able to understand the public’s opinion of different subjects, especially when their client is involved; and a professional should be able to persuade the public opinion, especially when their client is involved.

 

 “One cannot wage war under present conditions without the support of public opinion, which is tremendously molded by the press and other forms of propaganda.” -Douglas MacArthur

 

From the Textbook “Public Relations: strategies and tactics” by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glenn T. Cameron.

Public opinion is the sum of individual opinions on an issue affecting those individuals. Opinion leaders are people that are knowledgeable and articulate about certain issues. These people may be highly interested in the subject, be better informed than the average consumer, be early adopters of a new idea, or avid consumers of mass media. They usually have a college degree, are active in the community, earn a relatively high income, and are regularly informed on the news.

Persuasion is used to change negative opinions or conserve positive opinions. Factors of persuasion include:

  • Audience analysis
  • Source credibility
  • Clarity of message
  • Timing
  • Audience participation
  • Persuasive Speaking

Sometimes there just aren’t ways to effectively deliver the desired message. There are many times when limitations in the communication process hinder a firm’s ability to reach the eyes, ears, minds, and perceptions of the target audience. Some of these limitations are lack of message penetration, competing messages, self-selection, and self-perception. There will be times when one will not be able to change the minds of certain individuals. It is important, in my eyes, for the company to focus on the percentage of people that are undecided on an issue or willing to listen, instead of the hardheaded individuals or groups that will most likely never change their minds.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try try again”-Unknown

In every firm, business, organization, team, or group it is so important to evaluate the outcome. Did you win or lose and why? Did we make a profit? Did we have a good time? Everyone asks these types of evaluation questions throughout their daily lives. Even children evaluate events- and believe me, you will know if the rating is POOR or UNSATISFACTORY.

From the Textbook “Public Relations: strategies and tactics” by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glenn T. Cameron.

Evaluation is the fourth step in the PR process following the execution, or communication of the plan. Evaluation is the measurement of results against the established objectives as set during the planning process. Why do we evaluate? We evaluate our outcomes to see if we should do something different next time. We also evaluate to see if our time and money was allocated correctly. I have always heard that hindsight is 20/20, and with the evaluation process we have the opportunity to change anything in the process that did not work.

There are abundent ways to measure an audience’s reaction and awareness, or a product’s popularity. These are just a few:

  • Measuring a website’s HITs. (how much a site is viewed)
  • Day after Recall
  • Readership of a particular newspaper or magazine
  • Polls
  • Surveys
  • REACTIONS

From what I have learned throughout my life is that a negative reaction to something will generate a HUGE urge to publicly evaluate whereas a positive reaction is expected by the audience and he/she may not feel the need to publicly assess the product. As a rule of thumb, a person who enjoys a product or event may tell 0-2 people (maybe 5 if they are extatic about the situation), while people that are extreemly dissatisfied will tell more than 10. (especially if he/she blogs).

Although I was sick on Wednesday, I listened to the cool new TuneTalk application on the blog to see what I missed! It is so funny that we are talking about interviewing because so many people in our house have been interviewing this past month.

TIPS

1. Research the company that you are being interviewed for. Be prepared for the converstation. Our roommate was asked flat out what she knew about the company- luckily she and her mother had looked up important information.

2.  Dress up. It is important to care about your appearance even on a phone interview!  This has even been discussed on the hit TV show “What not to Wear.”

3.  Keep good Body Language. Shake hands firmly (but not too hard) with one hand and keep good eye contact. Put your nametag on the right side of your body.

4. It is OK to ask Questions. Keep them appropriate, but ask any questions that you have.

5.  Be on Time. Early is on time and on time is late. – At a group interview that I was at a girl came in 10 minutes late and the first question they asked her is, “Why is it important to be on time?” (it was very embarassing)

6. Do not Figget too much. Cross your legs at your ankles or just keep your knees together. If you move or figget too much it could be distracting.

7. Get a good nights sleep and eat a snack a little bit before. Being tired or hungry can turn out bad.

8. Bring your resume. Yes, you already sent one in, but it is still important to bring a second one. Have one infront of you in a phone interview!

9. Do NOT talk about personal things. Keep the conversation professional. -If you are not focussed on the job, they won’t focus on you!

10. Do not smoke before.- Don’t even stand with someone that has been smoking. – The interviewer WILL smell it and judge you.

– There are many more tips for interviews and resumes online, but the best advice is from HR managers and people’s personal experiences.

http://advice.com/category/Career_AND_Work/?gclid=CLuSxN30lJkCFQEuxwodbBlOZQ

Planning is another essential step to the process of PR. Like a wise man once said,”If you fail to come prepared, you come prepared to fail.” Planning will help everyone involved in the project get a closer look at what is expected of each individual and give people a closer look at the overall goal.

From the Textbook “Public Relations: strategies and tactics” by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glenn T. Cameron.

  • After researching, it is important to put all of the data together and plan on how to use it effectively.
  • It should be a strategy to meet the organizations goals.
  • The 9 steps to Management By Objective (MBO) include:
    1. Client/employer objectives
    2. Audience/publics
    3. Audience Objectives
    4. Media Channels
    5. Media Channel Objectives
    6. Sources and Questions
    7. Communication Strategies
    8. Essence of the Message
    9. Nonverbal Support

Program plans involve many elements to ensure that the overall goal is met. These elements may include having a clear understanding of the situation, having a specific and defined audience, providing guidelines of the strategy, and a clear message theme.

  • It is important that all team members know the tactics and activities to be performed.
  • A calendar and time-line are essential to propper planning.
  • A clear budget should be drawn up and reported back to after every transaction throughout the process.
  • Restate the objectives and goals of the firm and the project while planning.
  • Always know that the planning process is never over. At times, many teams may have to “tweak” their plans while performing tasks if something does not turn out the way it was originally intended.

As students we have all learned that research is important. From the third grade we have learned how to use books, the internet, and newspapers as sources for papers. Even in simple conversation with friends it is important to have background information about what you are talking about- or else you may find yourself looking like a fool. For me, I was even required to research topics for my father and present a valid argument if I wanted to attend an event, party, or even sometimes a date (weird, I know).

From the Textbook”Public Relations: strategies and tactics” by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glenn T. Cameron.

Today, research is considered as an integral part of the planning, program development, and evaluation process. Just as in science, there are some standard questions that any researcher should ask.

  • What is the problem?
  • What kind of information is needed?
  • How will the results be used?
  • What specific publics should be researched?
  • Should the firm use in-house or an outside firm?
  • How will the data be reported or applied?
  • How soon will the results be needed?
  • How much will the research cost?

Secondary research is one that most people are familiar with. It involves reviewing data and archives, running customer profiles, and searching databases. Popular search engines include Google and Yahoo. Qualitative research is used to gain insights into how individuals behave, think, and make decisions. It is also used to see how the audience responds to key messages. Quantitative research involves scientifically sampling audiences. Random samples are used so that information is representative of the general population. Questionnaire Construction can be valuable in understanding the public’s opinion or view on different subjects. It is important to be unbiased in the wording of questions (do not have “loaded questions”), keep the questionnaire short, and have appropriate sample size pool of people.

For other tips on research check out Erica Lecono’s article in PRWeek: “Leading the Brand: Solid Research Can Take a Brand to a Whole New Level.”