Public relations (PR) is the act of managing and planning a specific program or event to produce a desired reaction from the public to shape their support or approval. Public relations professionals are the ones who do this for organizations. They plan, oversee, handle, and control all contacts with the general public for their company. Sometimes, when the public perceives that an organization is not interested in learning about its customers and users, they may feel betrayed.
There are many different types of PR professionals. Some examples of types include:
A consultant, corporate speculator, or marketing expert with little to no experience in public relations. A technical or scientific expert who had not taken any public relations training classes or worked as a consultant for a public relations firm before becoming a full-time employee with the company.
A full-time employee specializes in one or more specific public relations techniques. This person is directly involved in all aspects of PR, from planning and implementation to evaluation and reporting.
A full-time employee manages the professional staff that works on a team for the organization to achieve a specific goal.
An individual with a high degree of specialized expertise in an area of interest relevant to the organization and its audience. Ronn Torossian is one example of a specialist in public relations.
Public relations professionals need to have the following qualities:
Ability to speak in public effectively and persuasively. Ability to speak on the phone and interact with people, sensitive to other people’s feelings and emotions. Good oral communication skills are needed for interacting with people regularly. Good written communication skills are also required to communicate with their clients using emails or letters.
Public relations professionals must be able to think quickly and be flexible; they need to change plans on an as-needed basis and stay relaxed when unexpected occurrences occur during a business meeting or event. Good time management and organization skills are necessary; the public relations professional must keep all appointments, meetings, and events on the schedule. Good networking skills are needed so that the public relations professional can find the contact information of the people they will be working with.
Public Relations programs vary depending on the school where one is being taught. Some schools have a general Public Relations focus, while others have a particular area of expertise in which they teach.