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Public Relations Practitioner Career Description

Public relations is a management function concerned with bringing people together in understanding. Public relations practitioners employ all means of modem communication to achieve an effective two-way flow of information between the organisation and its target groups.

What am I going to do in this occupation?

Public relations acts on the assumption that:

» Every organisation in a modern democracy can only survive if it is acceptable to the public.

» The public's acceptance cannot survive in a communication vacuum.

For every kind of organisation, especially big companies and government departments, public relations is an important management function. The public relations policy is of direct importance to top management.

The public relations policy must be based on the long-term view of an organisation's relations with different target publics.

The public relations practitioner's work consists of the following:

Consulting
When an organisation's internal or external relationships are affected, public relations practitioners must be able to advise directorates and management on a broad spectrum of concerns.

Community involvement
A practical and effective wayan organisation can demonstrate its good citizenship on suburban, governmental and national level, is to support it financially and get involved in the activities of the community.

Employee communication
A climate of trust and understanding between workers and management is of utmost importance in good public relations of any organisation. The public relations practitioners can initiate internal newsletters to contribute to policy reviewing matters such as personnel administration, recruiting, training, etc.

Industry affairs
Public relations advisors can help to improve an organisation's interests by taking part in the activities of the industry to which they belong.

Media liaison
Most organisations have information in which the written media, radio or television would be interested.

Corporate advertising
An organisation can use advertisements to tell the public what their attitude is towards important affairs.

Videos
Many organisations produce videos about themselves and their activities.

Speeches
By providing speakers for influential groups, an organisation can often accomplish direct and continued contacts with key-persons in the community.

Organizing of special events
This includes functions like displays, exhibitions, seminars, lecture tours, conventions and promotions such as sponsored golf tournaments.

Crisis communication
Any organisation can be struck by disasters such as fire, explosions, industrial strikes or plane crashes. This can make or break an organization's reputation, image and continued survival. Crisis communication is therefore critically important.

Requirements

What kind of personality do I need? Public relations practitioners should be people orientated, with leadership abilities. They should have knowledge of human relations and oral and written communication skills as well as an understanding of the characteristics of the population groups of the country. Their interest should cover a wide range and they should have a lively, critical mind, sound judgement and be keen to learn.

They should have a good command of at least two of the country's official languages, although knowledge of more languages is recommended. Good business sense is needed to plan and execute campaigns.

Where can I work?

Public relations practitioners are employed by any type of organisation for example government departments, municipalities, mining houses, charity organisations and a host of other commercial and industrial concerns.

Can I work for myself in this occupation?

Well experienced public relations practitioners can start private undertakings that do consultation work for organisations.

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