PR – The answer to so many questions

PR is magnificently challenging in terms of the situations it throws up for which solutions are sought, and hugely varied in terms of the problems it can be asked to resolve.

In delivering job satisfaction, it can be wonderfully creative in terms of the opportunities it offers to be imaginative, inventive and strategic, and wholly rewarding in terms of the enjoyment and satisfaction it brings when executed well.

These and more are amongst the benefits one gets from a career in PR. If it has a health-giving dimension, it surely arises from the fact that no two days will ever be the same, nor will boredom or routine ever come as options. In that regard, PR is a career that promises physical and mental stimulation, sufficient to ensure that the successful practitioner will have little time to focus inwards in a manner that could be damaging to wellbeing.

Hugely relevant in today’s world – given all of the pressure for information and answers emanating from a 24/7 media and a curious and demanding public – the service that PR performs is likely to be in demand well into the future. Consequently, for those young people in search of a career that offers the prospect of long-term employment, PR should feature in the frame.

In government and politics…in offices of state…in the public sector generally…in commercial, professional and voluntary enterprises…in agriculture, food cultivation and production…in charities, medicine, health care and not-for-profit undertakings…in sport…in religious and church affairs…in security and policing…and in other walks of life too numerous to mention, the importance of PR is recognised and held in high regard.

Some of the skills and talents that would benefit anyone pursuing a career in PR would be an enquiring and questioning mind and doggedness when gathering fact and information. Important also would be a facility for scepticism, a talent for judging, both the ‘upside’ and the ‘downside’, a courage to speak out and give advice and caution, and an ability to be a true devil’s advocate, by seeing and sometimes judging situations as others might.

It is qualities like these that help the PR person to [metaphorically] ‘walk around’ a problem, to envisage situations and outcomes, to think through scenarios and to plot a course before finally deciding on the approach to take.

Beyond that, one must have a love of words – a craving to write, whether in statements for media consumption, speeches, reports, scripts or presentations. Beneficial too are organisational skills, a talent for abstract thinking and an ability to conceptualise – to ‘see’ things in theory, to envisage outcomes, and to be creative and ‘think outside the box’ when planning strategy and designing programmes.

PR – without it, where would life’s little questions go to be answered? Where would opportunity go to find expression? Where would those who understand it, and who strain to work in it, go to find an outlet for their talents?

While education and study have their purpose, they will not suffice to prepare one for a career in PR. In every sense, it is a ‘learned’ discipline. Only through on-the-job experience can one build up the fund of knowledge and experience that will inform performance going forward. And, such is the level of change taking place in society today, it is a poor practitioner who will not learn something new almost every day.

Those keen to pursue a career in PR would be advised to consult the Public Relations Institute of Ireland regarding courses available or to interact with practitioners who are prominent and active in the trade.