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Informing the public, interest groups, and stockholders of an organization’s policies, activities, and accomplishments is an important part of the communication function. The work also involves keeping management aware of public attitudes and the concerns of the many groups and organizations with which they must deal.
Media specialists draft press releases and contact people in the media who might print or broadcast their material. Many radio or television special reports, newspaper stories, and magazine articles start at the desks of public relations specialists. Sometimes, the subject is an organization and its policies towards its employees or its role in the community.
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The other side of the coin is the societal functions of PR. Relationship management and social responsibility are two vital functions of public relations. Servicing the public requires good management of expectations, not our expectations, but the expectations of those we serve. But we can’t do that unless we are way ahead of the curve, unless we make sure that we know exactly what it is that our society expects of us and what we produce and do for them, and how they expect us to behave in the process. Public relations is all about developing and nurturing relationships, but we often link such relationships to external audiences, from media to government. However, companies may emphasize the importance of personal relationships inside the organization to gain influence and get ahead. The most valuable source of influence possessed is relationships with senior executives, peers and subordinates.
The ability to develop and cultivate relationships and networks was critical to success, as well as an important capability for aspiring professionals. To the extent that interpersonal skills are link to relationship building, the value of relationships is even more pronounced.
Passion for the job is put in the context of social responsibility. Public relations have to do with doing the right thing. You cannot just contribute to the Ronald McDonald House and then think that is going to make up for the fact that you are polluting the local water supply. The most successful leaders appear to be passionate about their profession and infuse high energy into all of their communication efforts. Crucial intangibles are rooted in their interpersonal, relationship skills. An individual’s so-called “intangibles” typically refer to such things as chemistry, likeability, fit, personality and presence. Those are all social aspects of social responsibility.
The traits and characteristics of communications management and medial relations largely reflect the organizational function of public relations. Communication is the key any organization and as such goes hand in hand with media relations. Media all about communicating through print, television, radio, etc. Relationship building and social skills appear to have their roots in what are visible interpersonal qualities of the societal function. For example, when we speak favorably of an individual’s chemistry, fit, or likeability, we generally mean that the individual interacts comfortably with others, and has the ability to effectively manage equally well both up and down. We also generally mean the individual is a valuable team member and integrates smoothly into organizational networks and cultures.
Very little difference, if any exists between the functions of public relations. They are rather similar in that to have a strong relationship with the media, there must be a solid communication line between the two. The social skills play heavily into this for if they are not up to par, it will be obvious is your communications efforts. The organizational and societal functions of public relations intertwine as one.