By Aznan Mat Piah
Is public relations a stressful job? Many of those who have just joined the field as public relations executives have said so as they began to feel the heat of working in the industry. It is true that the more volatile or competitive the environment, the more demanding will the job of public relations be.
And as the public become more aware of their rights or as they become more educated and know about their interests and wants, the more complex will the tasks of public relations be. Hence, a public relations executive is expected to be proactive, a good observer and a problem solver. He or she must be a good listener as well as a good strategist. More often, the job demands the public relations executive to work long hours in trying to meet the expectations of the organization and its public, or in meeting specific deadlines of stakeholders.
In your role as a communication technician you are expected to spend time, among other things, writing press releases and feature articles, writing newsletters, preparing brochures, drafting speeches, dealing with media contacts, meeting clients, attending to public complaints, and helping with event management. These are not easy jobs because you need to pay attention to details and to know your target audiences so that you would be able to send the right messages. In short, you must be able to design your communication plan.
As a communication facilitator, you need to be sensitive to the environment, hence it is your responsibility to monitor issues and developments that would be of concern to your organization. You are in fact dealing with image problem or handling reputation management. This task demands that you maintain a two-way communication and facilitate communication.
Apart from that, a public relations executive is also expected to play the role of a problem-solver and an expert prescriber as you become more experienced and hold a senior position in the organization. Here lies the need for you to use your professionalism, knowledge and skills to deal with issues intelligently and diligently.
Having been in public relations and having spent more than 30 years in the field both at home and abroad, I must say that the job is indeed very demanding, and you are expected to be on your toes all the time. The job demands that you must have the right skills and traits to be able to handle the tasks efficiently. Indeed, I have always felt that public relations is an exciting field.
Apart from writing and communication skills, you must have the passion for the job. You must be able to grasp the substance and contents fast, you ought to have good analytical and thinking skills , and you must be able to use a lot of discretion. Therefore, you must have the energy and the ability to make sense of the environment affecting your organization’s interest and to act accordingly. Keeping yourself informed of the latest knowledge and information affecting your organization is therefore very important to guide you in your actions.
Above all, you must like the job and take the tasks as a challenge rather than a burden. If you are passionate about what you are doing everything would come to you easy, although to the others outside your field might be seen as mundane, difficult or uninteresting.