Lecture talk exposes students to challenges of PR profession

By Liana Zulkifli

GOMBAK, 8 December 2018: A Public Relations Lecture Series by the Institute of Public Relations Malaysia Student Association (IPRMSA) – IIUM Chapter held on Friday at the library’s Main Auditorium marked its last event for this semester as their members and the campus community had the opportunity to gain greater exposure, knowledge and insights into public relations as a profession.

The speakers at the lecture series were Prof. Dato’ Sri Dr. Syed Arabi Idid, a senior professor at the Department of Communication and former rector of IIUM, Miss Doris Lim, who is the managing director of Matrix Communication, and Mr. Danial Idris, the executive director of Smokey Asia.

In her talk titled “Grooming for Success”, Doris Lim spoke on the public relations identity crisis and the complexity of the operating landscape, both uncontrollable and disruptive, when she highlighted key areas like reputation and credibility of the PR industry; impact of new media; corporate governance, social responsibility and transparency; activism involving NGOs, net citizens, shareholders and civil society groups; and information overload and media fatigue.

“Start finding yourself where you belong,” said Doris Lim telling the audience to be clear on the roles they will play.

Touching on contemporary public relations (PR) practice, she highlighted the key drivers of change such as technology (Industrial Revolution 4.0), body of knowledge, role of PR (generalist vs specialist) globalisation and glocalisation, managing consumers’ expectations and participative culture. She summed up PR as corporate reputation, relationship building and earning trust and credibility.

Meanwhile, Professor Dato’ Sri Dr. Syed Arabi Idid, in his talk titled “PR from the perspective of academics”, highlighted the characteristics of professionalism in relations to the significance of the corpus of knowledge and support from the society and institutions, and the importance of professional ethics and research, as well as for the academics to have a closer link with the professionals in their research on specific issues concerning the profession that would contribute to the development of knowledge and to boost the profession further.

The talk not only focused on the academic and professionalism aspects but also exposed students to the real public relations world in terms of planning, teamwork and in managing issues in organising major events in a segment on “Event Management” by Danial Idris from Smokey Asia.

In his presentation, Danial interestingly highlighted the need for event organisers to constantly be aware of their role in ensuring success of the event by paying attention to minute details and to be able to read and predict subsequent response and to come up with remedial actions to address unexpected issues in meeting clients’ expectations. From his experience, he emphasised “never take things for granted in managing an event”.

Danial shared his long years of experience and challenges in managing events that involved dealing with VIPs, senior officials, corporate figures and engaging the media which required him to give significant attention to details.

“Break out from your comfort zone, start landing yourself with a part-time job and keep doing it for the experience if you want to succeed,” Danial advised the students to start learning from now.

On the overall objective of the lecture series, the programme manager, Fatin Nabila explained: “We want to educate all members about public relations and to make them aware of the profession and career opportunities.” ***


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