Have you ever noticed how everything has rules? Yes, everything from the United States Constitution to your mom’s household has a defined set of guidelines, principles and procedures that must be met in order to avoid facing consequences. However, the rules of public relations aren’t exactly set in stone, as I learned in professor Bill Jasso’s class last night. Sure, the Public Relations Society of America has its own “credo” for members to follow; but so does the International Association for Business Communicators and the dozens of other PR-related professional associations around the world. With each of these conflicting views, it’s no wonder why PR isn’t taken as seriously as a profession worthy of respect. After all, the scope of PR work is so broadly defined, how could any one be allowed to determine who is and who isn’t a PR professional?
One thing that’s for certain though is that PR professionals are not only defined by the skills that they have, but also by the way they carry themselves within their profession. Here are three important traits (or “rules”) I think are important for PR professionals to have:
- Accountability – PR professionals must own the work that they do for their clients and be held responsible if or when their plan doesn’t go exactly according to plan
- Honesty – As much as possible, PR professionals need to be forthcoming when they’re communicating on behalf of their clients in order to earn their publics’ trust
- Impartiality – While PR professionals exist to serve as advocates, they must remain fair when dealing with their audience to ensure a two-way communication
When it’s all said and done, PR professionals should keep this quote from John Kultgen in mind throughout their careers:
“If I have done my job well for the right purpose, my life has substance and meaning. If I have done my job poorly or for the wrong purpose, I have squandered my life, however much I have prospered.”
I believe if we all can do this, PR will gain acceptance as a profession worthy of true respect.