Last weekend, I had the opportunity to be a part of a roundtable event that my graduate class, with Platform Magazine, planned. We worked with board members from the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations. Our class, collaborating with other student groups, came up with topics that we wanted to explore from the perspective of student and professional.
The topics for the sessions I attended were "Communication in a Polarized Society" and "Traditional vs. Digital PR." I moderated the "Communication in a Polarized Society" and the conversation was so insightful. Professionals gave perspectives from years of company or industry experience, often citing a blog or book that I had not read. I enjoyed the feeling of being "on my toes" during the conversation, having to think on the spot about my response to a current social issue.
As several of the professionals kept stressing, the conversation leaned toward doing the "right thing" with our various positions and keeping organizations ethical and thinking of the impact of decisions in the broader sense.
The overarching question of the morning was "How do we, as public relations professionals, navigate the world today with effective communication techniques?" Ever since I had my first public relations class, I have been asking this question. Public relations is constantly changing and adapting to fit today's dialogue and interest, but some things remain true.
Integrity and people-first language will always be useful and necessary in public relations. The building of "mutually beneficial relationships" is not just for a plaque outside of an office or the end note of a public address. People are valuable and it is important to continually try to communicate honestly and openly with them.
I am grateful for my graduate experience and the opportunities it has given me to explore topics in a safe environment based on learning and respect for others.