Ever since I graduated from college, I’ve learned that apparently there are thousands of myths about a person working as PR. For the first part, I will only go through the over-the-surface myths, or the myths about first impression of a PR person.
We have to be good-looking and well dressed
Not wrong, at all. However, looking good isn’t what PR is all about. The most basic understanding about working as PR is that we represent a company or a brand. Do you really want people to think bad about your company just because you don’t know how to dress? Or for those who work in an agency, you need to be able to represent your client and being well-dressed is one of the way.
During college, I had one class called ‘Professional Image’. Obviously, we all think that this is going to be that class that’s going to teach us about how to dress — choosing the right outfit for the right occasion, dress according to your body type and all that. But then, the first thing the lecturer asked us on the first class was, ‘What do you want people to think by wearing that outfit to class today?’ I was left speechless. I never think of that every morning when I stand in front of my closet choosing my outfit for the day.
I will get into more detail about PR wardrobe on another post, but what I’m trying to say is, your outfit is one of your communication channels to the public. You don’t want to get the wrong message out there by dressing inappropriately. And I’m not saying that you need to look fancy with branded items or trendy wardrobe that came straight out of a runway, but it’s a matter of how you present yourself.
We have to have a great public speaking skill
Again, not wrong, at all. But it doesn’t mean that people who have less public speaking skill can’t be a good PR person. As much as I enjoy endless discussion with friends, public speaking is a whole different game. And while I’m not saying that I’m good at it, this is the kind of skill that can only be taught by direct experience, and I have come a long way since my first public speaking event during 6th grade.
Another basic point about working as PR person is that you need to be able to communicate with the mass. That being said, you need to understand the general behaviour of people who listens to what you’re saying, being able to translate their interests into sentences that are combined with many different aspect of speaking, whether it’s intonation, expression, diction or body language.
It’s true that from time to time, a PR person might need to step up and act as an MC, moderator of a talk show or do a keynote presentation for your company. But again, you should consider it as telling a story and not just public speaking.
We are an extrovert type of person
Nope, this one is incorrect. I posted this topic a while ago about Introvert vs. Extrovert in PR. While most people think that a PR person must be an extrovert type of person because they seem to be very outgoing, have friends all over the place, I must disagree with this myth.
The fact is, whether you are an introvert or extrovert type of person, it’s a matter of finding your most comfortable way of speaking to someone else. Then again, being able to have a conversation with someone else doesn’t mean that you need to tell them your stories, sometimes it’s better to listen rather than just speak all the time. That’s why you have a pair of ears and one mouth 🙂
We graduated college easily
Every major in college has its own challenges. Although I do know people who chose Communication/PR major just so they can graduate with a title and doesn’t really care about what kind of job they get after graduation, apparently they still find it challenging to graduate. People think that why do you need to study communication anyway? Aren’t you communicating every second of your life?
If there is no communication major, there would be no marketing breakthrough in this world. We learn about what you like and we give you something even better.
For example, the courses being taught in Communication major are not the one that you’ve learned in high school already. Math, biology, chemistry, geography, none of that has any co-relation with what communication major students learn during college. So yes, it’s a whole new world for us.
There are still ~999 other myths about PR, let me know on the comment box on which PR myths you want me to explore for the next post.
Categories: Twisting the Public Relations Mind