In order to confirm and find what electronic forms of communication will be needed in the Public Relations field, heavy research was needed. I consulted not only books, but web sites as well. I wanted to make sure that I had a complete assortment of sources that would be the most realistic and comprehensive as possible. After sorting out my research, I came to these following conclusions:
1.Communications are widely used through out today’s Public Relation firms.
2.Accessibility is the key to connecting with people in that field.
3.What is needed to run a successful business?
4.What makes a good Public Relations agent?
What forms of communication are used
Today’s Public Relations field is a lot more demanding today than it was just a few years ago. Money was more of the question than time. Today, money is still an object, but time is the key, with people always on the go, traveling and having to always be on the go, traveling and having fierce competition, staying in touch with new and old clients is key (Heath 34-102). The easier it is to locate someone, the better the lines of communication between customers and agents is. Public Relations firms provide the following “staples” for their representatives; pager, cell phone and palm pilot. In cases, it is Nextel’s and pagers. The ever- growing need to stay in constant communication with clients and the office will not stop growing.
People need constant communication many Public Relations firms, as well as the companies have intranet, extranet, internet, email programs, laptops, pagers, voice mail and electronic planners as part of their staffs everyday exposures. The laptop and everything else aids in making sure minutes and seconds. But this technology must be kept current (Lucenko 1-29).
¨ Companies that grow larger need to keep in constant contact with both their employees as well as their clients.
¨The more technology grows, the greater demand for the company to keep up with it to remain “cutting edge.”
How to access people; in the firm and clients
The main goal of any Public Relations firm is to be able to find someone, more importantly during a crisis. For instance: you just learn that your competitor is trying to steal one of your largest accounts. Are you going to just sit there and let that account go to another company? Or are you going to try to get in touch with that client as soon as possible and try to keep their business? Let’s add a twist to the already hectic situation: You are currently in California, and your client is in Florida. The best thing to do in this situation would be to call your client as soon as possible and then see if you need to catch a flight out to Florida.
These questions are easily answered with this – what will be the most productive way for you to ensure you keep your client’s business. No matter if it is a crisis, or just checking to make sure that they are happy with the services you are providing them with, it is very important to stay in touch. This is crucial in order to keep the business that you have worked so hard to gain. These days, most people have cell phones attached to their bodies, so it is easier than it used to be to catch people when they are on the go. But what do you do when the cell phone and voice mail aren’t doing the job? Email would be the answer to this question. No matter where you go these days, there seems to be more and more accessibility to computers and the Internet (www.hallmark.com). A click, write a few sentences, and pressing the send key is all you need to make sure your words are clear to who ever you are sending them to. Especially if the cell phone is not working, this is the best way to go. The World Wide Web is one of the most technological inventions since the “New Age” of cars. The ease and dependability of it makes life for all a lot easier to keep in touch. Despite a few crashes of the computer or server, it is a lot easier and cheaper way to stay in touch.
Price also plays a part in the idea behind accessing people. Email so far is the cheapest way of communication. Next to that, face to face communication if the employee is within walking distance. The factor of human demise is at stake when there is a major lack of face – to - face contact. The problem with any company, large or small, is budgeting. Making sure that the amount of money they possess will not only cover bills and salaries, but also allow for a travel/entertaining budget. Granted, this is not a large part of communications, but in a way, it ties to the whole picture of what everyone is trying to establish –
trying to make a name for themselves in the industry (Newson 300-335). If there was not a budget, there might not be as many Public Relations firms as there are today.
What is needed to run a successful business
In order to make sure everything within the company is working correctly – most companies have established Intranet within their company. This system allows for accurate information clarification, reduction of people always leaving their disks to deliver messages or memos, and a reduction in the amount of paper that is used. Email systems and message boards allow users within the company to a quick answers without having to use up the phone lines or leaving their workspace – which makes their day much more productive (Holtz 48-72).
For users of the Intranet who aren’t physically in the office, they still can have access to the company’s databases through the extranet. It is password protective and allows users to reach other company members and information while they (the users) are out on the road. The Extranet might also allow some clients of the company to quickly find out information about what the company is doing for their specific account (Dowling 99-147). Even more so, the bid information for certain accounts might also be listed. The east of this accessibility for clients and employees not only saves money for the company, but also a lot of time that is incurred during the process of playing “phone tag.”
The key to any successful business is its people. The more initiative your people, yourself, or who you work with have, the better off your firm will be in the Public Relations field. For instance, if an agent is completely enthusiastic towards a client, that client will not only spread good words about you to their friends and associates, but will also feel that your firm has an upper-hand against the rest of your competition ( Middleburg 289-307). Your firm, to the clients, is one that cares about its jobs, its people, and how they present themselves. A lot of jobs can be created through word of mouth, and sometimes, those are the best jobs to have.
What makes a Public Relations agent?
Many sources have stated that you need to have good listening skills and enjoy working with people as the top qualifications to become a Public Relations agent,
representative, or just to work in the business of people, period. But out of common knowledge, one must also be able to speak clearly, must be willing to travel, and even more so, must be enthusiastic about their jobs. Why would you want to be a client of a firm that has an agent that could care less about your
ideas? You would not want this. You also would not want someone who is launching your book promotion to not know anything about your book, would you? You would want your agent to have knowledge of whatever it is they are
representing for you. The more knowledge an agent has of a product they are promotion, or a company they are representing, the more creative ideas they will be able to come up with to customize your products launch into the market. A non-informed agent can equal disaster around certain people and markets if they are not checked into first. Companies are doing what they can to ensure who is working for you is not only qualified for the position, but also wants to be there, therefore, their teams remain “cutting edge.” Table 1 in the next section will show why someone would want to go into Public Relations, as well as how everyone works together to do so.
Why chose to work in the Public Relations field?
There are many reasons for one to choose the Public Relations field, but the main reason to do so is because you are interested in working with people. If there is no desire to do so, you should start looking at other fields. Public Relations cannot only be rewarding from a lot of hard work and dedication, but also it can be very time consuming, but also very demanding. Not everything will come easy to you or to your client, but it will be worthwhile when a project works out for the best. Look at the chart below to see how everything comes together in the center, but takes a lot of aspects from the outside to create the center (The Conference Board).
Table 1 : How everything comes together
When presenting information to clients, be sure to make them aware why they are there. If there is some reason that you are trying to explain a complicated topic without the proper tools, you might want to have a drawing board and dark markers to draw diagrams. Make sure that your presentation is clear and concise. You want to make sure you draw the audience into your paper and presentation, rather than causing them to want to doodle or make notes while you are speaking. An interested reader is also an active reader – you want to make sure that they understand what you are talking about. If the audience starts looking bored, ask questions, or direct questions to specific people without calling a lot of attention to them (Farrell, Bob).
A problem that can be incurred during the presentation of a new topic is not only may your colleagues be confused, but also your clients. If you are explaining a new idea to someone, make sure you have examples to help them realize what you are talking about. The more through examples you have, the better off your presentation will go. Make sure that you ask your audience questions, if you fail to do this, not only will you look like you are disinterested in your material, but your audience may feel the same way.
Preparing for a meeting with a client
Be sure that when you are going to meet with your clients, that you are fully aware when you are there. Make checklists as to what you need to bring (copy of newest memo to clients), as well as what your most current status of their job. The more information you have with you, the better off you will be when it comes time to actually present your findings to your clients. Bob Farrell, a Corporate Engineering Manager with Penn Compression Moulding, Inc. stated that the most important thing to do with your clients is to be calm. If there is a hectic situation going on, the worse thing that you could do is show them that you are nervous. Showing concern about the situation is a completely different idea, and to make sure you do it with tact. Showing that you are interested in what you are presenting is also a very important skill – letting your client see what you are tired from your trip or you are having some personal problem does not show professionalism (Farrell, Bob).
It is also important to make sure that when you are starting accounts that you sell your clients on your ideas, and mention what your company stands for. It is very important to make sure you let your clients know what you are there and
what you are trying to do for them. Making concise and logical statements about what your goals are is very important. You do not want their attention to stray away from what you are trying to “sell” them, rather, you would want them to be an interactive part in your ideas, and constantly ask for feedback. A few examples of “selling” an idea rather than pushing and idea would be are easy to master. Make sure you leave the questions open-ended, rather than allowing for a yes or no answer. Table 2, below, helps to clarify what should and should not be used when asking your client questions (Farrell, Bob).
Would you be willing to try this ……? Is this okay?
How about we change this format….? I’m going to move this type to a different side.
Is there anything else you want to add? This should come out fine. (In actuality, you are not happy with the end result.)
I want to know if you think there should be some changes made? Are you happy with this?
Many markets these days are very lucrative, but Public Relations is just as lucrative. With the effort comes the money, and if you are investing yourself into a rather large firm, the more likely you are to make a large sum of money due to your efforts. Most firms work off of commission, but for those that do not, there are some figures for that category. In Table 3, you will see what the sales were in 1991-2000, the current figures today have tripled at least three times this amount (EBSCOhost: Edelman Public Relations).
Millions 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Sales -- -- 55.5 63.2 67.0 81.7 99.8 121.6 193.1 248.1
Net Income -- -- -- -- -- -- 57 68 82 82
Employees (not mil.) -- -- 594 684 745 819 987 1,151 -- 2,471
Table 3 : Financial Results of Survey
There are many ways to not only approach your clients, but also how to see yourself, your company, and your clients product. Making sure that you choose
the path that is the best for you is the most important thing you can do. The more effort you put into your projects, the better results you are going to get, as well as the larger amount of clients you will hold. If you put for the iniative to present yourself in a manner to conduct conclusive business, you are going to be ahead of the game.
The most important thing that was learned through out this entire research was that no matter what you chose as your career, you have to pick something that is going to make you happy. As the research is concluded, the concept of being a Public Relations agent is not only enticing, but also something that I know I can do. With hard work and a lot of smiles, I can make a name for myself in the big bad world of business and life.