26th September, 2019 |
Public relations practitioners have called on students of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) to disabuse their minds on the faux pas perceptions often associated with the profession.
According to them, pejorative comments such as ‘truth twisters’ and other uncomplimentary remarks which sought to denigrate the PR profession were ill-informed, uncalled for and ought to be discouraged.
They, therefore, admonished students to eschew all unprofessional conducts that seem to drag the noble profession into disrepute.
The practitioners made this call at a one-day seminar, christened ‘Why PR?’ and themed ‘Why Study Public Relations- The Opportunities and Challenges,” sought to orient Public Relations (PR) students toward career opportunities in the field.
The event, which was organized by the Communication Studies Students Association (ComSSA) of UPSA, also delved into ways of equipping students with practical and contemporary problem-solving skills in the multifaceted profession.
Addressing participants, PR Consultant and former Director of Public Affairs at the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), Nana Yaa Jantuah, said contrary to the above misconceptions, public relations managers help to clarify their organization’s point of view to its audience through a chary observation of social, economic, and political trends that might ultimately affect the organization, and recommend strategies to enhance the firm’s image based on those trends.
Ms Jantuah, however, said this involves constant learning on the job and being able to work well with many types of specialists in order to report the facts accurately and clearly to the public.
“Constant learning is crucial especially if you find yourself [as public relations officer] in a technically oriented firm. It is incumbent on you to quickly adjust and familiarize yourself with all the technical jargons of the organization while at the same you adopt a clear and succinct communication skill toward the public.
The Head of Corporate Affairs, Ghana Export-Import Bank, Mr Richard Osei Anane, in his presentation, underscored the importance of a public relations unit in the setup of any organization. He mentioned that although most people perceive practitioners as “sheer” spokespersons of organizations, there were more to the profession beyond the oratorical functions.
He noted that as an effective PR executive, you need to cultivate a good rapport with the media, develop a strategic plan and build network with all internal and external stakeholders of your institution.
Mr Osei Anane also explained the need for one to brand his or herself as a practitioner.
“As someone charged with the responsibility of enhancing and maintaining a brand, it is imperative for you to brand yourself first. This means dressing appropriately to suit every occasion and carrying yourself in a professional manner because you are the face of the organization,” he stressed.
He urged the students to uphold the ethics of the profession at all times and eschew any conduct(s) that might undermine their quest to be successful practitioners in the future.
The one-day seminar was also attended by other communication specialists, the Head of Department of Communication Studies, Dr Theodora Dame Adjin-Tettey, departmental officers and lecturers as well as other faculty members.