Public Relation is a management function that involves monitoring and evaluating public attitudes and maintaining mutual relations and understanding between an organisation and its public. Public could include shareholders, government, consumers, employees and the media. It is the act of getting along with people we constantly come in touch with. PROs ensures internal cohesion in the company by maintaining a clear communications network between the management and employees. Its first objective is to improve channels of communication and to establish new ways of setting up a two-way flow of information and understanding.
Public relations as a separate career option has came into existence when lots of private or government companies and institution felt the need to market their product, service and facilities. Public image is important to all organisations and prominent personalities. The role of public relation specialist becomes pertinent in crisis situations when the correct and timely transmission of information can help save the face of the organisation.
In terms of career opportunities, Public relations is broadly practiced for product publicity, corporate publicity, to have better relations with the government, to publish corporate publications like newsletter, bulletins, magazines for employees etc.
Educational: Bachelors degree in any discipline preferably with social sciences, liberal arts and humanities is required to take up a course in this field. There are diploma as well as post graduate diploma courses in Public relations. Duration of most the courses is of one year. Apart from this there are also short term certificate courses. Most training programmes in Advertising also includes public relations. Some institutes have entrance exams while others prefer admission on merit basis.
These courses mainly cover areas like public relations principles and techniques, public relations management and administration, including organizational development, writing, emphasizing news releases, proposals, annual reports, scripts, speeches, and related items, visual communications, including desktop publishing and computer graphics, and research, emphasizing social science research and survey design and implementation.
Personal Attributes: One must have excellent communication skills, both spoken and written so has to express thoughts clearly and simply. An effective personality and the ability to get along with a wide range of people both inside and outside an organisation is necessary. Must be polite always as he has to work under pressure or provocation. An organising ability is required too, as one may have to organise press conferences, lectures, exhibitions and events. Must have self-confidence and farsightedness. He must be able to understand human psychology and take decisions apt to the situation. Analytical skills are required to interpret research information and plan activity.
Some of the prominent institutions are listed below:
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (Mumbai, Calcutta, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore).
Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), JNU campus, New Delhi.
St. Xaviers College of Communications, Mumbai.
Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai.
KC college of Management, Mumbai.
Public relations officers can work in the following areas-
* The corporate sector, Public sector,
* Government agencies,
* Tourist agencies,
* Banks and financial institutions,
* Private consultancy firms,
* Part time work for non-commercial organisations.