December 21, 2011

Semester one lessons learned

I am officially one eighth of the way through my public relations degree and I already feel like I have so much more knowledge than I did going into the program. Here are a few reflections from my first semester:

Grunig’s two-way symmetrical communication model is key. If there was one thing that was drilled into my head this semester, it was that this model, stemming from Grunig’s excellence study, is what public relations strives for time after time. It may not be the easiest or most realistic model to practice in real life, but it is the essence of public relations.

Social media is an intrinsic tool for public relations practitioners. We studied social media very intensely this semester and I started to see that to practice public relations with the two-way symmetrical model in mind, social media has to be used; it is not an option. It is one of the only ways to ensure one is listening to feedback from stakeholders and having a real conversation with them.

Being a great writer is a must. I don’t know how to thank my parents enough for ensuring that I started learning my ABCs and reading at a younger age than a lot of people. I’ve always loved to read and write and it made my writing lab this semester a lot easier than I had anticipated. Writing is such a large part of public relations that knowing how to do it well and actually enjoying it as much as I do makes all the difference.

Group work is a difficult thing to manage, but you have no choice. This is one thing I have trouble with. Some group members (more often than not) are unreliable and are more than willing to piggyback on your work. It is hard to decide on meeting times that suit everyone in the group. Personalities clash. I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you. Group work is involved in real public relations practice too, not just in class work. Better get used to it.

Tara Hunt is a genius. Anyone wishing to get into public relations should read her book, The Power of Social Networking. Everything she says makes sense in our modern, technological world.

I am extremely happy that all of my courses have been so relevant and already make sense in real life. What have you learned this semester?

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