Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Public Relations: Truth and Beyond

Dichotomy of public relations profession is that it is still dogged by over 500 definitions. The communicators have still not been able to find one single definition for a profession which works for the organisations and seeks, at the very outset, their value proposition.
What is the value proposition for public relations? And who actually are the public relations practitioners? Spin doctors? Manipulators?
In the current information age where transparency, social responsibility, and integrity are again being looked into with seriousness, public relations practice is one such profession that can help organisations remain socially responsible, and responsive to its stakeholders.
When I informally discussed the topic of ethics and spirituality in public relations that Global Forum for Public Relations invited me to speak on at Mt Abu on 13th September, during the national roundtable on the Golden Triangle model evolved by Dr. C.V. Narasimha Reddi, the response was skeptical and lukewarm. Ethics and PR do not go together if you have to survive and keep your job intact, was one strong opinion.
Last year, at an international public relations forum, one of the practitioner openly admitted "we lie for our clients".
Yet, I have always differed on this issue having been a firm believer in the ethical practice of public relations.
"Public be damned" was the credo in late 19th century when propaganda, press agentry thrived and resorted to hyperbole. Early 20th century saw the emphasis on responsible Public Relations with recognition of the fact that every stakeholder (or 'public') is important, initiating "public be informed" period in the evolution of this profession.
All along, whatever name that may have been attributed to the practice of public relations, it remains for me "the art and science of managing communication"
If we trace the etymology of the term "communication" to its Latin origin, "communis", it meant establishing oneness.
Public Relations builds, and strengthens "relations" with various "publics" through effective communication.
If that be so, can anyone think of build a strong, meaningful, positive relationship based on untruth or dishonesty? Can you think of a relationship with your customers or vendors which is founded on dishonest or false communication? The entire practice of public relations, therefore, revolves around truth. Truth is not, and has never been, a substitute for public relations.
And as a strategic management function, public relations helps organisations, in turn, adopt ethical means of doing business and truthfully manage its operations. Truth, honesty, integrity, credibility are some of the key attributes of successful public relations practice...and these are the key elements of spirituality or ethical human behaviour.
Considering public relations anything but ethical is a misnomer. However, the key question comes here, that whether we are able to incorporate the ethical values into PR practice today? Largely no. Yet to truly professionalise the practise of public relations it is necessary that we integrate ethical and spiritual values in our conduct.
For any profession to be credible it requires two major core strengths, i.e. competence and character. Competence comes from professional knowledge and experience, and its constant upgradation and skill enhancements. Character is what our own personal values are. Is our character impeccable? Are we honest in our dealing with our clients? or with our organisation's stakeholders? Are we truly the conscience keepers for the organisations that we represent?
The Golden Triangle concept comes at the most appropriate time. And with the support of Global Forum for Public Relations, we do hope that PR fraternity shall rediscover the most significant spiritual aspect of their lives. Yes, we are talking about fortifying the ethical behaviour that comes through spiritual practice, of understanding one's purpose in life, and also the direct impact that our life's work and decision has on the lives of the people around us.

Copyright September 2009 C J Singh . CorePR . Chandigarh . India

The Golden Triangle: A New PR Model

With rising scams, white collar crimes, and the PR practice coming under cloud for its role in disseminating false or inaccurate information amongst the stakeholders, the question of ethics, though discussed extensively at various fora, somehow has remained at the backburner amongst PR practitioners (though not all).
The Global Forum for Public Relations organised the National Roundtable at Mt Abu on 13th September and various speakers analysed the situation and Editor of PR Voice, Dr. C.V. Narasimha Reddi, who evolved the PR model for excellence in its practice, the Golden Triangle, was unveiled.
Rajyogi BK Karuna ji opened the discussions with the need to create a great India which can be achieved only through infusing spiritualism into PR practice.
Dr. Reddi lamented the fact that in our country PR practice has yet to acquire a status of a profession because of the absence of proper syllabus, text books, accreditation, and regulating unethical practices.
Following ethics and spiritualism by PR practitioner alone can bring about the desired change, he said.
The new model, Golden Triangle, promotes integration of Professionalism, Ethics and Spiritualism into the PR practice,in order to take it to the next level of excellence.
This is definitely a big challenge for each one of us to meet, yet imbibing spiritualism in PR practice is not a difficult task since it requires a PR person to be considerate, affectionate, and genuinely concerned about the welfare of other beings, said BK Sarala Anand, Manager HRD and PR from BHEL, Hyderabad.
Prof. K.C.Mouli, faculty at MLCN University of Journalism, Bhopal highlighted the instances in the government where PR practitioners have to succumb to the pressure from their superiors, but only a professional can put the things in right perspective in case he is courageous enough and understands his ethics.
BK Binny gave new perspective to the discussions saying that PR has a synonym in 'pyar', the spiritual factor that makes the difference.
Prof Ananya Mehta from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune, commented that though ethical practice in reality may be at stake, the values are being reinforced amongst the students right in the classrooms at Symbiosis.
Rajyogi BK Sheilu said that spirituality gives strength to face ethical dilemmas but one can resolve them by having a more holistic and long-term view of the outcome than the short-term.
I too had the opportunity to share my views on this subject which is very dear to my heart, which I shall be sharing with you later in a separate post. Overall, the interaction did brought an entirely different perspective and was an eye-opener, said one of the participant from Pune.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

National Round Table on Public Relations

Global Forum for Public Relations is conducting a National Round Table on Public Relations at Mt Abu today at 3pm, to discuss the new PR Model - The Golden Triangle -evolved by Dr. C.V. Narasimha Rao, Editor, PR Voice, Hyderabad.
The panel to be chaired by Dr Reddi, includes Yogesh Joshi from Mumbai, Zubair, a PR consultant from Pune, Prof Ananya Mehta of Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication;Debabvani Mukherjee, Deputy Director,DNPI, Kolkata; and yours truly from Chandigarh.
BK Sarala, Zonal Coordinator, Media Wing Andhra Pradesh and Manager HRD/PR, BHEL, Hyderabad would be doing the summing up while Ms Mumtaz Fatima, Joint Director, Youth Services, Govt of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad would be proposing the vote of thanks.
Check out future details on live blogcast from Mr Srinivasan.
from Mt Abu

Media Conference at Mt Abu

The National Media Conference organised by Global PR Forum and Media Wing of Rajyoga Education and Research Foundation and Prajapaita Brahma Kumari Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya at the International Headquarters at Mt Abu has seen numerous national and international speakers, professionals, academicians, and media personalities bringing to the fore the need for spirituality for achieving peace and development in the world.
The highlight of the conference has been the live webcasting on the prime point blog which has been well received by the internet community worldwide. The credit goes to Mr Srinivasan of Prime Point Foundation, who reached Mt Abu from Chennai to personally handle the blogcasts with the help of students of Symbiosis Institute.
On Sunday, the 13th, the Global Forum for Public Relations is conducting a roundtable to unveil the Golden Triangle model evolved by past president of PRSI and Editor of PR Voice, Dr. C.V. Narasimha Reddi.
Log on the the blog posts for regular updates, straight from Mt Abu.