Opinion

Give PR people a break

Cass Shan

Cass Shan started off as a copywriter tasked with understanding buying behaviour. She now immerses herself in understanding buy-in behaviour.

Everybody loves a public relations person.

Sure, you get the stereotype “bitchy” gay PR person on TV, but the reality is PR people love what they do and they do it because they genuinely care about people’s feelings.

The true PR person knows that words play an important role in conveying key messages.

It takes year of experience to do the job right and climb the PR ladder in the industry. 

The truth is PR people are portrayed with two personalities – the fake nice front and the hard “bad” front for a reason.

PR people are just like you and me. They have feelings, too, and have every right to have feelings of frustration, anger, demotivation and any highs and lows that us mere mortals have, too.

That’s the reason they sometimes appear to have dual personalities – the nice front and the so-called bad front.

People need to understand that being a PR person is not easy.

After all, how many of us can keep a cheerful outlook all day, every day?

We need to understand that PR people have an important job of keeping everyone else happy – even when they themselves may be having a bad day.

Which is why PR people give the improper impression of being two-faced.

At this point, I may as well clarify that the previous article I wrote on Brickfields Asia College was not an advertorial.

It happens to be my true feelings of the college based on what I know about them.

Perhaps, because I was trained as a copywriter and wholeheartedly admit to having being one, that people misunderstood and assumed that it was a paid advertorial when, in fact, it was an opinion piece which happened to have been written by an ex-copywriter who decided to share her thoughts in writing.

Back to PR people, that’s the same issue they face. While they may be sharing their true positive feelings through their words, people who misunderstand them and may think they’re being “two-faced” and mistrust occurs.

I must say that people who climb through the corporate ladder to achieve a PR director position do so with much patience, having seen much in their years of experience and dealt with practically every PR issue in town.

I have much respect for people who climb their way up and earn their position.

It’s not easy being on top.

Sometimes, it gets lonely. My heart goes out to the top PR people who must walk into the office every day, shouldering a great responsibility and balancing the need to practise PR at work with their staff while taking work seriously at the same time.

There are PR directors who are so loaded with work that they desperately want people to take their workload off them to help ease their schedule.

I always try to volunteer to take some work off from the boss when I can because I understand the pressure they’re under.

Rule No. 1: Always support your boss.

PR directors need all the support they can get and it’s a tough role to play. That’s why I wish people would stop stereotyping PR people and give them a break when they rightfully deserve a break.

I will never forget the numerous PR people I’ve met who do it so well because I know I still have much to learn every time I watch how well they do it.

Here’s kudos to the PR people I’ve met who never stopped teaching me how they do it. – February 9, 2014.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

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