Public Relations and Life-Long Learning
Many of us went to school for our profession, and when we graduated were happy to take a break from classes and assignments. As we jumped into the working world, life got a little bit busier. The demands of a new job, relationships and family began to eat up our days, leaving little time for taking new courses. For those of you asked to do public relations or communications work with no formal training, it can be overwhelming (and frustrating).
While it is fine to take some time to adjust to a new career or job, part of being a professional is embracing the reality and importance of life-long learning. This doesn’t always mean signing up for continuing education classes at your local university or college (especially if you don’t have the time or money), although that can be a great way of learning a new skill set. Life-long learning is about being open to improving your skill set or learning more about your chosen profession.
Online learning opportunities
Thanks to YouTube, digital product training, and Amazon, there are no shortage of ways to learn from the comfort of your own home. Regardless of whether you take part in a webinar, read a business book or download one of our How To bundles, like how to write a press release or how to conduct a media interview, what’s important is you continue to expand your professional skill set – which you can add to your resume and also use to impress your boss.
I’ve been working in public relations and corporate communications for over 20 years. A lot has changed during that time. I’ve managed to continue to learn new skills and stay on top of emerging trends by taking courses, attending conferences and teaching at universities and colleges. While there are times when I’ve had to focus on my job and haven’t been able to focus on additional learning, the greatest growth periods in my career have come after I’ve invested in myself.
Public relations and media relations are creeping into the workload of many professionals. Planners and engineers are often required to write press releases, attend (or yikes, organize) press conferences, conduct media interviews or participate in issues management activities, despite having no formal education in public relations.
While it can be scary, learning public relations skills will help you in many other areas of your life – both at work and in your personal life. Key messaging will help you focus your argument to get your point across while developing presentation skills will allow you to better interact with your audience.
So now is the time to invest in yourself and take the steps to gain public relations skills so you can share your stories and be better prepared for crisis communications.
Ask yourself, what areas of public relations do you need to learn? What has the most relevance to your career or business (now or future ambitions)? What new skills can help you jump to the next level and be heard? What is stopping you from learning these new skills?
If I can figure out how to create an Excel spreadsheet, you can become a communicator.