May President’s Message: Forming, Building and Maintaining Relationships

23650057601_7d4fbc9059_bAs PRSA Richmond celebrated the eight new APRs among our chapter membership at the April luncheon, it got me thinking about the enhanced knowledge and honed skills those professionals garnered from that rigorous experience. They spent an enormous amount of time scrutinizing objectives, discussing best practices for crisis management, determining ways to engage employees, defining stakeholders, reviewing research methods, studying communications theories and models, memorizing copyright law and much more.

But, before all of that is ever discussed, at the very beginning of every text book, study guide or other resource material, it defines public relations.

If someone asked you to define public relations, would you talk about social media posts, press releases and talking points, or would you share something much broader about PR’s role? Like this from the Universal Accreditation Board:

Public relations is the management function that establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the publics on whom its success or failure depends. Public relations forms, builds and maintains relationships between your organization and publics by finding common interests. Failures usually stem from communication breakdowns.

It’s easy to get caught up in what tasks we need to get done each day, to want to check something off of the ever-growing to-do list. When was the last time you prioritized forming a new relationship, or did something to actually promote growth in a relationship that could–or should—be taken to the next level?

How have you worked to find common interests? What have you done to ensure a solid foundation has been established in a relationship? What have you done to confirm you are effectively managing? Have you let the lack of essential communication lead to breakdowns or failures?

These questions might not have simple or easy answers. But, give them some thought. Contemplate the most fundamental role of a PR professional and ask yourself if you are living up to that each and every day.

Are you someone who can successfully maintain beneficial relationships? Prove it. Spend this month working on forming, building and sustaining relationships. See what improvements you can make, and what achievements come from focusing on the universal purpose of PR. I plan to do the same thing.

Thank you, and I hope to see you May 10 at the Virginia Public Relations Awards.


Jennifer Guild, APR
PRSA Richmond President