Sunday, September 16, 2007

A fresh start...

I am with AdfactorsPR , Mumbai, since about a month and a half now. I began my journey with Adfactors and Public Relations field exactly on the August 1, 2007.

I am a very unlikely candidate to take on the challenges in Public Relations. I say this because my interests and world-view is contrary to what is considered “ideal” for PR. I am a self confessed introvert, a voracious reader and very laid-back as an individual. I have read a bulk of Noam Chomsky’s work and feel ‘participatory economics’ can be a credible alternative to the prevalent socio-economic structures.

These tendencies can be considered as counter-productive in PR environs, as most of the crisis in Indian social scenarios emanate from individuals with liberal leanings. But, these ‘rabble-rousers’ have a relevant point, a perspective which benefits the larger interests of a society.

There are many schools of thought as to what constitutes the core of Public Relations. The perspective I can relate being in this profession to was put forth by Madan Bahal, MD, Adfactors, in a conversation with the new inductees in an orientation programme. The following is my understanding of it and one of the reasons why I am in PR.

In an emerging economy like
India, post-liberalization, disparities amongst the constituents of society is increasing by the day. These essentially increase due to gaps in communication from top to bottom or vice versa. In this situation, where conflicts are on the rise, a PR professional acts as an ‘arbitrator’.

A PR professional in
India, is an ombudsman, who assess the situation and facilitates a dialogue between the parties at discord. He brings the clashing interests to the talking table and ensures a holistic solution is thought of which is in the larger interest of the environment within which they exist.

The number of skill sets one is supposed to possess is mind-boggling. One is required to be a good conversationalist, a decent writer, a structured thinker, an impeccable researcher, an amateur sociologist, an all-round communicator with an overall understanding of emerging media trends and a lot more.

It is a demanding career option and it can be overwhelming at times. But, there are two very important qualities that are essential for a PR professional.

Firstly he or she must have immense amount of patience. PR functions in chronic chaos. Almost everyday you will find innumerable instances which are candidates for case studies to validate Murphy’s Laws! So one must have the patience to tread through the gallows and conquer the maelstrom. At the very least, it is a necessity to survive at work till the end of the day.

And secondly, a person must have a child like curiosity to delve into and understand the core areas of functioning within his professional universe and outside. Without knowledge the rest of the plan is redundant. In fact, to plan one requires relevant, precise and in-depth information. This is possible only if a person has unrelenting hunger for information and an open mind to understand it.

PR is a fertile breeding ground of stories, emanating from the basic core of human existence which I find intriguing and also disturbing at times. Like everything else in life, it is a very potent learning experience

Relevant links:

Participatory economics
Noam Chomsky
My Blog

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