PR Practitioners: Professional Perceivers

In an effort to combine this blog assignment with studying for my Interpersonal Communication exam tomorrow, I’ve decided to blog about perception; more specifically, perception related to PR.

Essentially, each person’s perception is his or her ‘window to reality;’ the way he or she accesses, digests and makes sense of the environment, its participants and all according interactions. The problem with perception is the affect of biases (both controllable and uncontrollable); each of us is looking through a different window (or, in reference to Communication Theory, a different set of lenses, or casting a different net).

Thinking about how this ‘window’ view of perception plays into my personal life is rather simple. I can be honest and recognize my stereotype tendencies, religious biases, political conflicts with others, etc. But what about on a professional level? How does being a PR practitioner affect our view of perception? Or does it?

The answer, I think, has to be yes. When you think about it, public relations IS perception. It’s a beautiful combination of a client’s perceptions, its audiences’ perceptions and the perception of a professional perceiver–a PR professional.

While PR people (I’m getting sick of juggling around ‘practioners’ and ‘professionals’) will, in many ways, be somewhat subjective in how they create messages, shape campaigns, etc., overall their jobs require their perceptions to be purely objective–factual.

What good is a PR professional to a client if he or she presents an inaccurate account of its audiences’ perceptions? The job of a PR professional is to understand the organizational perceptions and correlating goals for perception (CEOs, executives, managers, etc.), decipher current perceptions from said organization’s related audiences (clients, customers, employees, etc.) and then use our perception of these perceptions to shape both of these perceptions into one state of being–one that is mutually beneficial.

I’m not sure if this makes sense to anyone else, but I feel like I had an epiphany today while thinking about perception, and what a huge role perception plays in PR.

I found a website for a company, Perception Public Relations, out in California. I think they’re pretty on track with understanding perception’s relevance/place in the structure of PR. Here’s the link if anyone is interested!

PERCEPTION Public Relations

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