ALL ABOUT PR by Roger Haywood
I have taken the advantage of the my family being away to catch up on some reading.
If you are in the business of influencing people you need to get this book. It was recommend to be a politician who is an excellent campaigner. Even though it was published in 1984, the advice is as relevant as ever.
Over 252 pages Roger Haywood hands out wisdom and practical advice on PR.
Over 32 chapters he deals with:
- Opinion leaders
- PR for non-commercial organisations
- Contigency planning
- Measuring results
… And lots more.
His style is clear and direct. He provides a helpful checklist checklist at the end of each chapter.
It is very practical and chunks down each step of the process.
Reading this as a lobbyist I empathised with the opening:
“an organisation that succeeds with public relations is as likely as, say a salesman, a politician, a lawyer (or any other professional persuader) succeeding without a personality. …. The personality of an organisation, demonstrated through the attitudes it adopts, is a critical factor in its success – or failure – it can be more important than, for example, the price of the products it offers or, in the case of a charity, the worthiness of its case”.(p4).
It is full of useful summaries. I found points 2, 13, 17, and 24 spot on.
- No organisation can decide whether to have PR or not.
- Unless proven otherwise, the organisation creates its own credibility
- Every aspect of the organisation reflects its personality.
- Information creates knowledge
- Knowledge helps shape opinion
- Opinions may only be loosely relation with truth
- Attitudes are the single most important factor in most decisions
- Information alone is not effective in changing attitude
- Coomunications at times of pressures are less credible
- Be wary of creating an unnecessary news challenge
- The message is what the receiver receives
- Effective communication is based on listening before speaking
- Logic s not always effective in influencing opinion
- Good communications needs emotion
- Audiences are collections of individuals
- Every individual is a specialist in some field
- There are few instinctively good communicators
- Conflict can create communications opportunities
- Be sensitive to cultural and social ethos
- Be prepared to change as the environment changes
- People need to know – even the bad news
- There is now such things as an information vacuum
- Rumour, gossip and speculation will fill any communication void
- Be consistent in all communications
- Select the optimum mix of techniques to suit the messages
CHECKLISTS THAT LOBBYISTS SHOULD USE
PLANNING COMMUNICATIONS ON A SOUND BASE
This set of 40 questions (pp 46-27) provides a good checklist that every lobbyist could adopt:.
- Does everyone from the chief executive down understand there is no choice over work that the organisation has PR or not?
- Are they all committed to organised, disciplined, sustained and controlled public relations?
- Will they support the PR adviser to achieve this aim and ensure their own communications are consistent?
- Is there a distinct difference between what the organisation says and what it does?
- Are there gaps between how the audiences see the organisation and the way you would like to be seen?
- Do we have a clear and defined corporate personality that everyone (including the PR) is responsible for projecting?
- Can this personality be reviewed and developed as the organisation progresses?
- Is our stance properly reflected in everything the organisation says and does, from phone calls to advertising?
- Do they understand that attitudes are the single most important factor in most decisions?
- Do we always act to avoid any information vacuum which might allow rumour, gossip and speculation to grow?
- Is all our professional effort concentrated on stressing the positive and eliminating the negative?
- Do we always carefully judged the consequences of fighting a communications battle whether, for example, with competitors or the unions?
- Are we effectively evaluating the PR alternatives to confrontation?
- Do we never undertake such a challenge unless we are certain we can win?
- Is it our policy to communicate regularly and consistently and not just when the circumstances demand?
- Does every PR activity we undertake have a feedback channel so we can monitor attitudes and communications effectiveness?
- Do our messages bear any relation to what people want to know?
- Have we always behaved in such a way as to build a reputation so we can be trusted?
- Are we sure, therefore, that the receiver is tuned into the message is we are transmitting?
- Does our communication have emotion because we care deeply about our organisation?
- Do we always remember that audiences are people and not numbers?
- Is every company message check for accuracy, truth and relevance to our corporate objectives?
- Are we setting the highest possible standards and communicating as we would be communicated unto …. In orders, now patronising, stalling or waffle?
- We we, therefore, respect the people with whom we are trying to establish two-way communications?
- Is every manager conscious of his communications responsibilities and does he take those seriously?
- Do I (the PR adviser ) always follow my own rules and earned the respect of my management colleagues?
- Does the organisation use the positive aspects of conflict to help build bridges and resolve disputes?
- Are we sensitive to the current state and trends within the communications environment?
- When we are communicating with people who do not have the same social cultural environment, is there a procedure for getting advice and guidance from someone who knows?
- Can we adapt our style, our services or products to suit the requirements of such people ?
- Are we ready to handle the bad news as positively as we do the good news?
- Do we always try to communicate sooner rather than later, particularly when we are in trouble?
- Do asked senior managers understand that one function of PR is to initiate changes in policy to help prevent the recurrence of bad news?
- In other words, does everyone, right up to the chief executive, appreciate we have to be well-behaved to be well-reported and well-respecteted?
- Are we proud of our identity and display it proudly, clearly, consistently, where ever we can?
- Is it our policy to focuses much of our communications effort on creating opportunities for people talking?
- Do we understand that other means of communication are substitutes forced on us by time, scale or by other circumstances?
- Have we adequately explored the respective roles of face-to-face, audio visual, print, broadcast and other communication techniques?
- Are our programmes using each technique to its best advantage and in complementary ways?
- Do managers appreciate:
- information changes knowledge,
- opinions may not be based on fact,
- attitudes are critical to success,
- no amount of information changes attitudes,
- favourable attitudes can take years to build
- … and minutes to destroy,
- Public opinion is a most powerful force?