I have been looking at the syllabus of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Diploma qualification and was wondering how wide it's appeal is to people in the communications profession.
It was suggested to me that PR is about more than communication - what professionals do goes far beyond the simple act of communicating. The CIPR says that PR is:
"the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics."
...a description that implies more than sitting people in a room and getting them to talk to each other.
From a change and IC practitioner's point of view I think I see the point. To be honest, a large part of what I do has little to do with the narrow practice of communications. I find myself involved in debates about the substance of a business strategy, whether it is understandable enough to be workable or whether a management team are committed enough to actually work together.
When I talk to my colleagues in our advertising agency I hear about shaping products and designing services - not just about making neat ads. Friends in lobbying, consumer PR, crisis and business to business tell similar stories.
This is a fundamental truth about what we do. If you adopt too narrow a brief you miss the point about communication. Making people love your strategy, your product, your workplace is about so much more than just talking to them or even listening to them.
Making a difference as a communicator means taking a broad approach that encompasses understanding strategy, being able to challenge the received wisdom and seeing yourself as a strategic partner.
But I wonder how many people see it like that?