As requested. This appeared on former blog site. Here we go again. It does contain some effective strategic communication techniques:
October 4, 2009
- You could say M. Larry Litwin wrote the book on public relations. Actually, two really thick books. An associate professor of communication at Rowan University and a former broadcast journalist, Litwin has written two textbooks compiling just about everything he knows about the art of communicating with the public.
The third edition of “The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook: A Synergized Approach to Effective Two-Way Communication,” and “The ABCs of Strategic Communication” are used in college classrooms, kept on the desks of professionals and used as a reference by publicity volunteers for nonprofits.
Litwin lives with his wife, Nancy, in Berlin.
For information about Litwin, visit www.larrylitwin.com
Q: What does the term “public relations” mean?
A: There are many. Most are probably too academic. I define it as a management and counseling function that builds and maintains relationships with audiences through an understanding determined by asking them what they like, don’t like, want and don’t want. PR must be two-way (listen twice as much as we talk) and must be open, honest, thorough and valid. We are a company or organization’s chief integrity officer — the conscience of the organization.
Q: Your “Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook” is 555 pages long. How long did it take to write and how did you learn all that stuff?
A: Not long ago, some Rowan graduates who assisted me on the book were asked that question. The response, “He’s been writing that book his entire life.” Not quite. But I have been taking notes ever since my very first job in radio in Iowa while I was in college. Those same students, plus a few others, encouraged me to compile my notes and publish a book that professionals, students and volunteer groups could use. That’s what we did.
Throughout the years I’ve had great teachers and mentors. They encouraged me to be a sponge, taught me to listen and strongly suggested that I never be without a pen and paper to take notes. When I co-lecture a class with a colleague, I usually take more notes than the students.
Q: How is the recession affecting the public relations industry?
A: As with other professions, public relations has taken its hits with the recession. Many times, PR is the first to go. However, the smarter organizations realize that even during difficult times, it is important and even critical to an organization’s success that it have a public relations strategic counselor at the corporate table to help with research, planning and communication to internal and external audiences. The best CEOs make sure that their Number One, Number Two person is a seasoned PR counselor.
Q: What is the worst mistake a public relations person can make?
A: Lie. Never, ever. Credibility and trust are almost impossible to regain. In our profession, there is no substitute for ethics and integrity. Ivy Ledbetter Lee, one of PR’s founding fathers, said it best: “Tell the truth and provide (only) accurate facts.”
— Kim Mulford
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