Honing Communication Skills For Effective PR Essential For Professionals – BD Sharma

Shimla: “Public Relations (PR) Professionals should make cordial and constant relations with media to establish trust and credibility among people. These relations will certainly help PR professionals to disseminate important information regarding developmental schemes of government to public.” said, B.D. Sharma, former Director, Information and Public Relations (IPR).

He was speaking on the concluding day of two days training programme of District Public Relations Officers, Assistant Public Relations Officers and Sub-Editors of Department of Information and Public Relations here today at Himachal Pradesh Institute of Public Administration (HIPA), Fairlawns.

While speaking on the role of IPR department in publicizing government policy, programmes and achievements, modes of publicity, hoarding, exhibition, display board and video display and advertisement, B.D. Sharma said that PR profession is full of challenges but by putting extra efforts it could be turned into opportunities to serve in public interest. In a democratic system, government is responsible to people and PR plays a very vital role in publicizing the impact of good governance. PR professionals should be pro-active to work on publicity of government schemes. They need to deal with many kinds of publics like government departments, media, private companies, NGOs, etc. The profession also provides an elevated platform for an officer to use the communication skills for the betterment of society. The power of communication needs to be complimented with persistency.

Participants of the PR Workshop at HIPA Fairlawns, Shimla

He also stressed on the need of improving writing skills for better communication during talking on Press notes features, success stories and articles. Brevity is also a principle of PR. Press notes, should always be concise, brief and effective to convey the actual message. He said that Press notes should contain message and facts and no extra padding should be given. He said that features, success stories and articles should be utilized properly where more information could be given for public consumption.

Later on, senior journalist and Editor at Hill Post Ravinder Makhaik gave a presentation on ‘An overview of Social Media’. He said that according to the data gathered by Hootsuite, a social media management platform, the world has a population of 7.68 billion, out of which there are 5.11 billion Mobile Users (67 percent), 3.48 billion Social Media Users (45 percent) whereas India has a population of 1.36 billion with 310 million Social Media Users (23 percent), 560 Million Internet Users (41 percent) 1.2 Billion Mobile Phones (87 percent). In Global Social Media Accounts, Facebook has 65.23 percent, YouTube has 54.60 percent, Instagram has 28.73 percent, TikTok has 14.36 percent, Twitter has 9.36 percent and LinkedIn has 8.7 percent share while in india, YouTube has 93 percent , Facebook has 89 percent , Instagram has 69 percent, Twitter has 57 percent and LinkedIn has 48 percent share.

He said that social media is useful for both the literate and illiterate consumers. The focus has been shifted totally to mobile phones as more mobile based applications are coming up for information at one click. Multiple languages are used to construct messages for variety of audiences. Social media is shaping public opinion and in coming times there going to be big increase in the users of social medial in our country. It is bringing transparency but also creating confusion. PR professionals need to use and participate in the social media platform in order to remain in the field. Social media could be utilized to publicize government schemes as it has more reach among the public. Social media is also being blamed for creating chaos in the society but PR officers need to work on the strategy to tackle its disadvantages for usage of this valuable media.

Director Information and Public Relations Harbans Singh Brascon stressed on the proper and timely publicity of the government programmes and policies so that common people could avail benefits of the schemes. He also emphasized on used of social media platform and other applications for better publicity of government programmes and policies.

Assistant Professor HIPA and Course Coordinator Dr. Rakesh Sharma, Joint Director IPR (Administration) Sanjay Sharma, Joint Director (Advt.) Arti Gupta, Joint Director (Press) Pradeep Kunwar, Joint Director (Accreditation) Mahesh Pathania and other senior officers of the department were present on the occasion.

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