Over the last week, I’ve had the opportunity to visit Seattle Pacific University and Seattle University to discuss the variety of work available for public relations professionals interested in politics and policy. Saturday, I joined new PR professionals and career-changers at the Puget Sound PRSA Career Jumpstart Conference. Wednesday, I visited Barry Mitzman’s Strategic Communications class at Seattle U.
Speaking engagements like these give me a chance to step back and think about the career path I’ve followed. It’s refreshing to separate myself from the day-to-day deadlines, e-mail and meetings and take some time to really appreciate the important role public relations has played in our nation’s history and the role it continues to play today.
While PR sometimes gets a bad rap, good communication skills have been a necessary foundation for any strong government or political undertaking.
When I talk to people about the role of public relations in history, one of my favorite examples is Samuel Adams, American Revolutionary, founding father and master of strategic public relations. Consider just a few of the tactics used influence public opinion during revolutionary times:
- The Sons of Liberty: Community organization
- The Liberty Tree: Symbolism
- “No taxation without representation”: Slogans
- The Boston Tea Party: Special events
- The Boston Massacre: Framing the story
Taken together in a sustained and focused manner, all of these tactics helped build public support for the revolution that resulted in the birth of our nation.
Fast-forward to present times. We continue to see these tactics used in modern day politics whether it’s campaign season or not.
Whether we work for the Legislature, Congress, statewide elected officials, think tanks, membership organizations, unions, business associations or think tanks, public affairs professionals spend our days communicating our clients’ positions, working to establish and maintain credibility on issues and persuading others to consider and adopt our viewpoints.
The issues may change from day-to-day or you may be laser-focused on a specific issue area, but that’s what makes these jobs so exciting.
What keeps you coming back?