The other day I was hit with a nonsensical stereotype. “You’re in public relations right? That means you can talk your way out of anything.”
As I put down the barbed-wire fence we were crossing over during an attempt at high-risk mischief, I was instantly offended. Why do I have to be some kind of master of manipulation in order to be considered public relations-bred?
I got into the field of public relations because I love writing, the media, and real-time problem solving. The idea that having supernatural persuasion powers being key to my profession just doesn’t relate to me. Yes, many people in my field happen to be very persuasive, enigmatic people, and their skills definitely come in handy. I, on the other hand, am extremely hesitant to use mind games in my work.
A little context: in public relations, you are essentially the aggregator of an organization in some cases. It’s on you to persuade others (like your organizations customers, a government’s constituency, an employer’s employees, you get it) into accepting an image, concept, what have you.
What I contend is persuasion as a tool of deception. Trying to convince someone that something is good, when it isn’t, is exactly what people in our profession have got to stay away from. I know plenty of people who are great at getting other people to do what they want them to do for no good, real reason. That’s what’s overrated.
Instead, treat other people with decency. Give them a set of option and provide a logical reason why they should love something as much as you do. Proving is the best type of persuasion, hands-down.
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