I was reading my colleague Jacqui Cooper’s blog about the merits of taking either a CIPR course or work experience as a route into PR when it reminded me of the time I was told to get singing lessons (yes yes, thanks, I know what you’re thinking!).
I’ve left this point as a comment, but thought it worth sharing and elaborating on a little further.
I do a bit of music, singing, writing etc, and I was told It would be worth my while getting vocal training to help me learn how to breath correctly, hold notes longer and enunciate properly, to help develop my raw vocal into something pleasing to hear.
I decided against the advice because it would mean that my technique and style would be dictated by someone who had trained other singers in exactly the same way, and as a result, my vocal performance would lose its individuality and distinct character.
It took me longer to get better, but I think in the end it was worth it as I learnt to control my voice in a way that suited me. And what’s more, I don’t sound like anyone else.
I did no course on PR before getting into it – I did journalism because of a love of communication (and a want to write about music for the Guardian). When I was lucky enough to land some work experience at Zest PR, I literally had no idea what I was letting myself in for. I was learning as I was doing.
Each day I’d do something new, learn about why I was doing it and what the end result would be. If I had taken a PR dgree or a CIPR course, I wouldn’t have had this experience – i’d alredy be aware of what was expected to occur. This process of learning has meant that I was thrown in at the deep end and didn’t ‘do PR’ in a conventional way, learning bit by bit what the job entailed. I was getting different bits of the jigsaw, completing it by myself.
There are merits to getting a PR degree or taking a CIPR course. You get to see the whole picture, learn processes that you might not otherwise. But I fear that it would take away the individuality you need as a PR, especially as the industry begins to focus on more specialised roles in the wake of the digital boom.
I don’t want to be a PR that is the same as any other PR – what differentiates me from them then, and what value does that add to my client?