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Public Relations Practitioner
Public relations is a management tool aimed at bringing people together to promote understanding.

The public relations practitioner / officer (PRO) uses different forms of communication to establish efficient two-way interaction between the company and other groups of people. The public relations practitioner helps people and organizations to gain public acceptance by explaining the aims, objectives and methods of their organization, and by building and maintaining a favourable image.

The public relations practitioner gives out information for newspaper items, magazine articles and news spots so that the public are made aware of that employer's projects and accomplishments. The PRO's work also entails arranging and conducting public contact campaigns which may include setting up speaking engagements, writing speeches, speaking for employers at community functions, planning company conferences and managing fundraising drives. The public relations practitioner may prepare stockholders' reports or work to improve employer / employee relations.

The function of public relations is to build bridges of understanding, goodwill and awareness between a company and the public that it wishes to influence.

There is a trend for companies to outsource the public relations role, although many organizations do employ their own specialists. Public relations must not only keep the firm's "public" informed of new products, policy changes and staff changes, but it must keep top management informed of the public's reaction to the company and its products. Because of the strategic role of public relations, it is important to maintain close contact with the upper level of management.

The public relations practitioner may work in a variety of areas or in one specific field, such as:
- consulting
- community involvement
- employee communication
- industrial affairs
- media liaison etc.

Satisfying Aspects
- working with people
- finding ways to satisfy customer needs
- variety of work and specialities
- the challenge of looking for and finding new marketing opportunities

Demanding aspects
- working long hours
- sometimes having to take work home
- dealing with unpleasant or over-demanding people
- having to admit defects in products

A public relations practitioner should:
- be articulate with fluent verbal and written expression;
- be friendly and charming;
- possess leadership qualities;
- be outgoing and self-confident;
- be creative, imaginative and persuasive;
- be multilingual;
- emotionally stable and mature;
- able to deal tactfully with all types of people;
- have organising and management skills;
- be able to work under pressure.

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Languages

Degree: Universities offering degree in Communication or Public Relations eg UFH, UFS, UJ, NMMU, UKZN, UP, NWU, Monash.

Diploma: Public Relations Management - CPUT, DUT, TUT and VUT, SW Gauteng FET.

Public Relations Institute of South Africa (PRISA):
Certificate in Public Relations: To qualify for this certificate, students need to be in possession of:

- a 3 years public relations qualification or
- a PRISA Certificate in Basic Principles of Public Relations plus 2 years public relations related experience or
- 3 years public relations related experience.

- Business and industrial companies
- Trade, labour and professional organizations
- Colleges and universities
- Community and welfare organizations
- Local authorities and government departments
- International organizations

Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA)   
P O Box 2825
Pinegowrie, 2123
Tel: (011) 326-1262 Fax: (011) 326-1259

Institute of Marketing Management (IMM)
P O Box 91820
Auckland Park, 2006
Tel: (011) 628-2095 Fax: (011) 726-4505