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Four Basic Communication Strategies, Beyond the Borders of Traditional Public Relations Practice
Unformatted Document Text:  20 (Van Woerkum, 1997). The facilitator assists each communicating party by highlighting the meanings of the other party. He also facilitates the members of the organization, enabling them to communicate well and making their interactions effective. A good number of publications in the professional journals show that public relations professionals endorse this facilitating view of their job. However, they fear that the very nature of this practice makes results hard to visualize, which in turn means that it is difficult to quantify and defend their productivity. The seat-of-the-pants: public relations is an art, not a profession Although not foreseen in the theoretical typology construction, a seventh type emerged from the literature research, the “seat-of-the-pants” type, characterized by a non-view of communication. The seat-of-the-pants hates the typical catchwords in the public relations professional’s jargon, like planning, image building, communication models, communication techniques, interaction, perceptions, etc. In his opinion, communication is magical mystery, which he, of course, will not define. He cannot say exactly what his job involves. In fact he is not interested in trying to define it, he just loves it. The seat-of-the-pants feels that the sheer complexity of public relations means that it cannot be analyzed and categorized. He is the type of public relations professional who feels that talent is everything. Public relations is a matter of inventing solutions instead of looking up empirical analyses and theoretical or practical models. He is a generalist rather than a specialist. He draws on personal experiences from his own life instead of keeping up with the professional literature and doing research. He hates handbooks and journals, because he feels that these contain no applicable solutions whatsoever. The same goes for professional education. Since he cannot use it to derive tools for his everyday practice, he denies that it has any value. For him, public relations is at once everything and nothing, as there is no common denominator. What he does cannot be learned. His claim to fame is to be a comforting factor of any kind to his boss, whose unbiased trust he craves.

Authors: Van Ruler, A. A. Betteke.
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(Van Woerkum, 1997). The facilitator assists each communicating party by highlighting the meanings
of the other party. He also facilitates the members of the organization, enabling them to communicate
well and making their interactions effective. A good number of publications in the professional
journals show that public relations professionals endorse this facilitating view of their job. However,
they fear that the very nature of this practice makes results hard to visualize, which in turn means that
it is difficult to quantify and defend their productivity.
The seat-of-the-pants: public relations is an art, not a profession
Although not foreseen in the theoretical typology construction, a seventh type emerged from the
literature research, the “seat-of-the-pants” type, characterized by a non-view of communication. The
seat-of-the-pants hates the typical catchwords in the public relations professional’s jargon, like
planning, image building, communication models, communication techniques, interaction,
perceptions, etc. In his opinion, communication is magical mystery, which he, of course, will not
define. He cannot say exactly what his job involves. In fact he is not interested in trying to define it, he
just loves it.
The seat-of-the-pants feels that the sheer complexity of public relations means that it cannot be
analyzed and categorized. He is the type of public relations professional who feels that talent is
everything. Public relations is a matter of inventing solutions instead of looking up empirical analyses
and theoretical or practical models. He is a generalist rather than a specialist. He draws on personal
experiences from his own life instead of keeping up with the professional literature and doing
research. He hates handbooks and journals, because he feels that these contain no applicable solutions
whatsoever. The same goes for professional education. Since he cannot use it to derive tools for his
everyday practice, he denies that it has any value. For him, public relations is at once everything and
nothing, as there is no common denominator. What he does cannot be learned. His claim to fame is to
be a comforting factor of any kind to his boss, whose unbiased trust he craves.


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