Last Thursday evening, I had the pleasure of hosting Steve Quigley, APR, for our PRSA “Social Media for Beginners” event. I very much enjoyed his presentation style because even though he is a Boston University associate professor and has long list of professional accomplishments, he portrayed himself as an average guy who is still catching up with this stuff (social media). He got the audience laughing throughout the evening and I think people felt a little less bewildered because they could see Steve was just like us.
While I could write a very long post about his ideas and insights, I will share those that had the greatest impact on me:
Social media technologies really make us think about our traditional approaches to public relations. In grad school, I was taught that good PR was a two-way street in which the company both distributed messages and opened up channels to receive messages from the public. However, when I got out into the business world, I realized that companies rarely opened up listening channels and often used PR as a way to dictate their messages to the world without really listening.
Social media now removes all the excuses companies once had for taking this one-way approach. Now businesses have an easy way to open up their ears and finally listen. However, it’s difficult for many older generations who have grown so accustomed to the “dictation” approach to PR and marketing that they need to shift their whole concept of business communication in order to successfully adopt these new technologies.
But it’s not just the technology that is changing. It’s also the way we speak. In the old days, businesses could get away with “corporate speak” in which language was impersonal, sterile, full of jargon. But now, consumers want to hear the voices “behind the curtain” and feel like the captains of business are really listening and talking with their public rather than hiding behind a faceless corporate entity.
So I want to say thanks to Steve Quigley for his outstanding presentation to my PRSA group and if you get the chance to hear him speak up in the Boston area, I highly encourage you to join him.