It’s up to you to build trust for our profession and your reputation

Kathy Krafka Harkema, Delegate/Ethics

Trust. It’s essential in today’s world. Trust is also an essential element to succeed as a public relations professional.

Without trust, it’s hard to communicate with and influence anyone.

So, when it comes to trust, what’s expected of us as public relations professionals?

According to the PRSA Code of Ethics we agree to uphold as members, it’s up to us to build respect and credibility with the public for our profession.

How do you do that?

It starts by leading by example. Conduct yourself in a trustworthy manner.

Do what you say you’re going to do. Follow through on your commitments, deliverables and expectations. Even the highest achievers can take on too much, so strive for balance and focus on priorities. Take on those responsibilities you truly want and need to do but avoid overcommitting to help lessen the risk of personal or professional burnout.

Learn how and when to say no. Avoid the temptation to overpromise and underdeliver. PRSA’s Code of Ethics implores us to decline representing clients or organizations that urge or require actions that don’t align with our professional ethics.

Acknowledge that we’re all human. Admit when you’ve made a mistake. Work to quickly correct misinformation and the impact of the error, and to make process improvements to help prevent future mistakes. Counsel others in the profession so that they too can build ethical decision-making skills through coaching, training and hands-on experience.

If you’re making a claim or advocating for or against something, don’t just say it, prove it. Back statements up with facts, statistics, examples and visuals to help earn the trust and respect of target audiences.

Stay informed about practices to ensure ethical conduct. Be on the lookout for ways to continually educate yourself. See if your employer offers access to training or other resources. If they do, seize the opportunity to learn all you can. And if training and professional development budgets are reduced in this precarious pandemic time, take the time to invest in yourself. Take advantage of the diverse training and professional development resources through your PRSA membership. Explore our chapter’s website and PRSA national resources to get started.

Considered pursuing your Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). You’ll apply what you already know to a rigorous well-rounded course. Plus, our chapter offers an exceptional training program.

Consider mentoring younger professionals. Help them learn from your experience in the industry. Or offer to speak at a chapter event to share your expertise with a larger group.

If you’re new to the profession or Iowa, network with the many talented professionals in our Central Iowa PRSA chapter. Our members are some of the most skilled in the industry, with a wealth of diverse experience. Taking part in our chapter’s online events during the pandemic is a great way to stay connected, to learn more and to get to know others.

This year has been unlike any other in our lifetime. As the second half of 2020 begins, consider how your actions and personal leadership can help build more trust for your personal reputation and that of our profession in the process. As public relations leaders, it’s up to each one of us to help lead, coach, develop and effectively communicate through these challenging times through our personal commitment to ethics and excellence.

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