21 April – personal and PR connections

What does 21 April mean to you?  It is the day that Queen Elizabeth II was born in 1926 – and 500 years since Henry VIII ascended to the thrown of England.  Wikipedia details many such historically significant events, births and deaths.

For me this date will forever be the anniversary of the day that my dad died – 3.15am in the morning is linked forever as the time, with Toulouse in France a place I cannot visit without thinking of as the place of his death exactly one year ago.

On the other hand, today is just a day like any other – the date only matters because I make a connection to an event that is significant to me.

Today I am running a training course about online PR and looking at the importance of connections that engage people in communications. My co-trainer, Peter Brill, is currently talking about organic search engine optimisation (SEO).  The idea is trying to understand the connections that people make with topics, key words, themes, and so on.

We can generalise and look for the type of connections that most people might make – but we are all individual and have our own mental constructs underpinning the way we think – which influences the way we search online.

That’s why I think of PR as an applied psychology – I need to understand what you are thinking, what influences you and what connections you have made already before I can hope to communicate with you.

Understanding what April 21 means to me could be important – certainly this year – when a large part of my mind remains in Toulouse and how I’ve just lived a whole 365 days without my dad.

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.

2 thoughts on “21 April – personal and PR connections”

  1. It’s strange how thoughts trigger actions and vice-versa. You’re right, PR, like all communication, is about psychology and this comes easier to some than others – hence some PRs are just naturally more successful when it comes to identifying stories and persuading journalists to take them.

    For some of us, the psychology bit can be more of a struggle. I think recognising our strengths and weaknesses and being prepared to turn to others for support makes the difference. It’s why I enjoyed our training session so much yesterday.

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