Why can’t PR practitioners follow simple instructions?

image Why is it so hard for PR practitioners to follow simple instructions?  Whether it is avoiding spamming media or proof reading releases, it seems that learning the best way to practice PR is not something that this industry is keen to do. 

PR is not rocket science – indeed, I would look for common sense as a key skill for anyone working in public relations.  But knowing what to do and why to do it, is critical for anyone who is serious about their chosen discipline.

Yet, few PR practitioners seem to engage with self-development – whether that is joining a professional body, attending training courses, seeking a qualification or researching online or via printed texts to learn how to be better at what you do. 

And it’s no excuse to cite learning on the job – as the world is changing so fast, that continuing to do what you’ve always done isn’t a guaranteed route to success.

Beyond this investment in personal and professional development – it seems to me that PR practitioners often don’t look and listen – especially when it comes to following simple instructions.

I had an experience today when half of the PR practitioners who had to complete a task failed to do it as instructed.  The result of this inattention to detail was additional work for me – and them. 

This wasn’t a high cognitive skills test, but a simple submission of information in a certain way to facilitate a process at my end.  Perhaps that was the problem – too little “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM) maybe?  So next time should there be consequences for failing to follow the steps?

Or is it a sign of their creativity or multi-tasking that getting a job done is more important than doing it right?  I’m sure PR practitioners are not alone in not reading instructions carefully before acting – but I do wonder if it is a good approach given the importance of detail in this business?

Published by

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.