It sometimes surprises me that classes that seem at first glance to not relate to public relations can provide us critical skills and insights that can help us become better in our field. While there may be many class subjects that help you in this regard, I am going to recommend three. These three subjects can be of great benefit for you in your career.
While sitting in my public relations campaigns class, it dawned on me how essential project management is in designing and running a campaign. There are many elements and steps that need to be taken in order for a project to be successful. Every project has a mission, goals and tasks. It involves assessing risk, cost and analyzing value. Creating a timetable as well as determining how to measure the results is also crucial to a project. These are all essential skills that will help you run a campaign and are taught in project management classes.
Public relations does not exist in a vacuum. In most cases, public relations is used to help reach a business goal. Having an understanding of basic business principles will provide you with insight and make your counsel more valuable to your employer. If you want a seat at the table with people that make the decisions, you need to show them that you are more than just communications – you need to show you understand business.
The best stories are engaging and will help your audience internalize an idea or a concept. Being a strong storyteller is a great skill. Building a story is different than regular public relations writing. Every story has characters, some sort of conflict or problem and a resolution. Learning to write fiction will help you learn to build a story to communicate your message in a way that is more relatable to your audience.
What nontraditional courses would you suggest for public relations majors?
Shane Carpenter graduated from Boise State University in 2011. Prior to returning to school, he spent six years working at Intel engaging with employees and business partners on human resources programs. Connect with him on Twitter at @dshanecarpenter.