February is Black History Month, which is bringing up conversations about race and diversity. However, the color of a person’s skin is not the only factor of what makes him or her diverse.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Alabama PRSA Chapter meeting where the Diversity Moment was a “Diversity Wheel.” The basics of the wheel are the Organizational Dimension, which are the components of your job, the External Dimension, which are components of where you live and your life experiences, and the Internal Dimension, which is the key factors most people think of when they think of diversity–age, race, gender, etc.
In the middle is your personality. All these factors, from what job you have to what school you attended to your ethnicity, are factors in your personality.
Personally, the Diversity Wheel can be used to understand why people have such different perspectives even if they are the same race, gender or socioeconomic group. The Diversity Wheel can be a good way to look at what makes you different and similar to those around you in the classroom, at an internship or in your friend group.
Professionally, the Diversity Wheel is great tool to use to think about your target audience. Even if you are trying to reach “Young Professionals,” you are looking at two factors of the wheel (Organizational Dimensions and Internal Dimensions). Considering more rings of the wheel allows you to have a deeper understanding of your target audience.
And a deeper understanding of your target audience allows you to find the voices that your audience wants to listen to. Whether it be where to syndicate content, an event speaker or even a shift in branding messaging, having a more nuanced understanding of the diverse perspectives of your target audience allows you to be a more effective Public Relations practitioner.
I believe that diversity is a collection of different views and using a Diversity Wheel can be a way to look for perspectives in your life and work you never knew you were missing. As a communicator, it is of the utmost importance to know who we are communicating to. Our experiences limit us to our personality but when we use tools like the Diversity Wheel, we begin to be able to be more effective communicators, coworkers and friends.
Anne Davis Parks is a senior Journalism and Mass Communication and English double major at Samford University. She is currently a part of the 2019 Bateman team, Voices of BHAM, where she is advocating for diversity and inclusion in the PR industry.