Sunday, March 14, 2010

Transparency: the real you

Officers of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter on campus held a PR Unplugged event today. Four prominent PR specialists spoke to an audience of students, professors and professionals about personal branding, social media, crisis communication and media relations.

Though a number of beneficial topics were covered, I took particular interest in their reiteration of establishing trust and transparency through communication with clients and in our brands. These concepts aligned with much of the content I produced for my article, Technology, Identity, Community that appeared in Pork Business Journal last summer. In a world where global communication has become commonplace, it’s tempting to conclude that we, as a society, have lost touch with these values—particularly when headlines daily reveal breeches of trust and lax transparency.

Debra Nalchajian-Cohen, founder of Cohen Communications, encouraged effective communication up front, stating that “facts rise to the top quickly.” Even when you think they can’t, people can see right through you.

Fresno State professor of PR, Betsy Hays, expressed the importance of congruency. When your words don’t match your actions, you lose credibility and destroy your brand with a bad reputation.

These notions pertain directly to PR, but are just as applicable to our daily interactions with each other. Relationships are commonly severed by distrust and a lack of effective communication. Becoming an open book to your counter-part is positively less harmful than putting up a front. You are more likely to incur desired results by making yourself vulnerable.

The times I have decided to step out in faith, into a world of unfamiliarity and discomfort, have been the times that I have taken my largest strides toward personal growth. Transparency may ignite feelings of discomfort at first. But overcoming those fears is liberating. What is there to hide? Let's see the real you.

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