Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
January 12, 2011

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know, Until You Take a Test

Sometimes You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know, Until You Take a Test.
(or How the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations Will Make You a Better PR Professional)

I had heard about the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations through my local PRSA Chapter for years. I always thought it was for the people working in PR firms only. I’m a client. I work for the YMCA of Greater Miami. At times, I’ve done the PR, but currently I’m lucky enough to work with a great PR firm. So I never thought the Examination would apply to me.

Finally, I went to an information meeting and was assured that yes, as a client, it is appropriate for me to sit for the Examination.

There were not enough of us to have a study group, so I was on my own. I tapped into the PRSA online resources, posted questions, read other posts. I also e-mailed a local APR for advice along the way.

For me, the biggest learning was in the preparation for the Readiness Review panel presentation. That’s where I really started to understand that PR is not about media. It’s not about placing stories. It’s about identifying and communicating with audiences in ways that are effective and appropriate to both the audience and the message. Securing media placements is just one way to communicate, and often the least effective for your goals. That was my “Ah Ha” moment.

It’s brought more meaning to my daily work. I was considering leaving communications because “pitching stories” is not my forte or interest. Now that I have a deeper understanding of all that public relations covers, I’m much more strategic and interested in communications as a whole.

The APR process and the Examination have been a personal inspiration and re-dedication to my career, opening my eyes to how great communications can be.

Oh, and I’ve added “APR” to my business cards!

Charlotte Donn, APR
Associate Vice President
Marketing and Communications
YMCA of Greater Miami

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