PR cookery school

8 Sep

How did you learn to cook? This was the question I posed at a university teaching conference today because it seemed a useful metaphor for challenging how people learn about a practice such as public relations.

Some start with cookbooks and follow recipes. Some learn a few basic principles and improvise from that basis. Some learn by osmosis at the kitchen table. Most use a measure of trial and error. Yet few start in a lecture theatre rather than a kitchen. And surely no one learns much from the many chefs on TV. (Though, to digress, Kitchen Confidential is a great read.)

My premise is that, while theory goes hand in hand with practice, it’s probably best to start with some doing. Isn’t that also how we learnt to drive?

One Response to “PR cookery school”

  1. Gerald 09/09/2004 at 1:31 pm #

    Absolutely Richard – the cook book may state a couple of grammes of spice or seasoning (and some are so precise that it hurts) but that may not be to everyone’s taste! More or less will depend on the situation – factors like who’s eating, which meal, etc. Similarly the tools of PR may help and the tried and tested analytical frameworks like SWOT and PESTEL are very useful but if you’re going to conduct a community affairs programme or you’re in a crisis scenario, the best way to plan and respond is to be there!
    Going back to your earlier posting about active learning, no other way than learning from experience is there? But all the knowledge in the world will not amount to anything if there is nothing to compare with and therefore theory helps to underpin the practice by providing a bank of past information that can be used again and again, updating the information as and when necessary (case studies are very much like regional variations of a national dish I suppose). Very much like leftovers. Careful about how long it’s been in the fridge though!

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