On Thursday I am speaking at the CIPR Rebuilding Hope conference in Leeds, where PR practitioners will discuss issues arising from the London Bombings and 'help promote future positive communication and meaningful community relations'.
There will be around 80 delegates from local councils, police forces, healthcare trusts, PR agencies and charities, mostly senior Public Relations professionals, as well as diversity, equality and regeneration specialists.
After the conference at there will be an exhibition at Wakefield Media Centre and students from Leeds Metropolitan University will be producing a conference report. I have been asked to write a few paragraphs on what is needed to create ‘hope following the bombings’.
Here's my contribution.
At its most optimistic, the history of Public Relations can be seen as
progressing from simply putting out messages to becoming a profession
which promotes dialogue between organisations and publics.
At a time when the cohesion of our communities faces significant challenges, PR can play an important role, not only in relaying sensitive messages but also by listening to what is being said in our streets and in our mosques.
If they are to be of value, these conversations must be honest and meaningful. They must relate truths, even when some of those truths are difficult to say, or difficult to hear.
Handled with imagination, realism and sensitivity, such conversations put PR in a unique position to both encourage dialogue and inform policy.