Interview with the regional director of Action Global Communications Maia Chitaia.
Why did you decide to enter this field, and what kind of opportunities does this profession give you?
As a practitioner journalist, the idealistic growth of my profession is the Public Relations and marketing communications. Although it not envisioned, from investigative journalism I was lucky to join Action Global Communications in 2005 to manage the British Airways communications account. Since then, our profile is mostly oriented on the development related projects, rather than the commercials.
Many international donors, nowadays have changed their approach in terms of communications and visibility issues. If this was the part of the task of the civil society organizations, now to reach maximum effectiveness and outcome, the communications issues are dealt by the communications and PR agencies and companies, which ensures the quality.
Luckily we have deconstructed the wrong perception, as the PR and Communications needs no special education. This could be done by everyone.
This is obviously not true, and the new approach of the International organizations is the prove to that. PR and Communications doesn’t only mean the good writing skills or verbal communications abilities, it also means the knowledge of social psychology, behaviorism and good understanding of social issues (gender, human rights, law) as well as possessing the human capital. So, if you look at PR and Communications from that angle, this profession has an increasing demand not only among the development projects, but also medium and large corporations.
What is it necessary to hold a successful communication with public?
First of all it is important that one believes in what she/he does. I mean that falsity is very visible in our profession. You should believe in changes, in people and if you are sincere, than all environment will meet you to fulfil your goal.
Another thing to be considered is the tolerance towards the fails. The British playwriter Samuel Becket, would be very good Communications specialist if he only had lived in our times. His words, `Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter, Try again, fail better` – perfectly depicts the inner drive of the PR and Communications specialist.
–What three tips would you offer someone just starting out in PR?
– Be Honest to yourself and to people;
– Never start doing PR projects if you don’t believe in its rightness and social benefits.
– Learn– PR is the mixture of different knowledges.
–What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR?
–As mentioned above, the most of our projects are related to development. We develop the strategy and implement campaigns to eliminate the stigma against the children with disability, to support women’s economic and political empowerment, to raise awareness on food security and catastrophes risk reduction, to support the development of agriculture and rural development. All of these projects need not only the good knowledge of the PR technologies and communications methodologies, but also the technical literacy in gender issues, agriculture, human rights, nutrition and many other. Even working with private sector needs special education – in aviation business you need to have the basic knowledge in aircrafts, airport regulations; in forex trading you should know the technology of the currency exchange business. You, as PR specialist should become an expert of the sphere and the success will definitely happen.
How is your typical week?
–Hectic. It has no working hours – you may start early in the morning in Tbilisi and end your day late night in one of the region of Georgia. At least 10 new interesting people become your friend every week and this saves me from exhaustion.
–How would you go about finding relevant contacts and sources?
–Attending different meetings, networking events are good ways to make new contacts. But increasing demand on social media, like Facebook or Instagram, could facilitate generating new contacts – be the part of the different social groups, participation in the discussions, writing new and interesting posts/blogs will help you to increase followers.
–What trait do you value the most in your co-workers?
–Sense of responsibility.
–What is the best PR practice technology can’t change?
–Face to Face conversations.
–What are some of the growing trends in the public relations industry?
–Online influencers have moved from a fad to a mainstream trend that PR professionals and brands are embracing.
it’s more about finding the right influencer to get your story out rather than the best newspaper nowadays. Influencers are already talking to your customers. They also have credibility and trust.
Another trend is to involve in PR the knowledges like social psychology and behaviorism. Especially while working in social change oriented campaigns that aims change of action or change in mind, those knowledges are more and more important for the specialists.