BASIC PUBLIC RELATIONS

3. INTERNAL PUBLIC RELATIONS
As we have learnt from the introduction, public relations is largely the image that is portrayed by the security officers. It stands to reason that in order to project a good image members of the security department must be proud of their position and their profession. We cannot assume that employees outside of the security department understand and appreciate what security does on their behalf.
It is up to the entire security department to communicate to others within the organisation about its functions. Telling others about the achievements of the security department does not mean bragging or showing off. It does mean honestly informing others about how security contributes to the organisation it serves. This is done by communication to management and others by means of written and verbal reports.
The more communication of achievement there is the better the image of the security department becomes within an organisation.
How security officers view the company they work for often influences how their acquaintances, friends and family view the same company. If they speak positively about the company and security operations a favourable image will be portrayed to this group. The group in turn will probably develop a similar positive attitude and feeling towards the company and security department.
On the other hand if a security officer speaks negatively about the company and security department, then those hearing these comments will probably develop a similar negative sentiment. Once a negative sentiment has developed it is very difficult to change and it is every security officers duty to challenge and counteract negative criticism of the security department.

4. DEALING WITH THE PUBLIC
Often the security officer is the first person seen when entering a company’s premises, If the visitor see’s the security personnel in a sloppy, dirty and incomplete uniform, then the first impression of the company and security department will be poor. This poor impression will be further reinforced if the security officer lacks professionalism, cannot communicate effectively and demonstrates bad manners.
On the other hand, a favourable impression will be created if the security officer:
– is smartly dressed
– has a professional attitude
– communicates effectively
– shows concern
– demonstrate good manners

All security personnel owe it to themselves to be proud of what they do. This pride can be shown in their personal appearance, in their enthusiasm for preforming their assignments, and in a sense of accomplishment for a job well done. If a positive attitude prevails within the security department, it will carry over to all those who come into contact with them.
Most people will respond favourably to anyone who is calm and polite in their communication process. Even someone who has a complaint finds it difficult to be abusive to someone who refuses to respond negatively. A security officer must always be tactful when dealing with others. As a symbol of authority the security officer must enforce the rules and regulations of a company and at the same time be diplomatic in his approach. Most people will accept a security officers request for identification in a positive way if politely asked.
On the other hand a sharp tone and superior attitude will most probably generate resentment and even contempt.
Consider the following:

PRACTICAL EXERCISE

A maintenance electrician is called out at night to do some repair work in a plant. As he approaches the security check point he greets the security officer on duty but fails to produce his identity card even though there is a large sign board instructing him to do so. The officer could say: “Can’t any of you maintenance guys read? Where is your ID card?” or he could say, after returning the electricians greeting, “I am sorry sir but it is company policy that all persons entering the premises must present their ID card to the security staff on duty before entry is permitted”.
In both instances the electrician will be compelled to produce his identity card. In the second instance the officers tact allows the electrician to produce his ID card without losing face. The officers approach in the first instance will probably result in an equally derogatory remark from the electrician about the security department and the feeling of hostility may never be forgotten. This is just one example of the many situations where tact, politeness and good manners are the key aspects to bear in mind when dealing with staff or members of the public.

5. REASON FOR POOR PUBLIC RELATIONS
Bearing in mind that public relation is the image we project of ourselves to others and that we are largely, personally responsible for the creation and maintenance of good public relations, the following is a list of traits that a security officer must avoid at all costs.
These traits destroy human relations and adversely affect public relations.
– Poor attitude
– Crude speech
– Incompetence
– Spreading of rumours
– Disinterest
– Impoliteness
– Exploitation of people
– Abuse of authority
– Poor communication with the public and management

6. CONCLUSION
As we have learnt, public relations is the image we portray to the public at large and it is subsequently very difficult to “test” a person in a classroom environment on his ability to promote public relations. It is up to each individual to put into practice the points learned on ways to promote good public relations and to actively concentrate on avoiding the traits that lead to poor public relations.
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