The World PR Forum taught me a valuable lesson: We all speak the same language in comms

It may be 665 miles away, but the communication challenges and issues of the day discussed in Oslo were very close to home.

We do have an international PR and communications language, argues Amanda Coleman
We do have an international PR and communications language, argues Amanda Coleman
I was privileged to have been invited to be part of the World PR Forum, which this year was held in Norway and attracted people from 44 countries. 

The theme for the conference was truth, profit and intelligence and to look at comms under these three headings.

Within that was my own contribution, looking at the importance of managing crisis comms from the perspective of the people affected. 

Policies, plans and procedures are important but what should drive our work is more than all those things: it is people. 

The host of the conference - the Norwegian Communication Association - has a stated aim of trying to improve transparency in society. 

PR work for it has an important part to play in daily life and those involved in it take their position seriously. 

The aim is to put people at the centre of what it as an association is about. 

It is the same for my work in Greater Manchester: it must always have people at the heart of it. 

What I found at the World PR Forum is that we do have an international PR and comms language

Amanda Coleman, head of corporate comms, Greater Manchester Police
We have a global challenge, which is not only to explain what we do and to be open about the work of PR professionals but also to demonstrate its value to society as well as the businesses and organisations we work with.

Despite many attempts we are still struggling with the ways we can evaluate what we do and part of the problem may be trying to develop a universal system. 

Instead we should create a framework that can be tailored for our situation but is robust and has rigor within it. 

Ensuring the breathing space for evaluation is not easy, both at home and abroad, as the global economy has put pressure on us all and skewed our thinking towards outputs and not outcomes.

At the conference there was a buzz around several sessions that were looking at the future of the profession and particularly the Global Capability Framework launched by Professor Anne Gregory from the University of Huddersfield. 

I wonder whether I would have ever picked the document up if I hadn’t been at the conference, and yet it provides a global insight into the skills the profession requires. 

I came away feeling clear that it isn’t enough to keep looking at what happens in the UK: we have to make global links to really develop the profession worldwide.

What I found at the World PR Forum is that we do have an international PR and comms language. 

We are all talking about the same issues and wrestling with the same problems, so perhaps we should do more of it together.

Amanda Coleman is head of corporate comms at Greater Manchester Police

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