The Chartered PR Practitioner Q&A: Eva Maclaine on working internationally

One of my commitments as CIPR President was to promote the value of learning and development as a foundation for professionalism.

Public relations may be a maturing professional discipline but unlike other areas of management we have yet to mandate the qualities that mark out other professions, such as formal qualifications and life-long learning.

Personally I can show a direct and on-going correlation between my skills and my income throughout my career. To me, there is no clearer value in education and training.

Throughout the year I’m going to blog interviews with practitioners that have achieved Chartered PR Practitioner status to understand their motivation and perspective on the profession.

The Chartered Practitioner qualification is pitched by the CIPR as “a benchmark for those working at a senior level and a ‘gold standard’ to which all PR practitioners should strive to reach.”

It consists of an initial questionnaire on your career, a paper and formal interview. You can read about my route to achieving Chartered PR Practitioner status via a series of blog posts.

Eva Maclaine’s paper looked the challenges of modern international communication practice.

eva-maclaineWho are you and what’s your day job?

I’m a PR strategist specialising in strategy development, and in reputation, issues and stakeholder management.

As a multilingual PR professional (French, Russian, Polish, Italian), I’ve delivered quite a few comms programmes globally, for example in Poland, Cyprus and the South Pacific, as well as in the UK.

What’s the greatest opportunity for the public relations profession?

There are several.

Public relations is about what organisations do. We must show we add value by managing reputations. Our contribution to an organisation’s financial and operational success through listening, analysis, planning and measurement is real and tangible.

Next, we must grasp the opportunities that come through increased globalisation. Campaigns often transcend borders and speak to global audiences. International experience and intercultural sensitivity is increasingly valuable and even essential.

We also need to embrace digital communication. The territory is being fought over by numerous disciplines. We must make sure that it is rightfully ours.

Why did you apply for Chartered PR Practitioner status?

It’s no use prattling on about professional development if you don’t do any yourself. As a Fellow of the CIPR, an elected Board and Council member, I thought it was important to attain this ‘gold standard’. And now I find it’s of great value in my work.

How did you find the assessment process?

Rigorous but fair. The questionnaire is far longer and more complex than I expected, so get prepared with plenty caffeine nearby before you start. Choose something in which you are genuinely interested for your dissertation – it’s not easy writing 3,000 words about something that bores you! Prepare carefully for your interviews.

What was the topic of your paper and what did you learn?

I hope I manage to convey the enormous excitement and challenge of working internationally. We have so much to learn by engaging with other cultures. When we do, we learn about other people’s ways of doing things but we also enrich ourselves.

International communication touches many disciplines including anthropology, behavioural sciences, culture, psychology, language, law, politics, history and ethics. It’s a fascinating arena in which to work.

Readers will learn a little about academic thinking underlying this subject but will also get really practical examples of the dos and don’ts of working in a new or unfamiliar culture.

Eva’s paper Don’t shout please. I’m not deaf, just foreign! Lessons from working internationally is available as a download (PDF).

Further information

You can connect with Eva via LinkedIn or Twitter (@EvaMaclaine), and if you’re interested in further information about learning and development please check the CIPR website.

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Professional advisor for agencies and communication teams, Wadds Inc. Author: #brandvandals, Exploring PR and Management Communication. #PRstack, Share This, and others. Visiting Professor, Newcastle University.

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