How I explain public relations to kids
On National Education Day last year, I volunteered to teach at SDN 03 Rambutan elementary school in East Jakarta. Together with 20 other volunteers, we were asked to tell the students everything (well, nearly everything) about our profession. Guess what? I had to tell them about public relations. How could I explain public relations to kids? I couldn’t even explain it to my mom and dad!
Thankfully, I came up with a solution. I decided to explain the basis of public relations, which is communication.
Communication is simply the act of transferring information from one place to another. According to Julia Wood (2004), communication is "a systemic process in which individuals interact with and through symbols to create and interpret meanings." (Wood, Julia T. Communication Theories in Action: An Introduction. 3rd ed.).
A simple communication process involves the sender, the message, the channel and receiver. The sender must encode the message (the information being conveyed) into a form that is appropriate to the communication channel, and the receiver then decodes the message to understand its meaning and significance.
Of course I could not just tell them the way Wood explains it in her book. Instead, I used games to make the learning process a fun activity. I wanted to help them understand that the process of interpersonal communication is not a phenomenon that simply “happens” but should be seen as a process that involves participants negotiating their role in this process, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Well, any of you have another creative idea of how to explain public relations to kids?