Kyodo Public Relations Blog

Experience is King

NOVEMBER 21, 2019
Kazuko Kotaki, PR Research Institute, Kyodo Public Relations

Nowadays, there are so many Japanese speakers discussing about PR in Japan. That makes me happy about witnessing the local evolution of PR. That said, people to work on PR is a somewhat different story because different skill sets are required for each aspect - either logically talking about PR, or practically executing in real environment like PR firms. I had an opportunity to interview Jim Harff, President and CEO of Global Communicators, who has unparalleled global and historical PR expertise who stresses the importance of experiences.

Experience Makes You Compelling

I was honored to meet with Harff three years ago in October 2016 at a public diplomacy salon held in Tokyo. I was thrilled to directly talk with this famous PR hero - who is the main character in the global PR war featuring former Yugoslavia as widely reported by Toru Takagi, NHK <video>.


Harff was sitting on a stool right in front of me. It was a cozy, comfortable atmosphere where he calmly talked about how he fought the PR war in the global arena. His award-winning strategy and execution was just inspiring.

In 1990s when the PR war in the former Yugoslavia was delivering daily news, I was actually in New York as an international student. To major international relations, I was having hard time catching up with American English, remembering foreign European names, and understanding complex histories. “What is the fact?” that was all I was after day by day.

Key person behind the news back then was Harff himself. Now, looking humble with downcast eyes and calm voice as a speaker, I found an aura of true PR professional about him. Being in the PR field, I find globally skilled professionals are self-disciplined to support speakers and media at all times, just like Harff.

Harff was so down to earth, and open to any questions. I raised my hand and asked “How were you sure about you were making right decisions in PR when things were so complicated?” Being too excited, I even forget to convey my gratitude for his insightful talk – I was rude.

Harff remained composed. In quite tones, he answered “I conducted years of research and continuous fact findings as a team. Experience is very important in PR because that makes you know what to do.” “Exactly!” I nodded myself. Experiences of veteran PR professionals bring global, universal, timeless values.

Harff made me feel sure about PR experience. For young PR professionals, I assure you will be fine with gaining right skillsets and capabilities - as far as you believe in yourself and accumulate experiences. You will be capable of making decisions at any time under any conditions, and taking risks with confidence down the road. That is the takeaway from the global PR operations expertise.



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