By David Landis, President, Landis Communications Inc. (LCI), San Francisco
Last week, I hosted a Webinar for public relations professionals throughout the world who are members of our Public Relations Global Network. The topic? Critical Thinking.
Many of us, in any business, but perhaps especially in PR, fall into the day-to-day trap of working hard but operating on auto. We follow directions and get the work done. But do we provide true value to our company and our clients through critical thinking?
In this age of the technology-driven workplace where results are expected instantly, we tend to rely on an app, a software program – or Google – to do a lot of the work for us. But in the end, does that really provide critical thinking? We explored that topic with more than 80 of our affiliated PR agency staffers, to ask some relevant questions, such as:
- What are the consequences of our actions?
- How does one judge the credibility of sources?
- Do clients always have the facts?
- How does one analyze information to draw appropriate conclusions?
First off, why is critical thinking important in PR (or in any business, for that matter)? Well, for starters, we need to know how to interpret information for our clients and for the media.
So, here is a 3-step process to better critical thinking:
- Identify some of the qualities that make a Critical Thinker. They include:
- Someone who always asks, “How?” and “Why” and confirms the facts
- Articulate how people with weak critical thinking skills communicate vs. those with strong critical thinking skills.
- “It’s fine the way it is.”
- “I don’t waste time looking things up”
- “No matter how complex the problem, there is a simple solution”
- “I can make it better”
- “Figuring out what people really mean is important to me”
- “Rather than relying on someone else’s notes, I prefer to read the material myself”
- Incorporate these 6 steps to stronger critical thinking:
- Interpretation: think about a wide range of consequences, experiences and data
- Analysis: identify intended and actual inferential relationships among information
- Evaluation: assess the credibility of statements
- Inference: consider relevant information and draw appropriate conclusions
- Explanation: present the result of one’s reasoning in a cogent manner
- Self-Regulation: self-consciously monitor one’s thought processes
In the end, in the words of Shakespeare, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
What’s your secret to successful Critical Thinking? Email me at [email protected] or leave a comment below.