Public Relations

"Without publicity there can be no public support, and without public support every nation must decay."

Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881), British Prime Minister
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This Business English lesson plan on public relations has been designed for business professionals or other adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

All companies need to pay special attention to their image and reputation. In order to create a good image, companies can make use of PR to create good publicity. PR can also be vital to repair any damage done to a company experiencing times of crisis. In this Business English lesson plan on public relations, students will have the opportunity discuss and express their opinions on issues such as why PR is important for a company, why brand image is important and how companies can generate positive publicity.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

Inc. | “Why Public Relations is Important for your Business”

The article rejects the commonly held idea that PR is ‘free advertising’ and gives a number of reasons public relations is so important for a business. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. Do they agree with the article? Can they think of anything they would add to the list?

Video activity
To save time in class, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below at home. In the class, the students will answer a number of conversation questions directly or indirectly related to the content of the video.

The video for this class is a TEDx Talk by Jerry Silfwer called “A Recipe for PR Success” in which he talks about the importance of social relationships in business and why ‘stupid majorities’ must be targeted.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means, if they agree with it and how it could relate to business. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including what PR is, what affects the image of a company and how the students view the image of their own companies.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with public relations such as PR disaster, PR stunt and spin. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the conversation questions. Before the conversation, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about public relations. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as how companies can generate positive publicity in the media, how PR can help in times of crisis and whether or not all businesses need a PR strategy.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write a PR strategy for their company. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise business-style writing as well as improving their grammar with the feedback from their teacher.

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