The heart of public PR work lies in
attempting to influence the public opinion
Most PR programs are designed to:
Persuade people to change their opinion.
Crystallize uninformed or undeveloped
Reinforce existing opinions.
Public opinion is:
-an elusive and fragile commodity.
-like shifting sands……subject to
“Public opinion is the aggregate of
many individual opinions on a
particular issue that affects a group
Hadley Cantril some years ago worked
out some laws of Public Opinion on the
basis of intensive study of the trends,
as recorded by the polls, support these
1) Opinion is highly sensitive to
2) Events of unusual magnitude are likely
to swing public opinion temporarily from
one extreme to another. Opinion does not
become stabilized until the implications of
events are seen with some perspective.
3) Opinion is generally determined more
by events than by words-unless those
words are themselves interpreted as
4) Verbal statements and outlines of
course of action have maximum
importance when opinion is unstructured,
when people are suggestible and seek
some interpretation from a reliable
5) By and large public opinion does not
anticipate emergencies; it only reacts to
6)Psychologically, opinion is basically
determined by self interest. Even its
words, or any other stimuli, affect opinion
only in so far as their relationship to self-
interest is apparent.
7) Opinion does not remain aroused for
any long period of time unless people feel
their self-interest is actually involved or
unless opinion-aroused by words-is
sustained by events.
8) Once self-interest is involved, opinions
are not easily changed.
9) When self-interest is involved, public
opinion in a democracy is likely to be ahead
of official policy.
10) When an opinion is held by a slight
majority or when opinion is not solidly
structured, an accomplished fact tends to
shift opinion in the direction of acceptance.
11) At critical times, people become more
sensitive to the adequacy of their
leadership- if they have confidence in it,
they are willing to assign more than usual
responsibility to it; if they lack
confidence in it, they are less tolerant
12) People are less reluctant to have
critical divisions made by their leaders if
they feel that somehow they, the people,
are taking some part in the decision.
13) People have more opinions and are able to
form opinions more easily with respect to goals
than with respect to methods necessary to
reach these goals.
14) Public opinion, like individual opinion, is
colored by desires. And when opinion is based
chiefly on desire rather than information, it is
likely to show sharp shifts with events.
15) By and large people in democracy are
provided educational opportunities and ready
access to information. Public opinion reveals a
hard–headed commonsense. The more
enlightened people are to the implications of
events and proposals for there own self-
interest, the more likely they are to agree with
the more objective opinions of realistic experts.
People will ignore
an idea, an opinion, a point of view unless they
see clearly that it effects there personal fears
or desires, hopes or aspirations- your message
must be stated in terms of the interest of your
People do not buy ideas
separated from action-either action taken or
about to be taken by the sponsor of the ideas
or action which people themselves can
conveniently take to prove the merit of the
idea. Unless a means of action is provided ,
people tend to shrug off appeals to do things .
people buy ideas from those we trust , we are
influenced by , or adopt only those opinions or
points of view put forward by individuals or
corporations or institutions in whom we have
confidence. Unless the listener has confidence
in the speaker he has not likely to listen or to
The situation must be
clear to us, not confusing. The thing we observe
, read, see, or hear, the thing which produces
our impressions, must be clear not subject to
several interpretations. To communicate you
must employ words, symbols, or stereo-types
that the receiver understands and comprehends.