In October, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to our nation’s capital. It wasn’t for pleasure but I did have a blast. I traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the 2014 Public Relations Student Society of America National Conference. The site seeing was absolutely amazing and getting to relearn some of our nation’s history was enlightening. Through the five days of various student development sessions, networking opportunities, and breakout sessions, I learned a large handful of things.
Here my top 10 takeaways from the conference. (In no particular order)
- Say “Hello”
Being all by myself in a place that I’ve never been to was scary yet liberating. If I wanted to be around people during our evenings out, I had to actively meet people and establish relationships. Don’t just stay in one place, get out and say “hello” to a stranger every once in a while. You never know who you’ll meet.
- Peers can be mentors
Having a mentor is almost essential to the way our society works. There’s just something about getting to know someone who was once in your shoes. Professionals are good to have but peers were also once in your place. They know what you’re going through differently than a professional may because they were there very recently. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone only a few years older than you.
- It’s the Era of Engagement
Keynote speaker and President of Powell Tate, Pam Jenkins, believes now is our time to do stuff. “We have to do something because we have the skills to make a difference,” says Jenkins. The engagement means that people no longer turn to experts when they need something. They turn towards the people. Be the people who lead others towards good.
- Develop your skills, but understand your weaknesses
We can’t all be graphic designers, video editors, copy editors, social media gurus, etc. Take a minute ant think about what you do well. Develop those skills even more! If you can’t do everything then you might as well be good at what you can do. And at the very least, respect and understand the people who are good at your weaknesses.
- Teachers are right!
The relationship between public relations practitioners and journalists is built on trust. Teachers tell you that the relationship is built on trust and a good relationship and they are absolutely right. During a breakaway session, I learned that a lot happens off the record so you have to truly develop those relationship to get to that point. Understand that everyone has a boss breathing down their necks and definitely respect everyone.
- You’re making your connections now
The people that I’ve met at the conference and the people I’m meeting in classes now are going to be my coworkers, bosses, and employees years later. People are so concerned having networking events but not many realize that getting to know classmates is hugely important.
- Three Bone Approach
To succeed, three bones are necessary. A funny bone. A back bone. A wish bone.
- Life is like gym class
You fail if you don’t show up but if you do then you at least get a “B”. Go to events. Go to PRSSA. Even go to PRSA events and meetings. Get involved and you’ll be just fine.
- Agency versus Corporation
Both are every good options. Weigh the possibilities for both. Take a look at your personality type as well and see which works best for yourself. Think about the environment you really want to in.
- Move people towards action
Simply telling people how things are isn’t going to get them moving. We have to move people from awareness to action. Speaking of which, comment below with any recent takeaways that you have learned from a conference, networking opportunity, or class. You can even comment with what you want to learn from PRSSA throughout our meetings next semester!
If you want any more information on the National Conference or even upcoming National Assembly or Regional Conference then don’t hesitate to take action and email me!