As part of our trip to San Francisco for the PRSSA National Conference, we were asked to present what we learned to other students in the our department that didn’t get to come on the trip with us. Because of my job, I haven’t been able to do that yet. However, I have had the chance to share my experience with more than 700 high school students all over Utah and part of Idaho.
This great photo of me–you can almost tell it’s me on the left–was posted on instagram by a student during one of my presentations
My favorite things to talk about when I am presenting at high schools–aside from the bacon club–are my experiences with PRSSA. I love seeing their eyes light up when I tell them about going to the national conference. A lot of the students I present to, much like myself in high school, have no idea that opportunities like this will be available to them. I always imagined college would be like what you see in the movies. All of the classes would be in giant auditoriums, the professors wouldn’t care who I was or what I was interested in and I would spend all of my time reading textbooks, writing papers or at crazy parties. Who would have thought there would be so much more to it than that?
This is a little video recap of some of my experiences in San Francisco at the PRSSANC
This year’s experience at the PRSSA National Conference was great. I don’t think that any amount of stories or pictures could fully explain the things that I was able to experience and learn, but I will certainly try!
When I went to the conference last year, I was brand new in the world of PR. I had just barely made the decision to switch majors and the only thing that I had ever learned about PR was in my COMM 2300 class I took at Snow College years and years ago. It was all a little bit intimidating! I had a great time though, and it did wonders to get me excited about my career.
This year, I felt much more prepared. I spent a lot of time researching all of the presenters and companies that were going to be there. I took time to create a personal brand, making matching business cards, resumes and blog. Most of all, I prepared myself mentally to absorb all kinds of great advice and to really put myself out there and network like crazy.
One of the most valuable parts of the trip for me personally was networking. From the first night I spent almost every chance I could get talking to students from other schools all over the country. I would start the day with a stack of my own business cards and end up with a stack of other people’s cards, it was great. One thing that occurred to me during the conference is that a few years down the road, these students that I am talking to are going to be the big names in the industry. They–hopefully we–will be the ones giving presentations at conferences like this. How awesome is it that I have the chance to build friendships with them now while we’re all just starting out!
Getting to know the PRSSA chapter from Belmont University in Tennessee
I found that this year, now that I have a lot more experience thanks to case studies and Bateman, I was able to relate to the things the presenters were talking about a lot better than last year. It all actually made sense and I was able to see how I can actually apply the things that I was learning.
On Sunday morning we had the chance to hear from Jeffrey Ory, president of Il Stratega, a full-service communication and marketing firm in New Orleans. His presentation was called “Creativity: Innovative Ideas Create Unforgettable Experiences.” He stressed the need to be able to think creatively, especially in the world of PR. In fact, he told us “creativity is the lifeblood of PR.”
One thing that has always worried me about working in a job that requires creativity is not being able to think of anything creative. To help us fight this problem, he gave us some great suggestions. One suggestion he gave us to help get get the creative juices flowing, was to get up and dance. He actually made everyone in the audience get up and dance.
So maybe we can’t dance well, but we can be creative!
He gave a few examples where a little bit of creativity has gone a long way to help out a company. One example of how a little creativity can help a very low budget campaign become extremely successful is a campaign called “The best job in the world.” This video shows what it is all about and how successful it was.
Another example he gave was also extremely creative, but had the help of a massive budget. As Jay-Z prepared to release his biography, he teamed up with BING. They printed each page of his biography all over the world, in locations that had something to do with what was on the page. This video will explain it all.
If you have ever been to Alcatraz or seen a movie about it, you will know how difficult it would be to escape. In fact, Alcatraz was created specifically for people that had broken some major rules it or tried to escape form other prisons.
If we’re not careful, we might find ourselves in our own prisons. Prisons that can be seemingly just as hard to escape as Alcatraz. I’m not talking about a physical prison of bars and cement–though that is always a possibility if you break the law. I’m referring to more of a mental prison.
There are all kinds of things that we do that can hold us back in life. If we were to spend the same amount of time practicing our writing skills as we do watching shows on Netflix, how much better would we be at writing?
Aside from doing the minimum amount of work possible to get through school, we often sell ourselves short and don’t allow ourselves to attempt great things. Many times in our pursuit for perfection, we stop ourselves from reaching our full potential because we are afraid to fail. In the PRSA general session with the co-founder of Twitter, Biz Stone, he told us that “in order to succeed spectacularly, you need to be willing to fail spectacularly.”
Opportunities can be manufactured. If there is something you are passionate about, go for it. Put your whole soul into it and you will find a way to be successful. Who knows, you could end up creating the next Twitter.
I’m kind of a nerd sometimes, I admit it. I love technology. I’m always excited to see what people will think of next, or how they will improve something that I already use everyday. When I heard that Google announced they were going to release their own social media platform, I got really excited. I waited impatiently. Watching everyday for a chance to get my invite to join during the beta stages–similar to a nerdy high school kid trying to hang out with the cheerleaders. I wanted to be cool.
Finally the day came when I got my invite and started setting up my account. It was pretty great. There were all kinds of great features that Facebook didn’t have, the interface was great, it worked well with all of my other Google accounts. The problem was, it’s hard to be social on a social media site that no one uses. So eventually as my excitement faded, I completely forgot that it even existed.
About a year later, I decided to dust off my old account and give it another shot. This time it was a little better, I had several friends using it now and it looked great. However, it seemed as though everyone was posting the same things that they were on Facebook, so it became just another site to check. I once again lost interest pretty quickly.
Our keynote speaker on Saturday morning was Timothy Jordan, a senior developer advocate for Google. His address seemed to be more of a sales pitch than anything, but it did make me think about starting to use it again. There are some pretty great features it has to offer that Facebook doesn’t have such as hangouts and circles.
It does make a lot of sense to be able to easily choose who you want to share certain posts with. You can do this on Facebook as well, it’s just a lot more complicated. They also have an amazing mobile app, if you haven’t used it yet check it out. It will be a treat to your eyes and your fingers. This will be really important to them, because as he told us “for every child born in the world, there are three smartphones activated.” Crazy stuff eh?
Google+ For iPhone
All of features and a whole bunch that I haven’t listed are great, but is it enough to convince the masses to switch from Facebook? Or even simply start using it regularly along with all of the other services that we have become so attached to?
One of the best parts of these conferences is being able to network with students from all around the country. To add to that, there were a LOT more women than men. In one of my sessions I counted 56 women, and 13 men–I like those odds.
It was a great chance for me to put my newly designed and printed business cards to work. On friday night we had our opening night celebration, which was basically just a big dance party. Since I’m not much of a dancer, I spent most of the night walking around getting to know people from schools all over the country. We exchanged cards, talked about what we’re doing in school and what we want to do in the future. Hopefully I can keep in contact with them all and create some great connections for the future.