Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pointers from the Pros: Take Aways from PRSA Dallas' Pro-Am Day

On Friday, March 14, the Dallas chapter of PRSA hosted its annual Pro-Am Day to connect students with experienced public relations professionals through a shadowing opportunity followed by an educational luncheon program.
Students were paired with an experienced practitioner during the morning to gain valuable public relations insight and establish networking contacts in this unique mentoring opportunity.

I spent my morning at HCK2 Partners. Upon arrival, I was given a tour of the office. I liked seeing a different type of agency environment. HCK2 had a relaxed atmosphere with bean bag chairs and white boards that I thought was different and cool.  I then was shown how a morning is spent in the office. It was interesting to be able to compare what they do to what I do in my current internship at C. Pharr & Co.

The second portion of the day was spent at Seasons 52 for a luncheon and panel with experienced PR professionals and PRSA Dallas members. This allowed for another networking opportunity between all of the mentors and students. The panel consisted of Amanda Lam, Lauren Butler, and John Hoffmann. They answered questions and told about their experiences in the field. All three professionals had great advice.

This year was my first time attending Pro-Am Day and throughout the day I received a lot valuable takeaways.  Here are the five most important lessons I walked away with:

1. You cannot fully learn public relations in a classroom: Working in the field of public relations requires more than sitting and listening in a classroom. You cannot fully apply the things you learn in class until you get hands-on experience with an internship. Having at least one internship before graduation is important. 

2.  The most curious people are the best at public relations: Curiosity is needed to be successful in public relations. Interest in the world around you is what separates good from great. This is why listening to the news and knowing current events is so important for public relations professionals. 

3.  Be a great writer and not just for social media: Writing is a big part of public relations. Even though social media has become popular, it is just as important to know how to properly construct an e-mail and to be a good storyteller.

4. Understand human behavior: Building relationships with clients is based off understanding human behavior. Taking a psychology class and people watching can be helpful when pursuing a career in public relations.

5.  Know a little about a lot of things and a lot about one thing: This had to be my favorite take-away of the day. Everyone has a topic that excites them the most and they dream of pursuing, but this cannot be the only thing you know and understand. Be an expert on that one topic, but immerse yourself in the world around you to know about many other things too.

PRSA Dallas’ Pro-Am Day was definitely a success! I recommend all students to take a part in this experience next spring.

 This post contributed by Stephanie Gentile,

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