PRSA Orlando: Professional Development Summit

by Monique Trevett, UCF student 

PRSA Orlando held its annual Professional Development Summit on November 30, 2018 at Rosen Shingle Creek. The event consisted of a keynote speaker and three breakout sessions that were lined up with enthusiastic panelists. 

The day started with a keynote address by Moira Vetter, who spoke about the importance of entrepreneurial storytelling. Her presentation highlighted the characteristics that set apart entrepreneurs from regular people and how many entrepreneurs have helped to shape the society we live in today. Many entrepreneurs aren’t communications savvy, so they need individuals in public relations to help tell and sell their story. A unique trait that sets entrepreneurs apart from others is their never-ending fighting spirit when facing failure head on. One of the best takeaways of the presentation was how non-entrepreneurs can use their PR skills to help an entrepreneur grow. Moira’s storytelling skills were masterful, as she was able to clearly paint the picture of her presentation in her words. Her presentation truly captured the audiences’ attention. 

After the keynote address, many of the attendees were able to break out into three different sessions. One of the sessions I found extremely helpful was the “Always in a Hurry” session. This session broke down the importance of proofing and editing in PR as well as in other areas of the workforce. One key takeaway was to always fact check pieces. Many writers misspell names, which are key components to stories. A person’s name is the sweetest sound they will ever hear, and messing that up will ruin a story no matter how insightful it may be. One of the things I used to do when writing was always inserting quotes. The panel taught me to keep facts out of quotes and that they should include something profound or personal about the person it’s attributed to. Another important point that was brought up is that people don’t speak the way things are written. In order to keep things personal, one has to get to know the person they’re writing about. 

The other breakout session I attended and found interesting was “Owning Your Content.”  The session was quite insightful and focused on the importance of style and persona when it comes to PR. One of the ice breakers during the session included a mock brand, where someone had to make up a brand and try to create its messaging. A great example used in the presentation was Wendy’s on Twitter. Wendy’s was highly successful in its sassy snaps back towards other fast food chains, and it got the people going. Many individuals related to Wendy’s because they were able to speak to the minds of what they were actually thinking.  Not only was it enlightening, it was also one of the best moves for Wendy’s. It took the company out of Wendy’s and made it a person. One thing about the session I learned is you have to be willing to take risks. Wendy’s had a 50/50 shot regarding whether or not the tactic would work, but the company was willing to place all its eggs in one basket and was willing to try new things.

As a junior in college, I found the presentation to be very inspiring. I may not be majoring in public relations, but as a mass communications student, it was very helpful. Not only do I feel more educated on the matter, I feel more confident I will be able to utilize what I learned from the experience in any job field. 

 

Did you know? Maintain Your Accreditation By Writing a PRSA Orlando Blog Post

Every three years, accredited professionals must maintain their credential and commitment to the sound and ethical practice of public relations. One of the ways you can reach your maintenance goals is by publishing on the topic of public relations, including a blog post on our PRSA Orlando website.

APRs will receive 2 points for each well-thought article, op-ed, book review, blog post, podcast, or video published in a public relations journal, magazine, newspaper, newsletter, in print or electronic format.

Learn more here on how to maintain your accreditation. http://www.praccreditation.org/maintain/

We Should Bungee Jump out of a Helicopter like Will Smith

by Wendy J. Roundtree

As if jumping off a cliff attached to a large elastic rope wasn’t risky enough, Will Smith decided to celebrate his 50th birthday by bungee jumping out of a helicopter. Yes, you read that right.

His jump was an answer to a challenge made by founders of the YouTube channel Yes Theory, who believe life can be authentic and fulfilling if you seek discomfort. Let me be the first to say that even though I was nowhere near the Grand Canyon when Smith jumped, I was 100 percent uncomfortable.

By now, you’ve probably guessed that the title of this blog is clearly a hyperbole. I will not, nor do I recommend that you heli-bungee jump (unless your heart desires). But in all seriousness, I do believe there’s something that public relations professionals can learn from Smith’s daring birthday celebration.

First: step outside of your comfort zone.

As PR practitioners, while we maintain many principles that serve as the foundation for our industry (i.e., advocacy, honesty, ethics, etc.), we can’t deny the role technology plays in how our audiences disseminate and receive information.

Take for instance, Will Smith and his jump. He not only accepted the challenge of YouTubers, he chose the non-traditional route, which racked up more than 16 millions views by streaming it live on said platform.

What does this have to do with PR?

Many of us are comfortable with traditional media. We may have even mastered the art of working with bloggers and influencers. But with Will Smith bringing vlogging to Hollywood, we continue to see more people taking hold of their content and sharing it on their own terms. It’s not always easy to adapt to changes in technology, particularly for larger organizations, but since when has innovation been related to the status quo?

The next lesson I believe we can all learn is to lead with authenticity.

Yes Theory’s mission and Will Smith’s recent entry into the vlogging sphere was a match made in heaven. And the eventual hour or so long production of “Will Smith: The Jump” was produced like any other of Smith’s video … with higher stakes involved, of course. We watched his excitement, his fear and finally his elation. In his own words, the experience was like going “from pure terror to absolute bliss.”

Our audiences can tell when we’re trying to do something that doesn’t fit our organization’s personality. Everyone can’t be as straightforward as Gary Vee, or as socially conscious as Google, or as witty as Wendy’s (the restaurant, not me).

At the end of the day, it’s up to us as communicators to help our organizations/clients navigate the ever-changing technological landscape ― while also helping them maintain a true representation of their corporate identity.

Does that mean you need to bungee jump out of a helicopter and stream it live? No.

But it is worth watching if you haven’t seen it yet.