PRSA Coffee Break Idea Swap

We held our first Coffee Break Idea Swap on Thursday, April 23. There were about 20 members who joined the virtual meeting and we covered a number of topics. Here’s a recap of what we discussed.

Media Interviews/Press Conference Tips: 

  • When using Zoom or other video conferencing for a press conference or large group, begin the meeting with everyone on mute and have them send questions through chat. You can call on people and unmute them for question/discussion. It’s helpful to have someone moderate the chat to point out things to the moderator (via text or whatever is efficient) that he/she may miss due to hosting. 
  • Facebook Live is a great tool for interacting with audiences. 

Translation of Important Information: 

  • Remember to translate, especially during a crisis. It’s important to communicate in all of the languages of your audience. 

Video Chat Tips:

  • Camera/Blocking: Make sure the lens is as close to eye level as possible. Background should be relevant or interesting, but not distracting. 
  • Lighting: Have light on the subject’s face, not the back. Can be window light or lamp (but don’t sit in front of a window). Light on the eyes is important in how the subject will be viewed. 
  • Mic: use a mic, can be a headset, or your headphones from iphone, just don’t broadcast from the laptop. 
  • Remember to speak to the camera rather than the screen.

Making a Quick Video for Social? Here Are Some Free Tools: 

  • Adobe Spark and Camtasia

Event Cancelations: 

  • Many are moving events to the fall, October/November, but even still there is no definitive point when we can be certain that it is safe or people will feel comfortable with large crowds. 
  • As we plan for events in late summer or fall, many are looking at physical changes that may need to be made to accommodate social distancing measures or consider virtual options. 

Work From Home Tips: 

Decompress at the end of the day – step away from your work station –here are some ideas that were shared: 

  • Take a walk to clear your mind and get fresh air.
  • Enjoy some afternoon tea or coffee break. 
  • Change your view and work on your patio if you can. 
  • Go outside to play with your dog.
  • Put on your calendar the things you are doing that takes you away from work, like schedule your yoga, etc. With WFH, everyone thinks you’re always available. 
  • Cooking can be therapeutic and a nice way to take a break from work. 
  • Take shifts with your spouse with the kids.
  • Make a schedule for the kids (and yourself too).
  • Remind yourself and your team that you still need to take vacation time, even if you have nowhere to go. You need to find opportunities to break away.

Communicating/Handling Email While Working From Home: 

  • Email Management – email is out of control for some of us. While you may just want to delete a lot of them, many offices have moved to tools (chat and project management) for quick questions and conversations: Slack, Trello, Microsoft Teams (internal communications), and Wrike. 
  • One participant says she prefers Slack over email to communicate with organizations and welcomes Microsoft Teams over more email. 
  • Look for unique ways to reach out to people as email may not be the best way to reach people right now.
  • is easy to tag people with tasks and keep projects separated. One participant said she uses it for freelance clients and projects and it cuts down on email. 

Communicating with Compassion and Standing Out from the Clutter During a Pandemic: 

  • Produce thought leadership content to break through the clutter. 
  • Host Virtual Roundtables for our clients with others in their industry so they can discuss best practices with peers. 
  • Remember that client/brand contacts are human beings, too. Don’t make every communication about work. Check on how they and their families are doing.
  • Consider video requests or send fun e-cards. 
  • Bring clients together and facilitate the conversation as we talk to a variety of organizations and hear more than they may be hearing. 
  • Omni Productions (Orlando) will be offering a free recording session in their studios during the month of May for Central Florida organizations as their way of giving back to the community.

Going Back to Work (in the office)—What are your companies planning at this time? 

While there are still a lot of unknowns about when or how we are going back to work, here’s what some shared: 

  • Be part of the conversation about bringing employees back to work to ensure we are helping communicate concerns and processes. 
  • Going “back to work” will be very gradual and different depending on the organization. Many are looking at what changes will need to be done in the office environment and how many people will be in the office at one time. 
  • Properties are looking at downsizing scenarios as many companies may choose to keep employees remote as it saves money for less office space and is good for the environment. 
  • On the flip side, some employees will want to go back to the office as many extroverts thrive in that environment. 
  • For all the advances in technology we’ve made and by becoming more accepting of WFH, in-person communication is still so important. Though our new world will be much different in the coming months, a return to in-person engagement will be important.