Friday, November 23, 2012

A site you should know

This Friday, we're just letting you know about a monitoring site that public relations professionals utilize. BurrellesLuce creates and enhances products to help with the entire PR process. 

In a job interview, they make ask if you're knowledgeable with this site, or other monitoring sites. Make sure you're keeping yourself informed so if they ask you about it, you can wow them and show them you're passionate about your career. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What Thanksgiving dinner can teach you about communication

Originally featured through Public Relations Matters
Written by Barbara Nixon

As I sat there in the pre-dawn hours at my in-laws’ home in Biloxi, sipping my coffee in the dark, listening to nearly a dozen relatives snoring (mostly) quietly, I began to reflect on Thanksgiving and what it means to me. And inevitably, I started making connections between this traditional large family meal and my college classes. Why? I don’t know. But it popped into my head, so I went with it. I started thinking . . . what has Thanksgiving dinner taught me that has made me a better communicator? And this is what I came up with.

Turkey: The best turkey I ever had was a deep-fried one. Mmmm. But boy oh boy can deep frying a turkey be a dangerous task. In my classes, sometimes I like to walk on the edge a bit with our discussions. I must always remember to keep the metaphorical fire extinguisher nearby, just in case of explosions.

Cranberry Sauce: It doesn’t all need to be sweetness and light in my classes. I can be tangy/tart and get some points across even better. I just need to watch for my snark level getting too high.

Dressing / Stuffing: Just like some folks prefer stuffing (cooked inside the turkey) and others prefer dressing (cooked outside), my students have preferred learning styles. If I want them all to learn, I need to offer both.

Rolls: At our house, the rolls were often an afterthought. Sometimes we baked them halfway through the meal and served them almost at the end. Great teaching ideas sometimes crop up last minute, too.

Gravy: The first time I had Thanksgiving with my in-laws, I saw my soon-to-be mother-in-law making hard-boiled eggs. When I asked, “What are the eggs for?” she looked at me quizzically and said, “For the gravy, of course.” It was that day that I learned that some of my preconceived notions about how things should be done were way off base. The gravy — hard-boiled eggs, gizzards & all — was wonderful. Sometimes I need to add something a colleague suggests, something that may seem off-base to me at first, into my classes just to mix things up a bit.

Green Bean Casserole: Has there ever been a tastier, yet less attractive, side dish? Sometimes the methods I use in my class may seem a bit slopped together, but I promise there is a method behind the madness, and it will all come out “tasting” wonderful in the end.

“Uncle Oscar”: I think everyone has that one relative — we’ll call him Uncle Oscar here — who you invite to dinner knowing full well he will attempt to monopolize the dinner conversation.  Consider making placecards and assigning seats for dinner. Whoever had the pleasure of sitting near Uncle Oscar last year gets to sit at the opposite end of the table this year. And in class, when I have an Uncle Oscar — the student who feels compelled to answer EVERY question I ask — I do my best to ask questions in a way so that Uncle Oscar doesn’t get the opportunity to answer first, at least. For example, I may say, “Let’s hear from two or three people who went to high school outside of the state of Florida,” knowing full well that Uncle Oscar is a local boy. Or “Let’s hear from the last person to take his or her seat in class today.” And many times, I’ll have whoever has just answered a question choose who answers the next question. This helps us hear from more voices and learn from more points of view than just Uncle Oscar, no matter how smart or sweet he is.

Black Olives: As I was growing up, my mother would always open a can of black olives and leave it in the fridge before Thanksgiving dinner. It always brought us into the kitchen so we could snitch an olive or two while she was cooking. Similarly, I leave a basket of candy in my office at all times. (I’m not confident my students share my affinity for black olives!) Some of the best conversations I have with my students are when they just happen to pop by for a Fireball, Nerds or a Snickers bar.

Dessert: My favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is eating pie for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving. In my classes, I like starting with the fun stuff first, especially when the previous class (meal) was a bit on the heavy side.

Leftovers: With every Thanksgiving dinner, at least every Nixon one, comes leftovers. Lots and lots of leftovers. Well, we often have planned-overs (we cook extra of some of the food with intentions of having it for another meal later.) I frequently give students bite-size chunks of information on one day that I intend for them to repurpose another day in class. The key is getting them to remember the information from the previous day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Internship Corner: Chelsea Cummins

Senior public relations student Chelsea Cummins reflects on her summer with Judith Kelly + Associates.

My summer with Judith Kelly + Associates was everything I wanted and more. It provided me with amazing experience working in the fast paced environment I was looking for. As project coordinator, I was responsible for many tasks with multiple clients. In particular I worked with the Dignity & Respect Campaign, Hilltop Alliance, Steel City Improv Theater and the Design Center. 

My main responsibilities involved media relations, writing and social media. Toward the end of my summer I worked in event planning for a major breakfast through the D&R Campaign. All of my work reinforced my passion for public relations. I'm blessed to know this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. 

The best advice I can give to younger students is know what you want and go for your dreams. Playing it safe won't help you reach them. My two life goals were to work in a firm and move to Pittsburgh. After receiving the internship with JK+A, I had to find an apartment near the city, which was terrifying. But I went for it. 

People told me that it would be hard, and they were right, but it was worth it. Don't let the haters tell you something is too hard. If you want it, you can make it happen. It's your life. Never settle for something you only kind of want or people tell you is a good idea. 

This doesn't just apply for public relations. Anything you want. You're too young to play it safe.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

When you don't get the information you need.

We've all been there. Whether you're working for a client or helping someone by answering questions, at least one person probably failed to get you what you needed in a timely fashion. The worst part is we're only trying to help and they make it 10 times harder by taking too long to deliver the information. 

If that person is you, check yourself. 

Image via 99 Problems but a Pitch Ain't One

Monday, November 19, 2012

Welcome to break

It's official. We made it. 

Congratulations members. After a grueling semester, it's finally Thanksgiving break, also known as the first of the most magical times of the new school year. Sure, we still have three weeks of school left, including the daunting week of finals, but this week is a life saver.

By the time it arrives each year, we're burnt out. We're overworked. We're about to drop out to alleviate the stress. Without a fall break, we can barely function when November rolls around. But every year, just when we think we can't handle any more, break arrives. 

So be thankful this week. Be thankful for the home you returned to and the time away from school to recharge your batteries. And don't forget to be thankful that you're in college and dealing with all this stress. 

Yeah, we said it. And we mean it. So many don't have this magnificent opportunity you do. Sure, it can be terrible, but you're future is bright. Don't lose sight of that. You're accomplishing something great every day you think you can't take anymore, and we're proud of you. 

Keep being awesome, enjoy your break and be thankful for everything you have, the good and bad. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Internship Corner: Linzy Smith

This week's internship blog comes from Assistant Firm Director Linzy Smith, who served as an intern in marketing and public relations at Marietta Memorial Hospital:

From May 14, 2012 to Aug. 17, 2012, I interned in the marketing and public relations sector at Marietta Memorial Hospital (MMH) in Marietta, Ohio. Beginning my internship at MMH required a lot of basic, preliminary training and processes. Although I was only an intern for more than three months, I had to go through the same process as any other employee. I received shots and had a physical done. I was given several tours of the hospital to ensure I knew what I was writing about and also to familiarize me with the environment.

My responsibilities this week were all of which I was familiar with: writing, editing and interviewing. As a student at Waynesburg University, I have exhausted these skills in every public relations class. My daily duties involved the following: writing and production of brochures, press releases, fact sheets, information packets, as well as using Associated Press Style to edit, update and maintain the company websites, social media accounts and other electronically available media, as well as organizing, structuring and planning events. The two most significant tasks I worked on were the Belpre Open House and the internal marketing campaign. I was the event coordinator for the major opening of the medical campus twenty minutes away. Alongside all work, we were developing an internal campaign for the hospital employees.

Although I gained invaluable experience at the hospital, there were parts that I didn’t like as much. I would much rather be working directly with the public than sitting at a desk all day--I’m not someone who would be able to work an office job; however, I learned so much being there and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

My advice to any upcoming seniors is to narrow a focus in your major. This way, students will be able to find an internship that highlights those particular areas of interest rather than working broadly in marketing sectors that may not enhance their abilities. Overall, any internship provides a great experience that helps students learn what they want to do with their future and provides long-term, professional connections for the business world.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We're getting so close...

It's almost Thanksgiving Break! Which means it's almost time to celebrate.

Enjoy it, children.