By Becky Kazenoff
Obtaining the role as the meetings director for PRSSA was exciting but nerve-wracking at the same time. I have the responsibility of communicating with potential speakers for our meetings, with all of my work in the spotlight for those to see. This can amount to putting some pressure on myself because I have to make sure I am communicating with these professionals effectively, while assuring I am finding the most enticing and interesting ones. Member satisfaction has also proved itself to be a huge factor in evaluating my success in the position. Though the speakers have yet to be presented to the rest of the organization, the responses from my fellow executive members have been the recognition I needed to prove I can secure gravitating speakers. Along with customer/member satisfaction being very important in PR, so is building meaningful connections. With that being said, there are a few things I’ve learned along the way when it comes to contacting prominent and high-profile professionals.
- When in doubt, go by the safe title. Ms. and Mr. are always a safe bet when it comes to initially addressing a professional. When they reply, you can then see how they label themselves at the bottom of their email and use that for future reference.
- “Please” and “thank you” are always appreciated. For example, instead of “let me know if that works,” saying “please let me know” is a more mannerly alternative that doesn’t go unnoticed.
- Make a subject for your emails. A lot of professionals’ inboxes are flooded with emails and if you don’t have a clear and concise subject line it could go straight to junk mail.
- Communication is key. You’re better off saying “sounds good” then no reply at all. Let that person know you read their last email.
- Proofread! This is so important. If you’re anything like me, it’s been ingrained into your head that attention to detail in the PR world is pertinent.
- Try to only send emails during “work hours.” I recommend sending the initial email at the start of the day, opposed to the late evening. This way your email won’t get lost under the bulk of other people who will be emailing the recipient the following morning. Plus, it’s a small chance whoever you’re reaching out to will reply that night, so you’re better off reaching out when you know you can get a reply before they unplug for the day.
Follow-up if you haven’t received an answer from your recipient in a few working days. I recommend starting your follow-up after the weekend where you can introduce it by saying something like, “I hope you had a great weekend! I am just checking in with you via my last email about xyz…..” This should also be a reply from your last unanswered