A beginner’s guide to making the most of Night With the Pros

“Whenever and wherever you can, network.” Stephanie Mantegna, a PR professional, gave this advice to a room of excited students at last year’s Night With the Pros. As this year’s #NWTP approaches our Chapter, there are a few networking tips for beginners you should know to ensure you stand out from the crowd.

Often the beginning of a conversation is the most difficult, especially when approaching a professional. Have a question in mind to open up a dialogue after shaking their hand and introducing yourself. “Can you tell me more about what you do?” and “Where do you work?” are simple open-ended questions that bring up more conversation points. Remember to actually listen
to what they’re saying; don’t be too concerned with your next line that you stop paying attention.

Networking is not just about giving and getting information, or even about building a superficial contact list. Networking is about truly connecting with other people, learning more about them and about yourself. Don’t panic. These professionals all started out where you are right now and every one of them will be happy to help you.

IMG_4190To ease your mind ahead of time, there are many things you can do before the event that will give you an impressive edge on the rest of the crowd. Research the presenters ahead of time; Google their names and find their LinkedIn profiles, and follow them on Twitter. When you meet them later on, it would really stand out to mention a blog post or article they posted.

Practice your handshake with your friends ahead of time. Last year before #NWTP, I went around my floor in a hyper state of anxious excitement, shaking peoples’ hands and asking if my outfit was appropriate. It made me feel much more relaxed for the real thing. Plan your outfit ahead of time and feel free to ask any questions you have to the PRSSA Executive Board. As a general rule of thumb, if you have to ask if the skirt is appropriate, it isn’t.

Once you’ve conversed with the presenter and feel like you’d like to move on, some exit strategies to use are “May I have your business card?”or “What advice might you have for me?” This shows interest and professionalism and allows for more information for a follow-up if you truly connect. When you’re finished, shaking their hand and saying “It was great talking to you, thank you” is a perfect exit.

If Night With the Pros will be your first networking event of your college career, get excited! You are in for an inspiring night. The public relations speakers are always welcoming and happy to talk to passionate and excited young students. We are the future of the field, after all.  🙂

By: Julie Millisky

Julie Millisky is a UD-lovin’ sophomore with a passion for the environment, human rights, and public relations.  She is pursuing double majors in Interpersonal Communications and Public Policy. In addition to being an engaged member of PRSSA-UD, Julie is very involved in the Blue Hen Leadership Program and is a mentor for incoming freshman students. Connect with her on Twitter, @Julie_Millisky.

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General Meeting Round Up: What You Missed on 10/6

At last week’s general meeting on October 6, we discussed the PRSSA 2014 National Conference in Washington D.C. which was attended by representatives from our Chapter, including executive board and general members. At this conference, our e-board had the opportunity to meet and interact with their counterparts from other universities in different activities and workshops.

Before we were introduced to the speaker, the fall field trip was revealed! One of the perks of being a paying member is being able to go field trips that are related to communications and public relations. This past spring some very lucky PRSSA-UD members travelled to Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed is one of today’s hottest and most culturally relevant websites so this trip was truly a once and a lifetime opportunity. This semester, paying members will have the chance to go to iHeartMedia, the parent company of iHeartRadio, located in Wilmington, Delaware. The field trips and other opportunities PRSSA-UD provides leaves the potential for relationships to be formed that can lead to internships and careers after college. prssa1006

Monday’s speaker was Jim Delorenzo. Jim started doing PR work while he was a junior in high school in New Jersey. He would write reviews of his high school’s sport games and give them to his local town papers to run. At Villanova University, Delorenzo became involved with sports information and the athletic department and he began covering sports that he previously had no experience with. By the time graduation rolled along, he found himself with the opportunity of being the Direction of Sports Information at Villanova – where he remained for 11 more years.

In 1999, left Villanova and started his own business. Delorenzo continued to work with sports, but he began to expand his services. To date, Jim has worked the sport industry, entertainment industry, companies, and law firms too. During his presentation, the audience was given important tips and pointers including “you’re only as good as your last good deed”. In addition, Jim advised that when you take on a new client that it is important research your client and make sure that there is a target audience for them. In addition, Jim also pointed out that in order to have good PR, you must take responsibility of your actions.

As a pre-professional society, PRSSA-UD brings in speakers who are involved in different types of PR. Jim Delorenzo was a great guest speaker to have and he provided great insight for those who are interested in sports PR.

Make sure you continue to check out meetings so you don’t miss out on one of our great speakers!

By: Brett Blee

Brett Blee is a sophomore communication interest major and journalism minor. On campus, Brett is a member of PRSSA-UD and is a writer for Spoon University. She is also a sister of Kappa Alpha Theta. Follow her at @bblee13 for all things pop-culture and at @BrettBlee for all COMM/PR related matter.

Photo credit: Katerina Vlitas

New executive board spotlight: Historian, Elizabeth Coulbourn

Name: Elizabeth Coulbournbetsey
-Class Year: Senior
PRSSA E-Board Position: Historian
-Nickname: Betsey Boodle
– Favorite meal/foods: Breakfast–anything with eggs and sirracha.
– If you could meet anybody, who would it be? Janis Joplin.
– Dream career: To combine my love of public relations, government, policy, journalism, and Islamic studies. Working for a government agency is my dream. 
– Sibling(s): An older brother. 
– Pet(s): A dog named Lucy.
If you could travel anywhere: I would travel somewhere exotic and seclusive, anywhere off the beaten path.
Favorite place to study on campus: I love studying in Purnell.
Guilty pleasure: Two words: frozen yogurt.
– Weird habit: No idea (haha). I don’t think I have one!

From Captive to Pariah: Public Relations Lessons from the Coverage of Bowe Bergdahl

It had all the makings of great media story – an American soldier rescued from five years of terrorist captivity and returned home to his family and loved ones in a small Midwestern town. But as most Americans now know in the case of Bowe Bergdahl, the reality is not that simple. The feel-good story of the returning soldier morphed into a public relations nightmare.
The United States brokered a deal to exchange five Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl’s safe return on May 31. The seemingly simple exchange became tainted by details of Bergdahl’s prior military service. A Pentagon investigation concluded that Bergdahl walked away from his post shortly before his capture, and further reports allege that as many as six soldiers were killed in the search for Bergdahl. Finally, many view the trade as a departure from America’s policy to not negotiate with terrorists.
In creating messages for high-stakes issues, communicators need to address both established principles and uncomfortable allegations. Despite the controversy of Bergdahl’s actions, he was an American soldier and prisoner of war, and as such, the military was honor-bound to bring him home. The military will still try him for any crimes he committed as a soldier, but can only do so if he survived his captivity. Despite the disrepute brought by his actions, Bergdahl deserves a fair trial separate from the conditions of his release from the Taliban. These factors are time-honored codes of the U.S. government and military. Communicators cannot speak to negative details in the absence of established principles, and vice versa.

The media maelstrom over Bergdahl’s release also highlights the fickleness of media and political pundits. Several politicians tweeted out initial congratulatory messages about Bergdahl’s release, only to delete them within days – or hours – after a growing tide of criticism. Stakeholders and audiences can change sides quickly and without warning. Their decisions can depend heavily on factors external to the issue itself, such as the political environment. Two lessons can be learned here: review all the facts before establishing a hardline position, and don’t expect public attitude to remain static. Public relations professionals must constantly gauge public opinion and adjust strategies accordingly.


While politically complex stories such as that of Bowe Bergdahl offer no simple responses, PR professionals can maintain inclusive, consistent messages and monitor public attitudes. These communication methods have the potential to shape public discourse as much as the story itself.
Sources:
http://mashable.com/2014/06/03/republicans-delete-bowe-bergdahl-praise/

Maddie Brooks is a rising senior Mass Communication major with a minor in Public Health. She is a UD Social Media Ambassador and a member of PRSSA, Lori’s Hands, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Follow her on Twitter, @BlueHenMaddie and @Mbrooksinde.