Posted At: September 28, 2012 12:45 P.M.
by Jessica Colburn
When choosing a challenging game, one does not immediately think of Bingo — do you?
I decided I wanted to both challenge and test my PR skills by playing this game at my first Alabama Public Relations Society of America meeting.
To begin my challenge, I created a PRSA Bingo board by dividing my stakeholders and PR tasks up across the game card. I then eagerly awaited the first Tuesday of September for the monthly Alabama PRSA meeting.
That morning on the way to Birmingham, Ala., I briefly updated my Public Relations Student Society of America companions on my plan of action for the meeting. How would I complete the board before we left?
One thing I knew for sure was that I was going to have to be selfish if I wanted to take every opportunity that presented itself. It’s every man for himself in the real world, and that rule applies to networking, too.
I am proud to say I was successful in reaching my goal and completed a line of my Bingo board that day! Through my challenge, I learned a few tips and noted opportunities for having the best PRSA experience:
- Eat last. As a foodie, I understand this can be a challenge (especially when there is southern BBQ on the table!). However, I found that this was the best time to socialize and network with professionals. Whether waiting in line or sitting with them as they eat, I noted this was the best chance to meet someone new and have their full attention. At the beginning of the PRSA meeting, people are mingling and there are fewer opportunities, because most professionals are catching up with their colleagues.
- Don’t forget the editors. As you can see on my board, I left off a professional I was not expecting to be there — news editors! I met two Birmingham News editors while at PRSA. These are invaluable contacts to have throughout your career.
- Connect with fellow students, too. I was not expecting to meet so many recent graduates and current students at PRSA. Don’t forget these connections are just as important as the executive VPs in the room. They may be your future co-workers.
- Enjoy the session. One of my favorite parts of the PRSA luncheon was the APR pinning ceremony. A few Alabama PRSA professionals received their APR accreditation, and it was inspiring to watch them talk about their experience surrounded by their family and supporters. It helps to know we are all working toward a bigger goal, together — even as professionals.
- Follow through. Lastly, please don’t forget to send an email to each of your new connections. You may have won them over at PRSA, but they most likely won’t remember you tomorrow. A simple “thank you/it was nice to meet you” email will suffice, but wouldn’t it be better if you also offered your assistance? While at the meeting, I met a PRSA member who is helping to plan the Student Summit. He told me he was facing challenges with what type of events and sessions to create that would encourage attendees. I noted this on his business card and am now in dialogue with him about the conference, today!
Remember, a physical game board is not necessary, but strategy is essential to making the most out of your PRSA chapter meetings.