PRofound PeppeR

      47 Comments on PRofound PeppeR

There are moments when every teacher wonders whether he or she is getting through to the students. We think: Do they hear what I’m saying? Do my words convince them of the point I’m trying to make? Do my real-world stories resonate?

65 students attended the March 2 PRSSA conference

65 students attended the March 2 PRSSA conference

I thought about this as I sat through a wonderful public relations conference staged by Hofstra’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter on Saturday. “Picture Perfect PR: Framing in the Digital Age” featured several superb professionals, each talking to a specific topic. PRSSA hosted Robert Zimmerman and David Chauvin of Zimmerman/Edelson, Michael Lamp of Hunter PR, Ray Dempsey of BP America, Tanya Rynders of M Booth, Stephanie Meyerling of Kellen Communications, Glenn Goldberg of Parallel Communications and several alumni. Each peppered their presentations with tales and anecdotes of their real-world experiences–and the 65 student attendees seemed fully engaged and interested in their stories.  Hearing PR war stories and expert advice from professionals often tend to have a more profound effect on students than a regular classroom lecture.

That to me is interesting, because when I think about my faculty colleagues, I count at least 250 years of real-world public relations experience.  All of us starting teaching after years of professional PR work, and most adjuncts are still in the trenches full-time.  We, too, pepper our presentations with our own true experiences.  A conference often becomes confirmation of what students have heard in the classroom, and its presenters add depth and application to what we teach.

So thanks to all our speakers and alumni, and kudos to the PRSSA board and committees that put this conference together.  It was a terrific event.  And for the students who participated, I hope you learned that while we each come to this from different perspectives, PR practitioners and faculty share very similar experiences.  We truly hope that all of our advice and stories resonate.  Your thoughts?

47 thoughts on “PRofound PeppeR

  1. Erica Barnes

    Personal anecdotes are always a great addition to a classroom lecture. In addition to adding a little spice to the norm, they give students examples of real life situations that could potentially occur in the workplace.

    Reply
  2. Jeremy Beck

    I think it’s important to share anecdotes and real life situations when trying to teach about anything. I personally believe that most things are learned through experience and hands on activities and if they are limited in the classroom it is always important to transmit them so we can learn them as a vicarious experience situation.

    Reply
  3. Helen Masha

    I thought that the conference was very interesting and I enjoyed how there were many different stories and perspectives on different areas of PR. I was hesitant to go at first because of the length but was pleasantly surprised at how interesting the speakers had to say and was very thankful they made time to come speak with us. I also enjoyed that we were able to talk with Hofstra alums and ask questions. It was comforting to see people that came from the same position having a successful career. I am very grateful for the whole conference.

    Reply
  4. LucieSorel

    From a first year PR perspective, the lectures on saturday were difficult to relate to being as that I have never done an internship or even set foot in a PR office. I couldn’t fully relate to the speakers stories. However, I did find what each speaker and alumni said to be interesting. Sitting in a classroom and learning the basics of putting together a press release or pitch can sometimes seem tenuous. When you are a student, you can not fathom how you will actually apply what you learn in class to a real life job. Speaking to the alumni proved that there is an exciting world of PR outside of the classroom and it is very important to take what you learned in college with you to your first job. Some of the alumni said that they were challenged in their first internships and also took away a lot from these experiences. This showed me that you do not stop learning in college and you continue to gather useful knowledge throughout the process of finding a job. The speakers made me a little nervous about what is in store but I also have a lot of time since I am only a sophomore. I took away a lot from Saturdays event and I definitely want to be a member of PRSSA next year.

    Reply
  5. kerrischreiber

    Personal experience is a great addition to learning because it helps us make connections. Once we can connect what the speakers are saying to something that we remember from class, that is when we are truly aware of what we are learning and how we can use what we learn in the future. Learning definitions and how to write press releases, talk to the public, etc. is insignificant unless we can hear stories on how these tasks are performed in real world situations.

    Reply
  6. Diane R

    I really enjoyed the PRSSA conference on Saturday and learned a lot from the speakers. I was able to learn about several different kinds of PR, which made me excited to start my career in public relations very soon! I think it is beneficial for students to hear speakers and our professor’s personal experiences because it allows us to get a better idea of the real world. I also find that I always remember their stories and can relate to them when I face similar experiences.

    Reply
  7. Kristen Kelly

    I personally love when professors add in personal work experiences to their lectures. It makes them more relatable. Knowing what truly happens in a profession you’re looking to go into prepares you whats coming and what to expect. I tend to pay more attention when a professor relates classes to real life, and not just lecturing off a powerpoint or from a text book.

    Reply
  8. miabrienne

    Unfortunately, I had to work and was unable to make the conference. But I still felt that I was able to relate to this article. To me, personal experience is what I really take to heart. Being taught is one thing, but even from my internship now, there is nothing quite like being thrown into the field and experiencing it. That is why I love talking to Professors, alumni, friends, anyone I could get first hand encounters from because that advice nine out of ten times is more useful to me then a lecture. This isn’t to say that classes should all just be “tell all” sessions from our Professors, learning is a key ingredient to success as well, but I definitely appreciate personal stories every now and then.

    Reply
  9. shirley

    I had a wonderful (and stressful) time planning this event with my fellow e-board members! Glad everyone enjoyed it!

    Reply
  10. Alex Packer

    I agree with Nicole that students are often distracted worrying about what is pertinent to their next assignment and what is not, allowing a lot of valuable lecture information to fall by the wayside. I feel that this is all about context. Class discussions, even those will real-world applications are often used within the context of the textbook or the next big paper, so that is how the information gets filed within our minds. The abnormal experience of waking up early on Saturday, getting dressed-up, and meeting with industry experts (without any extensive follow-up assignments looming, of course) seems to be more within the context of “how to become a true PR professional”. Obviously, that is what a student such as myself should be thinking each time I walk into class, but after sixteen years of being a full time student my motivations have shifted more towards the “real-world” applications of my knowledge, even more so after attending the conference (which I enjoyed thoroughly).

    Reply
  11. Alex Hyman

    As a jouralism major, I had some thoughts about going to this conference and thought that it was not going to be very prevalent to me. However, it really showed me how similar these two fields are and how they need to work together for each of them to do their jobs successfully. I also hear from my journalism professors how important it is to gain relationships with PR representatives and this conference was saying the same thing, just from the PR point of view. It was nice to hear how PR people work on a daily basis.

    Reply
  12. Nicole Botsaris

    I think students tend to forget the fact that most of our PR professors have background in the industry and have worked at top firms. I think this is because we have tests and exams and papers and the idea of “school” often overrules any other aspect we get from our classroom lectures. Personally, I think I take away more from the lectures we received at the PRSSA conference simply because of that fact. It’s an unfortunate fact for me to admit but it is true! I enjoyed the conference on Saturday, and think we had a great turnout and think that this event will really take off in the years to come.

    Reply
  13. Kneekiki

    I enjoyed the PRSSA conference this Saturday. The speakers were wonderful and very relaxed when they were speaking to us. I enjoyed the speakers stories of their own experiences in the PR world. I felt the stories gave more insight into what myself and others will come across in our careers. Overall I think the conference had a big turnout and was worthwhile for the students as well as the speakers.

    Reply
  14. alexis gionesi

    I really enjoyed Sunday and felt I really learned a lot. The professionals were very informative and I really enjoyed learning about their experiences. I was extremely nervous, but talking to the alumni was great. They really told all about their experiences and were all very helpful and friendly.

    Reply
  15. Lola Odejobi

    I enjoyed myself at the PRSSA conference on Saturday. Even though I’m a Journalist major, I learned a lot about the PR world. One of the alumni, I forgot her name, but she was really sweet. She talked to us about her experiences with working in entertainment. She gave us great advice about what to do before we graduate from Hofstra. She advised us to start applying for jobs before graduating and save some of your school assignments to show potential employers. I enjoyed the Social Media and the Crisis presentations as well. Who knows? If Journalism doesn’t work out for me, I might be interested in a career in PR.

    Reply
  16. davery1

    I enjoyed attending the PRSSA meeting last weekend. I thought it was a great experience to learn about PR. The meeting was very informational and showed me a perspetive of what being a PR professional is all about. What i liked the most was being able to engage with these professionals and get to see how they handle certain situations that may arise in the business.

    Reply
  17. Amanda Daley

    I always appreciate when professionals take time out of their day to come and speak with students. It is also extremely helpful when professors and speakers use real world situations and experiences as examples. I think students will always take more from a class, a lecture, or even a conference when given hands-on real world experience.

    Reply
  18. Kellianne

    Thank you to Hofstra PRSSA and yourself for putting on such a great conference. My favorite speakers were David Chauvin and Robert Zimmerman from Zimmerman/Edelson. I loved the character they had which is why I found it so interesting. I sat right in the front and tried to get engaged with the speakers. I loved how they didn’t just read off a PowerPoint presentation because that tends to get boring. Their presentation was the least from boring! I wish that their session was longer because they made it so interesting. I think that it was such a great way to bring what we learn in the classroom to a real life experience and see what other PR professionals have experienced as well. Michael Lamp was also very interesting because he had us engage with texting him our opinions which I thought was SO cool. Overall, great conference!! If I would suggest anything for the future, I would say to make the lunch shorter which would shorten the day up as well so it’s not such a long event.

    Reply
  19. Andrea Rebello

    Unfortunately I could not attend the conference because my work schedule interfered with the event, however some of my friends attended and I heard nothing but positive things. I think it is essential for professors to include real life stories and share their PR experiences with their students because we none of us know what it’s really like out there in the “real world.” Personally, I enjoy when my professors share their stories and I think it’s a great teaching method.

    Reply
  20. Carrie Walker

    I was very happy about my decision to attend the PRSSA conference. I met very great people who really just made me even more excited to pursue a career in public relations. After I attended all of the sessions at the conference I learned a lot different routes I can take within PR. This conference really reinforced everything that we have learned in school and conveyed them in the real world. These real examples have only helped me better understand PR and realize the communications business. I for one am quite happy that I attended the conference and consider it a very valuable experience.

    Reply
  21. Ian Poulos

    I think what makes a conference especially exciting to students is that there are many different perspectives and experiences confined to a relatively brief period of time. I always find class lectures interesting, but the thought of hearing and having access to numerous trained professionals at the same time excites me. Perhaps it is odd, but I enjoy networking.

    I really enjoyed the conference, and I found the experience to be extremely beneficial. At the end of the day, I got a taste of multiple different kinds of PR which I did not know very much about.

    Reply
  22. christineneumann

    I thought the PR conference was an amazing event. All the speakers were very informative and all brought something different to the table for students to learn from. I thought it was very interesting to hear about things from the PR point of view, especially coming from my journalism background. It was nothing too different as I was expecting, but it was nice to learn about another part of the communications industry. I did think it was interesting how “the media” was talked about during the crises communication session. Shows like Dr. Oz are not news show, while they are supposed to be based in fact, they essentially exist for entertainment. News shows, while currently have elements of entertainment, exist to provide news and facts. Its this distinction that leads to the publics not always favorable opinion about “the media”. I think this is a conversation that people forget to have sometimes, but since we’re all on the same team, its important that we all know the difference so we know how to report and help.

    Reply
  23. aunaturalenyc

    As part of the e-board, I am very happy with how the conference turned out! The speakers were amazing, and I definitely learned a lot myself. I have been thinking about possibly trying out travel PR, and the speakers only solidified that thought. I am very excited to get ready to plan next year’s!

    Reply
  24. Jenny Rowe

    I really enjoyed the conference and I liked hearing more about how what we are learning now will apply in the real world from professionals who have been through it all. Overall it was a great experience!

    Reply
  25. aalvey

    Firstly, the conference was fantastic. Kudos to everyone who took the time and effort to make it just such. I think that these kinds of events have more of an impact on us as students because there is no pressure of the assignment to keep us from actually learning the material. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but I think it has some substance to it. In class, students are just concerned with getting the assignment done in order to get the A. While we are retaining the information, it’s still difficult to actually take learning to the next level when we’re so stressed about getting the A. This is just my opinion on why the conference seemed to be better received.

    Reply
  26. Alyssa Ciardullo

    While I unfortunately was unable to attend the conference on Saturday, I agree with this blog posting. I am much more interested in learning, and also learn a lot more, when I am hearing about someones personal experience and when I can apply what I am hearing to my own life.

    Reply
  27. stevenpmorin

    I enjoyed this Saturday’s conference despite not being a Public Relations major. A Marketing student of the business school, I got a lot out of the presentations on social media and marketing with colorful and inventive methods. Specifically, Michael Lamp’s breakdown of 10 of the most-frequented social media websites was insightful in both what was presented and how it was presented (an interactive polling system kept everyone focused on his presentation).

    Reply
  28. Brenna Harran

    Being a PR major, I really enjoyed the PRSSA conference this past Saturday. Hearing from all different types of professionals in that type of setting, not just sitting in class, really helped me understand some aspects of the job. The speakers knew what they were talking about and had a lot of great experience to share. In particular Michael Lamp from Hunter PR was my favorite speaker. Learning about social media, which is something I use daily, really was an interest to me. I look forward to next years conference.

    Reply
  29. Hunter F. (@kristintellsall)

    As a Public Relations major I always find advice, critiques and stories to be more beneficial through those who have done it before. My favorite part about the conference was the alumnae lunch. Hearing from people who went through my current path barely a year ago creates and engaging and meaningful conversation. I had a great day through guest speakers and found that I took a little bit of something from them all. Although some were more engaging than others each one was impactful in someway. Go PRSSA, you did a great job!

    Reply
  30. Shurida Lundi

    The PRSSA Conference was honestly one of the best things I have been to and I am so glad I went. I realize that I have to do a lot more networking and getting my name out there and building a brand for myself. Zimmerman made the point of saying you never really know who will be in the position to potentially give you a job. I’m nervous for the future but the possibilities are endless. I have to just keep sending out my resume and striving to succeed.

    Reply
  31. gionnacerniglia

    I learned so much from the PRSSA Conference this past Saturday! It was a great experience talking to PR Professionals and past Hofstra alumni. They gave excellent tips on how to connect, networking, and shared their own experiences from working in the PR profession. The staff, students and PR professionals were all so friendly and welcoming. I am so happy I had the chance to attend the conference this year and will most definitely again next year!

    Reply
  32. Kelly Schnitzer

    If a professor is compelling, students eat up what they have to say. Conversely, if a professor is dull and seems to lack knowledge pertaining to the topic up for discussion, students lose interest very quickly (and the professor may never gain that interest back). Everyone that’s ever had you as a professor raves about you (just check your score on ratemyprofessor)! Thus far, all of your lessons have a relevant point; every assignment we’ve done is applicable to what will be expected of us as PR professionals. The same can be said for most of the PR professor at Hofstra.

    On another note, I think that conferences are extremely helpful to students because they get to see real-life professionals in action—it’s exciting! I think a lot of students tend to forget that their professors were once practicing PR professionals (almost comparable to the notion elementary aged children have that their teachers live at school).

    Reply
  33. Marissa Dombkowski

    I had a wonderful time at the conference this Saturday. For me, I feel that the best knowledge I gain is when hearing about someone’s personal experience. I take the best values away from these stories as they provide insight that cannot be learned in a textbook. For example, I loved hearing about Robert Zimmerman’s story dealing with a girl he met at the train station and refused to help him figure out the parking information, only to discover that she would later be going to Zimmerman/Edelson for a job interview. Little anecdotes like this can provide someone with tips that might not ever be mentioned in text.

    Reply
  34. Erica Mann

    I had a wonderful time at the conference. I felt that the speakers gave advice that not only applied to PR but also the work force in general. I am a PR minor and going to the conference Saturday showed me that Public Relations will definitely compliment my major (Film Studies and Production.) Thank you!

    Reply
  35. EMC

    Throughout our time in college, we sit in the classroom, taking notes and listening as our professors lecture. As senior year progresses, our attentiveness perks up and every morsel of information becomes important. Now, especially, I cling onto every piece of advice, suggestion, and tool that my professors throw at me, because I realize I will soon be sitting at a desk, with a level of expectation from my bosses. Fear is driving me at this point. The opportunity to listen to potential bosses and alumni that recently went through the daunting job-hunt was so comforting and reassuring. It was a great chance to interact with professionals and ease into the transition of student to entry-level candidate.

    Reply
  36. Sarah Caruso

    I don’t really know what to say about the conference. I’m a publishing studies major and PR is more of something to fall back on in case I can’t get a job in editing. I found the speakers all had something interesting to say, and I guess I can say I learned something from them. Its just that I don’t want to make a career of PR.

    Reply
  37. ccorte6

    I thought the conference was extremely insightful. What I enjoyed about this conference, as well as all the classes that I have taken in PR at Hofstra, is that everything I learned has real world applications. I appreciate when teachers go outside the textbook and tell you “this is how it really works” because, at the end of the day, that is the information that we really need to become successful PR representatives. I also enjoyed that this conference gave us a sneak peak into some of the places where we may potentially seek to work in the future.

    Reply
  38. Sasha Mirpuri

    I think the reason why conferences like these have a profound effect on students is because we might like to be working for companies like the ones that came to the conference in the future. Therefore, it is nice to have a chance to ask specific questions to representatives of the companies whether it is about tips, or internship deadlines, and so forth. I have to say networking with the alumni was my favorite part about the event. While it makes me nervous that a lot of people had a lot more experience than I do before they stepped out into the real world, talking with others in the PR field has motivated me to step up my game and pursue as many internships as I can. It is refreshing to see how much people in public relations enjoy what they do at work. Needless to say, what we do in class is just as important. When I decided to become a PR major, I didn’t quite understand what PR was. My classes have obviously changed that, and it is always my favorite part of class when/if a teacher shares a story that happened at work in the past. Having said that, your advice and stories definitely resonate with us.

    Reply
  39. Amanda Torres

    I was unable to attend the event; however, I can say that Hofstra has an excellent communications department. Every professor I have had at Hofstra has had decades of experience in print, broadcast, public relations, etc. I think that’s the best part about being a communications student; you know you’re being taught by people who know that area inside and out. You guys also make learning the area fun and light. It’s not just textbook and power point learning. We do hear what you are saying. Your points are always well made, and your real stories are what holds everything together.

    Reply
  40. Lauren Ciuzio

    Although I was unable to make it to the conference due to work, i’m sure it was an amazing experience. I agree with this post. As a student I learn a lot more, and really appreciate real-life stories from professors than I do from reading a boring textbook. Hearing first hand accounts of situations real life PR professionals have been through is more beneficial than having a textbook tell you what you will experience.

    Reply
  41. Claire T.

    I think the best way to teach is through experience. Personally, I learn best by actually doing something. When professors present real life examples, it gives their students the opportunity to put themselves in that situation and think how they could’ve/would’ve dealt with it. A hands-on example is the most effective way for a student to grasp a concept and I think that all professors would be more successful by teaching through these experiences they have of their own.

    Reply
  42. nikkigyftopoulos

    This conference hosted by PRSSA was not only very informational, but very enjoyable. When first hearing that this conference started at 8:30am and ended at 4:30pm, I thought it was going to drag on. However, it did the complete opposite. All of the speakers kept their audiences engaged and interested, which made the time fly by. I especially enjoyed how all of the speakers were very different in their presentations and shared their real-life experiences with us. All of us, as college students, are anxious and nervous about entering the real-world and trying to find a job. These presenters and alumni really provided us with helpful tips and advice for what to do and what not to do in our futures. Being a PR major and a marketing minor, I especially enjoyed all of the presentations because they directly related to my field of study. It also gave me a chance to meet and network with many professionals in the industry; some who have been in it for years and others who just entered. Although I was a little nervous at first about networking, I really interacted with both the speakers and the alumni. It’s all about connections in the real-world and I am happy to know that Hofstra PRSSA has helped me to make some of those connections. Now, I am connecting on Twitter and LinkedIn with many of the professionals I met yesterday. This conference was extremely beneficial and will contribute to making my career a success.

    Reply
  43. aspenc6

    First of all, I would like to thank the PRSSA E-Board and Committees for putting on such a wonderful event! I learned so much and was able to network a lot! Amazing job everyone!

    Obviously I love being a PR major and I actually enjoy going to all of my PR classes. I can honestly say that not one of my PR classes has ever been boring. One of my favorite aspects of being a PR major is that what you learn in the classroom is relatable to real world experiences. Almost everything we talk about in class is explained using real examples. I was never really good at math because although I know it is very important, I always struggle with the fact that I can’t seem to apply all of the math skills I am learning to my life. Majors that encompass business, marketing, law and PR foster themselves much more to using real life examples in the classroom. I realize now that this is definitely how I learn best! I like to link a story with a vocab word or key term from the text book to help me remember it. So, trust me, your stories and tales do resonate and help us PR students!

    Reply
  44. gmcillo

    To my surprise I really enjoyed the conference. Although I walked away with some anxiety and anticipation to start the real world, I realized that I could not be happier with my major. Each professional that came to the conference was so enthusiastic about their jobs and their experience they went through. It was great to see how the stuff we are learning in class IS applied to the real world. The speakers and the alumni did a great job in teaching soon-to-be graduates that it takes time to find the perfect job for you and you might not get one right out of college. After this conference I look forward to sending my resume out 150 times before finally get that one offer.

    Reply
  45. Brittni Hicks

    I was unable to attend the conference this weekend, but I took a class in the fall of my junior year at Hofstra that was similar to a conference setting. Each week a different individual from a different aspect of the music industry came and spoke to our class about what they do, how they got their and their experiences. It has been my favorite class so far. I like linking the things I’m learning in the classroom to applied examples. I enjoy hearing about the experiences of my professors and other professionals.

    Reply
  46. janabanana12

    As a journalism major, I was adament about attending the conference. However, after listening to some great lectures, I realized how similar PR and journalism is. The speakers that came to Hofstra were extremely enthusiastic about their experiences, and it made me enthusiastic about potentially working with them in the future.

    Reply

Leave a Reply