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?
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?