PRofound advice

      55 Comments on PRofound advice
Joining Michael O'Looney were (l. to r.) Hofstra PRSSA's Isabela Jacobsen,  Saralynn Kupperberg, Nathalie Retana and Arielle Barba.

Joining Michael O’Looney at Marist College on Feb. 28th were (l. to r.) Hofstra PRSSA’s Isabela Jacobsen, Saralynn Kupperberg, Nathalie Retana and Arielle Barba.

One of the great mentors in my life was a well-known educator named David Salten, whom I’ve mentioned here before. I shared birthday cake with David at his home as he turned 93, three weeks before he passed away. When I asked him how he stays so mentally sharp, his answer was, “I never stop learning.” Profound advice.

This weekend I attended PRSSA’s Regional Conference, hosted by Marist College’s PRSSA chapter, and featuring several public relations practitioners who shared insights on the PR job market. David’s words echo each time my students and I gain knowledge beyond the classroom.

So what did we hear and learn at Marist? Much was said about skill sets and professional traits, as were words to live by. For example, Tim Massey of Health Quest started with a lengthy list of characteristics employers seek including critical thinking, a global mindset, intellectual curiosity, ability to listen and brainstorm, and confidence.

Michael O’Brien of Ketchum told students they not only need to be exemplary writers, but also must be able to identify and craft great stories. He encouraged PR students to learn how to “make the mundane interesting and the complex simple.”“You need to be reading,” he added. “Read everything–on multiple platforms. Get yourself out of your social media feed and read about things you’d never think about reading.”

Kelsey Donohue, a recent Marist grad who now works in the First Lady’s press office, said, “Develop the skills to talk to people. Practice breaking out of your shell.”

My favorite words of wisdom came from conference keynoter Michael O’Looney, a long-time TV news reporter and later NYPD spokesman. “Don’t let fear trap you into a small life,” he told participants, “and don’t confine your world to social media. You have to get out the door.” He also challenged students to “always hold yourself to a standard of excellence.”

There was a lot more profound advice at the conference, too much to note here, but I’d like to expand on David Salten’s “never stop learning.” I’m adding, “and never top listening.” Your thoughts?

55 thoughts on “PRofound advice

  1. robinperkins1

    “never stop learning” is a great quote and I like this blog because you always meet people in life that you can learn from and that can leave an imprint in your life somehow. It’s important to always continue learning. Great advice!

  2. williamekanem

    Wow! am actually picking quarrel with Prof for not inviting me to such a rewarding meeting. I listed 17 skill sets/professional traits already and “there was a lot more,” interesting.
    Ability to listen also stands out for me because it is an enviable skill many take for granted—often to their detriment.
    As good as social media is, I completely share the keynoters’ warning “don’t confine your world to social media,” it’s very important.

  3. elizah9

    I love the fact that Professor Morosoff’s good friend, David Salten, was able to leave him with such a wise quote. Salten’s quote highlighted that reading is the key factor of learning. Many college students read on a daily basis, but often times just for a class assignment. As students we tend to forget the importance of picking up an article or a book and just reading for the knowledge rather than for a grade. The only true way to become wise is to read. Reading helps us become informed, educated, open-minded, and etc. The positive effects of reading are endless.

  4. Nmendes1

    This piece contained a lot of great advice. It’s great that reading remains so imperative to survive in this career. i am glad that unplugging from social media was touched on

  5. edelafraz

    One of my favorite hobbies is meeting new people. As odd as it sounds, I enjoy the challenge of stepping out of my comfort zone and learning all there is to know about someone or something. This part of my personality even led me to pursue a career in PR. I think learning each and everyday is how we will all live longer, more meaningful lives. That is also why I participate in so many clubs and organizations on campus. My learning capacity does not stop once I leave the classroom. I am constantly learning about diversity, cohesion, appreciation, and other elements just by living on this beautiful campus. I encourage my peers to do so as well; get the most out of their college career. After all, it will all be over before we know it, yet that does not mean we will stop learning!

  6. Taylor Lawrence

    Never stop learning is something my grandfather is always telling me to do. I try to follow this message as often as possible. In a world where we are so indulged in social media and what celebrities are doing, we forget to look into other areas and invest as much time in them. When anyone had the opportunity to learn something completely new to them I hope they put down their phone and do it!

  7. Mike Cox

    I thought this blog was very interesting but my favorite part of it was the quote by Michael O’Brien, “make the mundane interesting and the complex simple.” This is key for many of those, like myself, preparing for a career after college. It is important to always try and stay one step ahead and like David Salten said, “never stop learning.”

  8. Victoria Kotowski

    This blog was especially important to me because “never stop learning” is something my dad has been saying to me for years. It’s so important to continue learning and growing as not only a professional, but as a person. Especially with how fast-paced and ever changing our society has become, it is crucial to always have a open mind and be willing to learn more. People who are not in this mindset will face major set backs in their professional lives.

  9. hatcherphoto

    My mother always told me to make sure that every single day, fall asleep knowing that I’ve learned at least one new thing. Following current events is a good way to do that, I’ve found. In following the day’s news, inevitably you’ll find something you don’t know, and you can research it! Great read today, Professor!

  10. Taylla Smith

    Listening is just as important as learning, especially in the world of PR. Salten’s advice is important and in some sorts, complex. As a public relations practitioners have to keep this advice in this back pocket because as times change, the practitioners have to evolve as well. At the end of the day, changes in society, people, and culture will continue to effect the public relations craft.

  11. Ariana Queenan

    David Salton’s piece of advice reminds me of my personal experience with journalism professors frequently emphasize to all of their student the importance of practicing their craft outside of the classroom. Every industry is constantly changing due to society and technology. It is so important to be aware of the most recent updates in your industry because, if you aren’t it could easily cost you your job. I love the advice that the two speakers shared about talking to people. Journalism has taught me to eliminate the fear of conversation even if the conversation could possibly be difficult to have.

  12. Michele Colletti

    David Salton’s “never stop learning” reminds me of the saying knowledge is power. Both hold true and are extremely important in growth not only personally but also professionally. There is always something you don’t know and something new and interesting to learn even in the field of public relations. I like the idea of taking ourselves off of social media and into different media platforms to help broaden our knowledge.

  13. Jennifer Im

    PR is a profession constantly evolving profession. Even within the last few years, the media field has expanded tremendously. As a career depended on media, which shapes a large portion of American culture, we need to stay culturally relevant. The job relies on constant streams of information, so it’s only natural we continue to learn throughout our lives. Even more so when we must not let our past experiences bias our studies and surveys.

  14. kenpow2012

    This blog post is a great example of why no matter how successful you are, it is necessary to keep on learning in our field. In our field we have to stay socially aware to survive. In our society something new and interesting is happening everyday, and we have to be aware of these things in order to create a successful communications career.

  15. karisanewkirk

    “Never stop learning” is so essential and so relevant to life. Knowledge is how you survive in the world if you ask me, it’s the key to life. Not only can his phrase be interpreted as never stop opening a book and learn something that way, but also it can be used in a sense of learning from experiences/mistakes. Very clever.

  16. carsoncuevas

    Yes, I think the advice “never stop learning” is essential to becoming interesting people as well as intelligent. Also, I feel that as students just starting out, we need to take this advice and really hold ourselves accountable to it. I love the idea that if we are constantly in pursuit of knowledge to learn new things every day, we will never be bored.

  17. cmichael1

    I agree with his advice of “never stop learning”. I think it’s very important to experience new things because there is always something new to learn. In the field of PR, you could be working for a variety of different clients with different backgrounds so having an open mind and knowledge about a variety of topics will be beneficial.

  18. Dan Schaefer

    One of the most interesting lines in the blog for me was this: “He encouraged PR students to learn how to ‘make the mundane interesting and the complex simple.'” There is a fine line between making something interesting but not too complex. I believe that finding this medium will be one of my favorite parts of my PR career.

  19. Gabrielle Furman

    I think that all the advice is good, but I personally agree with David Salten. If you continue to learn and expand your knowledge, then what you know could help someone else. I guess this goes in hand with Michael O’Brien’s advice because you need to be informed about as much as you can to get ahead in the public relations world.

  20. Anjelica Johnson

    I loved Michael O’Brien’s advice. It is really important to always be knowledgeable about everything in this field, and by reading things from multiple platforms (not just social media) you open yourself up to being truly learning about everything going in the world.

  21. David Pepe

    I believe there is a lot to learn from always reading something. I often use reddit to learn about different things about an incredible range of subjects. Essentially it lets me learn something new each day while still letting me stay up to date with topics I follow. Getting out of the social media feed and looking at full articles only helps you gain more information and better background about any topic.

  22. Daylen Orlick

    I agree that you can “never stop learning.” I think that the more you know, the better off you will be. Knowledge is important to possess and keep. The words of wisdom that the NYPD spokes person gave might be the best I have ever heard. “Don’t let fear trap you into a small life,” are such incredible words to live by. If you never stop learning, break out of your shell and experience life nothing will hold you back. I loved this post, and I also agree that “never stop listening” needs to happen as well. If you never stop listening and listen to these words, you will thrive in life, and in the PR world as well.

  23. Jazmin Quinci

    I love mentors. I also know the feeling of losing one. It saddens me to think of the genre of people who have passed on. A genre of individuals who experienced a world so different than the one we live in today. Learning about their experiences and receving their advice is priceless. I’ll forever cherish those critical moments where my mentor said things that changed me. Feeling the impact of influence and knowing my thought process is permanently altered was incredible. I believe it’s not just about learning facts but being receptive to receiving new information and applying it. Also, being humble enough to admit that one will never know it all and will never get too old to learn something new.

  24. keyanamichelle13

    It’s so important for us as students to not only enhance our writing skills but our communication skills as well. We all graduate within the next year or two and all of our resumes are going to be similar. Some will have stronger points than others but you need something to help yourself standout from the crowd. When I was going on interviews for internships I discovered first hand how much more competitive this market is getting the more advance I become. The basic pr knowledge skills aren’t enough anymore. One company even asked me to write a press release for them as part of the interview process. When reading this article and hearing people say step out of the social media feeds that is complex for me because my pr focus is social media management but I do understand the point trying to be put across. As important as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. are to my specific field of choice, I need to read less Twitter and more Huffington Post. My writing needs to be more advanced than just making sure it’s 140 characters or less.

  25. Marissa Slattery

    The day that I stop learning will be the day that I die. Each day presents an opportunity to see, learn or do something that have never seen, known or done before. Imagine how boring and frustrating a conversation must be with someone who refuses to learn something new (and in this same case, as a parallel, refuses to listen!) It is so important to keep an inquisitive mind with regard to both subjects that interest you and ones which you know little about. It’s been attributed to being said by Socrates that “the unexamined life is not worth living”…I plan to continue to examine every corner until I no longer can.

  26. nnicolegd

    It’s important to “never stop learning” not only to better understand the world around us, but especially as potential PR professionals. In PR, individuals must understand and learn from their publics in order to effectively communicate with them. Moreover, our ability to do so will both affect our personal image as well as our respective employer’s image. As a result, it’s vital to both listen and continue to learn in order to become successful in the PR field.

  27. Rock(Shi Yan)

    “I never stop learning.” such strong words. Let me to feel I having 700 horse power to study something now. And keep it longer. I completely agree with Michael O’Brien’s advice to read everything, these are really helpful to study everything. PR people always good at talking that makes me to keep learning PR major.

  28. Jen O'Malley

    I think that “never stop learning” is something to live by. It’s important, no matter which profession you choose, to keep an open mind as you go through life. It is up to us as individuals to seek out life, or to let is pass us by. Especially in a field like PR where communication is key, one must be willing to learn and to listen. Understanding is a major part of communicating. To be successful in developing positive relationships, we have to apply the information we already have as well as be willing to accept new information as it comes.

  29. Heather Lanci

    I like the advice given about fear. I think that many people go into college with big goals, and then when they start taking classes, decide to change majors because they are afraid they won’t be able to succeed in the field they’d like to be working in. I don’t think anyone goes into their major or even into their career having all the skills necessary. That’s why we must remember to learn as much as we can in college, and out in the workforce. There really is always something new to learn.

  30. Deana Meccariello

    “Never stop learning.” I love that phrase. I am finally in a position to do just that. Working in higher education allows me to work towards as many degrees as I want and I intend to do just that.

  31. Grace Finlayson

    I agree with David Salten statement “never stop learning.” The world never stops changing and neither should the public relations world. The PR profession is about keeping up with all of the changes that are happening and working around them. That is what I love about PR because as a PR professional you can work in any industry, but use the same tools wherever you land. All of this advice is helpful for me as a PR major because I need to work on every single one of the aspects stated. I love to learn new things and I also love the fact that being a PR major will encourage me to never stop learning and never stop listening.

  32. afairc1

    I agree that we should “never stop learning” and also “never stop listening”. The current generation is struggling with face to face contact because the amount of technology we have access to is overwhelming and while it is helpful for learning it doesn’t really help us listen. It is very easy to find people online that share the same views as you and because of this people don’t as easily listen to other peoples thoughts because they are different from ours. Listening to others is starting to become almost taboo because its “all about me”, how many Facebook or instagram likes am I getting? Having validation online from strangers is becoming more important than getting validation and praise from people face to face.

  33. Ashley Fazio

    Michael O’Looney’s words of wisdom, “don’t let fear trap you into a small life” was the part that spoke volumes to me. Not only is it important to put yourself out there socially and not so much on social media, but you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. This is something I know I need to work on. It is crucial in the public relations field to have connections and be able to network with others.

  34. Nicholas Taddeo

    I liked this post very much. I found many of the quotes you included very informative and helpful. I agree with David Salten, Kelsey Donohue, and yourself; “Develop the skills to talk to people” and of course “never stop learning” are great words to live by and if followed could definitely help someone achieve their goals, let me explain. Obviously, their are many benefits of knowledge. However, in today’s very interactive & integrative society, that isn’t always enough… One needs to have great communication skills if they hope to be successful in any industry.

    Sounds like I missed a great weekend.

  35. Kimberly Minto

    I find David Salten’s words to be so true, learning something new regardless of how old you are always has value. Whether you are learning a new language, skill, or life lesson, everything only has the power to enrich your life.

  36. Jenn Pizzurro

    Professor Morosoff,

    My favorite take away from this was what Kelsey Donohue said, “Develop the skills to talk to people. Practice breaking out of your shell.” I find this so important not only in the PR world, but also in everyday life. It is so important to make connections with people in your field and in life.

  37. Cheyenne Padgett

    I think the part about not only getting out there on social media but in real life is very important in today’s society. Not enough people know how to hold a conversation face to face anymore or even break the ice with someone they do not know. People nee dot learn to communicate again.

  38. emilyrwalsh

    I feel that learning is the the most important thing that we do in our lives. When I was in high school, I would lead retreats and once had to give a talk that noted how we continuously learned.
    No matter what we do, where we go, or who we meet, learning is an every day part of our lives. Especially in public relations, learning is a major component to the career. We are constantly learning about new subjects and meeting new people. Life is interesting because we are always gaining knowledge. I think It is also what helps to make PR exciting.

  39. Nicole Romeo

    I believe that it is so important that people go through life trying to discover new things. Learning something new everyday, in a sense, allows you to look forward to something new everyday. Going through life is definitely not a walk in the park, but by having an open mind, I believe one is able to get through anything.

  40. Jess Hershman

    It’s extremely important to continue learning throughout your life. With the rapidly changing nature of technology, the way that information is communicated changes and better platforms for delivering a message are discovered. I really enjoyed the “never stop listening” quote. As soon as you stop listening, you stop learning, and it is critical to do both in order to maintain current.

  41. Rachel Massaro

    I really liked Kelsey Donohue’s quote about learning the skills to talk to people and breaking out of your shell. It goes along with O’Looney’s quote too about not confining yourself to social media. I think our generation is so caught up in digital communication we forget how to speak and effectively communicate with the older generation with face to face communication. As people looking to break into the PR field it’s so important these days to know how to communicate both ways and that’s a learning experience. I love “never stop learning” and I think one should try and live by that quote not only with their careers but every day life. After reading this article I set a goal for myself to try and learn something new each day whether it be from a professor, friend, or family member and actually retain that information because even though it seems like a small fact at the the time eventually you will have many small facts and be a well rounded knowledgable individual.

  42. rebeccaanncosta

    “Don’t let fear trap you into a small life.” I think this bit of advice from Michael O’Looney is my favorite from this blog post. It is much more interesting to be able to talk and work with people who are worldly. My favorite teacher in high school used to encourage her students to get out of their comfort zones, and I think O’Looney would agree. Trying new things, and continuing to learn is something that I hope I never get to stop doing.

  43. Nicholas Mazzarella

    Professor Morosoff:

    A common theme that multiple speakers discussed seems to be stepping outside of your comfort zone. In doing so, you will “never stop learning.” Reading about things that are unfamiliar to you and talking to new people will allow you to gain new perspectives and analyze things differently. Although you might be content with the knowledge that you have now, there is always more to be learned.

    -Nick Mazzarella

  44. Katherine Hammer

    I believe that every day there is something new to learn, which turns into a snowball affect to learning. Listening is most important in association with learning. People from different backgrounds and different areas of the world can shed light on something that you may never have thought of. There is so much information in the world, and you have to listen in order to retain the information. I believe that “never stop learning” and “never stop listening” are key factors when applied to public relations, for in an ever changing world, new and important information can help shed light on new ways to be successful.

  45. Rachel Tyler

    I believe everyday is a learning opportunity. I learn from listening to others. The people around you can open up your mind to a new world of ideas and concepts. Reading and listening to new things that are outside of your interest will expand your mind. I believe this allows you to grow as an individual and helps you become more diverse.

  46. Tamara Russo

    Your addition, “never stop listening”, is the key to Salten’s “never stop learning”. Some of the best advice comes from listening to those who have experienced unthinkable things, or those who have made mistakes and persevered. While reading material outside of your comfort zone is great, it’s equally important to listen to those who may not run in your circle. They can teach you a thing or two!

  47. Maria Emlano

    I completely agree with Michael O’Brien’s advice to read everything, and read out of your comfort zone. Reading subjects beyond what you are interested in helps you to learn and develop opinions that you may have not realized you had. I believe this strongly applies to current events. I have made it a habit to read top news stories that I may have zero interest in because it is important to have knowledge of the topic before fully giving insight during a discussion.

  48. Sarah Holzberg

    Everyday I feel that we as a society learns something. Everyday I walk into work I learn something new. Whether it be in our production meetings or while reading our ever long email threads. One must be perspective to the world around them to learn!

  49. gluisi

    I liked what Michael O’Brien of Ketchum said about being and exceptional writer. I sometimes question the major that I chose because i do not believe that I am a good writer, especially not a good public relations writer, but I just love the job. He has given the advice to read, especially things out of your comfort level or things you would have never picked up before. I will certanly start doing this and maybe it will help me expand my ideas and my writing.

  50. Vivacious_V

    I liked what Michael O’ Looney said about fear and reading beyond social media. I know for myself I often listen to more of my doubts than anything else. But after reading his words of wisdom, I know that I mustn’t let “fear trap me into a small life.” As far as social media goes, I will become a news junkie and stop spending unnecessary time on virtual platforms, and actually read more substance.

  51. pjze618

    This is definitely a post that speaks to me. I’ve been shy all my life. I hated talking to people and I would turn red and stutter a little bit. But now that I’m in PR I constantly push myself to break out of my shell and talk to new people. I love reading random articles and I always have, ever since my grandfather told me to never stop learning when I was a kid. Constantly learning something new is a great way to keep myself sharp and keep up with everything that is happening in society.

  52. Abby Drapeau

    I think it’s important to learn how to actually listen to people, I recently heard someone say “you don’t learn anything new while you’re talking.” You can learn something from anyone, often something you can’t learn in a book. There’s no specific age when you should stop learning, just because you’re not in school anymore doesn’t mean that you have to stop learning. If you read from the same outlet you’re not going to get different opinions or thoughts, so it’s important to read from a publication that might have a different bias than what you’re used to.

  53. geow1

    The fear of failure is one of the strongest emotions an individual can feel. It creeps up on us when we least expect and strikes us when we are vulnerable. Yet, we build up the courage everyday to stand tall and face it head on. This post truly humbles me.

  54. Cass Lang

    I think all of these professionals have pointed out is that it is up to each individual to experience. What you choose to allow yourself to experience, or learn will either open doors, or close them. You can embrace life’s challenges, or you can succumb to fear and laziness. It is important for PR professionals to be the type of person who will not only embrace life’s challenges, but will seek them out.

  55. jheiden1

    I think it’s so important to continue learning no matter how old you get. I also resonate with the whole “break out of your shell” concept. Our profession as communicators is to maintain a personable and approachable demeanor. That too can be a learning process. Nothing can be perfected overnight and practice is a key element in that mix.


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