“Keys to Networking for the Novice Networker”

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By Emily Kelley

On Thursday, November 3rd, PRSSA hosted its annual Networking Dinner.  This event invites students to meet and connect with public relations professionals in a low-stress and fun environment. With a new outfit and several résumés in hand, I stepped into the room unsure of what I would find. This was my first professional networking event and as a sophomore, I had little experience talking to PR professionals in their element. From just a few short hours, I learned an abundance of tips for networking.

Lessons I Learned from the PRSSA Networking Dinner:

 Professionals Want to Help

  •  Many of the professionals at the Networking Dinner were Hofstra affiliated and eager to help students in any way possible. Nearly every PR professional asked what each student was interested in and offered advice to reach their professional goals. When one PRSSA member mentioned that she was interested in theatre, one professional looked up a Hofstra alumnus who worked at a theatre-based PR agency. These successful men and women remember being a student and are ready to offer advice or assistance in any way they can.

Snack Smart

  •  You do not need to eat an entire meal before you come, but having a snack beforehand will keep your stomach from grumbling while networking. Food was provided, but I was so engrossed in conversations that I left most of my plate untouched. Feel free to eat when there is food, but don’t let yourself come too hungry!

Slide In

  • Add your input to conversations! You came for a reason- make that reason known! Who knows, you could have an amazing connection with a professional that would otherwise be missed!

Don’t Dominate

  • At the same time, make sure not to be an attention hog! Respect your peers’ and the professionals’ time and let everyone speak. Instead of talking just to get noticed, try listening to what people are really saying. Listening is a vital PR skill- learn it early.

Attendance Counts

  • Each PRSSA meeting provides insight in an important aspect of communication in PR, and these lessons helped me feel confident during the dinner. Several weeks ago, PRSSA hosted a meeting completely dedicated to dining etiquette- a vital lesson when eating dinner with professionals. Guest speakers at other meetings taught me how to follow up with professionals, tips to get internships, and other useful tools that increased my confidence in myself.

Take Notes

  • Jot down quick notes about your conversations or takeaways about the organization before you move on to the next professional. It can be difficult to remember how you connected with him or her after talking to ten others!

 Relax!

  •  This is as low-stress as it gets. Professionals sat at a table with around five to eight students, so there was little to no pressure to keep the conversation flowing. Everyone was very nice, and it was just casual discussions. Breathe- you’ll be fine!

Networking is Fun

  •  You heard it here first. Meeting new people and learning about different experiences is mind opening. PR is such a diverse field, and everyone got involved in a different way. Learn all you can from every person: peers, professionals, professors, etc. It can be fun learning new stories and sharing your own experiences.

Most importantly, the Networking Dinner helped me rediscover my love for this field and its wide radius. PR is more than campaigns and press releases. PR is about learning from your own and others’ experiences to create something new and wonderful. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to network and learn even more about the exciting world of PR.

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Planning The Big Event

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Hofstra students with Felicia Colavito from KTCPr.

By: Martin Bradshaw

My name is Martin Bradshaw. I’m 20-years-old and a sophomore public relations major here at Hofstra. This is my second year in PRSSA and my first year on the Special Event Committee.

Being on the PRSSA Special Events Committee has been incredibly rewarding. Getting to prepare for the annual networking dinner helped me gain a great deal of invaluable experience. I got the opportunity to network with so many professionals and Hofstra alumni in the public relations industry.

In preparation for this year’s networking dinner, the Special Events Committee met to discuss the event. We went over the theme, decorations, brochures, invitations, gift bags, and much more. My task was to create the slideshow presentation to play throughout the dinner that would feature all the guest professionals. I also helped Cheyenne, the director of special events, go out and shop for all the supplies we needed for the event.15002351_1436566809706461_3848060645338970830_o After shopping, we met with other committee members to handcraft the decorations and gifts that we would be presenting to the professionals. Our quest to prepare the dinner turned into an all-day affair and a great bonding experience for the committee. This, combined with the setup for the dinner, allowed me to get a better sense of the work, time, and energy that goes into making events like this possible.

At the dinner, I got the chance to speak with professionals, many of whom were once Hofstra students. Interestingly enough, some of them found their current jobs from the same networking dinner in past years. These professionals had great advice on getting started with a career in PR and gave out lots of information about applying for internships. It was such a great experience and is a great way to network and start building a career and I’m so glad that I was a part of making it all happen.

PR at the Crossroads of America

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We’re not in Nassau County anymore.

On the morning of Friday, October 21, six members of Hofstra PRSSA and advisor Jeffrey Morosoff flew into Indianapolis, Indiana for #PRSSANC. The 2016 PRSSA National Conference featured speakers Holly Wagner (Vera Bradley), Courtney Zemke (General Motors), Sabrina List (500 Festival, Inc.) and more. A weekend filled with business attire, inspiring speakers, networking and exploring what Indianapolis had to offer, this is what a few attendees took away from it…

“This was my second time attending PRSSA’s National Conference, and once again I was blown away by the number of ambitious attendees that surrounded me. Coming from all over the country, public relation’s top students were all gathered under one roof to learn more about the industry and grow as future professionals. Although I was aware that they will soon be my competition in the PR world, I was not discouraged. Instead, I was inspired by the enthusiasm, passion and great ideas that each and every one of them had. It lit a spark that reminded me why I am going to school for PR and motivated me to keep bettering myself in the profession.” –Briana Cunningham, President

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(From left) Pakelody Cheam, Melissa Cooke, Danielle Drop, Jasmine Cole Marrow, Ashley Zachariah, Briana Cunningham and Jeffrey Morosoff ready to take on a day of PR development.

“I was able to meet the woman who planned the 2012 Super Bowl. I spoke with the members of the PR team for Warner Bros. Television. I watched a representative from Vera Bradley go step-by-step through their re-branding campaign that took place this past summer. I networked with amazing professionals. I got to meet and mingle with students from across the country. Most importantly, I was able to spend time with some amazing friends from right here at Hofstra.”  – Jasmine Cole Marrow, Director of External Affairs

 

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The conference not only helped PRSSA members create professional bonds, but friendships too.

“I think one of the best ways to become successful is to surround yourself with those who already are, so naturally, I felt incredibly lucky to be in the presence of so many inspiring peers, PR professionals and the life-saving staff of the Marriott’s Starbucks. I particularly loved (Nebo co-f0under) Brian Easter’s presentation on engaging your internal audience. As cheesy as it sounds, I left the room feeling refreshed and ready to make the world a better place. It’s so important to realize that optimism/idealism does not mean something is unrealistic and he helped me remember that. If anyone has a chance to hear him (or anyone from Nebo) speak, I highly recommend it.” –Pakelody Cheam, Director of Development

 

Next year, the PRSSA National Conference will be held in Austin, TX.

Welcome to the Hofstra PRSSA Blog!

Thank you for visiting our first blog! We’re so excited to get started. This inaugural post will (hopefully) answer any questions you may have.

What is it?

The is a blog for you and by you–our PRSSA members. The topics will include anything pertaining to the industry, from networking and professional development to internships and career options. If you are looking for information or advice, this is the place for you. It will also be a great way for prospective PR students to get an inside look into what Hofstra PRSSA does and what it can offer.

Who writes it?

Like I  mentioned earlier, this is a blog for you and by you. So the posts in this blog will all be written by our PRSSA members (and maybe an occasional guest blogger). It will consist of real stories and insights from current PR students. Whether they had a really great internship experience, or they were really inspired by what they learned in a meeting, they can document it and add it to the collection of information.

How do you submit content?

To submit content, please contact one of the executive board members or send your draft to prssa.hofstra@gmail.com. We will serve as your second set of eyes to look it over. Then, we will post it when the time comes. Easy peasy!

Why should you contribute?

This is a way for you to be an active member of Hofstra PRSSA and have your voice heard by the entire club (and hopefully more)! Plus, we’re PR people. We like to write, it’s just what we do. And who doesn’t want to get their work published? Share it on Facebook, Tweet the link and post it on you LinkedIn. It will look great when you can show a professional- and possible employer- that you contributed to the chapter blog. Gold star for you 🌟

Guidelines:

Please try to keep your posts between 200 and 700 words, and it is encouraged that you include links and photos to keep the content exciting! The topics should be PR related and either informational or experiential. Content can be submitted by  members no more than bi-weekly so that the rest of the members also get the opportunity to contribute. But feel free to send new content every other week! We want the blog to stay active, which means that posts will go up as often as possible. It all depends on how much the members choose to participate. We are very excited to hear what you have to say!

Here is the link to the blog: https://hofstraprssa.wordpress.com/

I would suggest bookmarking it so that you can check it regularly and see all of the exciting content to come!

Blog ideas that you provided:

  • Personal internship stories and how you got there/ Intern spotlight.
  • Recap of the debate and how PR was used to promote Hofstra.
  • Media resume dos and don’t.
  • Press release about why Hofstra is the best university.
  • Graduate committee.
  • Cision (and other tools) and how to use them.
  • Professional experience besides internships.

 

Now you just need to reach out and start blogging!

-Briana Cunningham PRSSA Chapter President