I did all three…very well. Not much sleep as a result, but a TON of contacts, new ideas and information, and “energy boosts.”
Teaching as I do at Curry College, where I ride herd over the undergraduate Public Relations Concentration and teach most of the PR courses, and at Regis College, where I teach graduate courses in the Organizational and Professional Communications area, and PRSA programs and conferences are mandatory in my opinion.
Why? Because I must…not “should”… I must…be at the top of my game.
Why? Simple…my students depend on me to introduce them to and help them become reasonably knowledgeable about or proficient in the communication tools and tactics that they will be required to bring to an employer’s table after graduation.
So I spent a boatload of time over the past few days soaking up the collective knowledge of some of the nation’s leading communicators.
“Social Media Policy” with Deirdre Breakenridge and a panel of social media gurus. “SEO and Social Media Marketing” with Lee Odden. “Regaining Trust amidst a Crisis” with John Deveney. And “Leading Communication Teams to Success” with my friend Rear Admiral Vic Beck, Vice Chief of Information for the US Navy.
General Session speakers included CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, social media wizard Chris Brogan, and idea generator extraordinaire Peter Diamandis.
My take-away from every single event was the blatant enthusiasm that each speaker projected in his or her presentation. The overriding sentiment was total and complete passion for public relations as a means of communicating with stakeholders and building relationships with them that will lead to understanding and support.
I also had a chance to chat with some of the Public Relations Student Society of America members who were attending their own awesome conference and getting just as excited about their respective futures as I am now, have been for centuries, and will continue to be for eons to come.
I’ve said it a bazillion times. “Passion is key if you really want to make your mark in this world.”
Most of us can learn the “tricks of the trade.” We can become, as I often discuss in my PR classes, “public relations ‘technicians.’”
And that’s okay to some degree. We need people who can organize and micro-manage events of all sizes. We need folks who can take written copy and turn it into eye-catching print or online material.
But we also need those of us whose forte’ is interacting with others and persuading/convincing them to embrace our employer’s or client’s reason for being.
And that requires an extra skill that these other folks either don’t have or haven’t figured out how to exhibit…a passion for what we represent.
In my own case, it’s a simple matter of “get out of my way; I’m on a mission” when I’m talking about my employer or my profession.
As one young lady commented when I started talking about my love for public relations and, now, public relations education… “My God, you really do believe in what you do.”
Yep. I do. And my hope is that you, too, will embrace the essence of your own chosen career field and will become a card-carrying, rabid disciple with the mission of helping others understand and support you and your client/employer.
“We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, “Philosophy of History ,” Introduction