We spend a quarter century of our lives – maybe even more – training, conditioning, and educating ourselves to be self-sufficient, hopefully even productive, members of the “real world.” That’s a great deal of time and energy that, if used effectively, can lay the groundwork for success.
Over the past three days, some of the most successful people in the PR and media industry, along with some of the most esteemed educators, came together at the 2014 Academic Summit in Chicago to discuss how to teach and prepare the next generation of PR pros to be the future leaders of our industry.
So for those who are still in training, hoping to make it in the world of PR: listen up. Here are five key takeaways from the #2014AcademicSummit:
1. Don’t be Afraid to Take Risks
Platforms for communication are changing at an exceptional rate; PR professional can’t just keep doing what’s been done before. We need to adapt and innovate, be willing to experiment and take chances. As Richard Edelman instructed in his speech yesterday, come up with “ideas that challenge conventional wisdom.”
2. Think Outside the “PR” Box
Diversifying your skills and understanding related disciplines is essential. Over the past year, Edelman hired over 1,700 people worldwide. Richard Edelman explained that many of these new hires had never worked in PR before. We heard from a few of them at the Academic Summit, such as Chris Paul, covering paid media, and Tyler Gray, discussing the Creative Newsroom.
3. Pay Attention and Participate
How often do you hear about a new popular app or the latest update to Twitter? These changes are happening constantly and the only way to keep up is to not just pay attention, but participate. Test out new features, experiment on new platforms. When asked what quality is most valuable in an entry level candidate, one panelist from a leading tech brand answered simply, “curiosity.”
4. Learn How to Tell Impactful, Relevant Stories
The official theme of the Academic Summit is “Storytelling @ The Speed of Now,” so it’s no surprise that effective storytelling was a recurring topic of conversation. From telling stories of a brand or corporate character to empowering employees to share their own stories, finding the emotion to bring a story to life is key.
5. Build Your Personal Brand
Yesterday, Yumi Wilson of LinkedIn* (disclosure: Edelman client), spoke about the importance of building your social presence. Even just having a picture makes people 14 percent more likely to click on your profile; but keep it professional, Yumi advised—no selfies. How you represent yourself online reflects your personal brand, so use your social channels to portray your brand appropriately.
What do you believe incoming PR professionals need to understand to succeed?
**Please note, there will be no Friday5 next week July 4 due to the Independence Day Holiday.