By: Beth Pfohl
Everyone knows the “picture the audience in their underwear” trick for public speaking, and as a theatre major with terrible stage fright, I can tell you that this is probably the worst advice anyone could ever give you. I know; I’m sorry. I just ruined your childhood and tore down the advice of every English teacher you have ever had. Well, here are the best tips I have managed to pick up over the years!
1. Breathe: You know the information better than anyone else in the room, so you don’t have anything to worry about. Just say what you know.
2. Don’t picture anyone in their underwear: The original thought behind this was to make nervous people laugh, but laughing in the middle of any public speech is really a terrible idea.
3. Don’t move your hands too much: It’s simply distracting and makes you look like you are nervous. You may be inclined to use gestures to get your point across, but an audience will understand your point without any excessive hand movements.
4. Every person in the room understands your plight: The fear of public speaking applies to more people than you think, so you are definitely not alone in the room. They are on your side.
5. Wear something that makes you comfortable: Yes you should always look professional, but if you are uncomfortable, you are more likely to appear nervous.
6. Your audience wants you to succeed: It’s that simple. No one wants to watch another person crash and burn, so an audience is more likely to support you than to not. They want you to succeed.
Remember these six simple steps, and you will rock any pitch or speech you ever have to give!
By: Erin Antonelli
Earlier this month, an Internet scam about the Dr Pepper beverage began circulating social media. The hoax claimed that the company was sold to Coca Cola and that the Dr Pepper brand would be terminated.
Grammar and design mistakes on the shared post led Dr Pepper’s PR team to believe that the rumors would blow over; however, they quickly realized that was not the case. The team attacked the crisis, addressing both internal and external concerns.
The company developed two key messages. The first was internal for employees at Dr Pepper. They took a serious approach to ensure that employees felt secure in their jobs.
The second was external for Dr Pepper’s customers. For this message, the PR team chose use social media as its only medium, because this is where the original rumors came from.
Since the hoax wasn’t negative, just untrue, the company decided to have fun with its response. A GIF was posted to both the company’s Facebook and Twitter pages dispelling the fabricated story. Both of Dr Pepper’s messages succeeded with the social media posts reaching over 13,000 people within the first 24 hours.
Brian Bell, Dr Pepper’s brand manager, commented on why he thinks the company succeeded in dismissing the fabrication, “The most important thing is to know your brand, its voice and know what people respond to.”
By: Sarah Emery
After fifteen years working at major media companies in Chicago, including Leo Burnett and Ogilvy & Mather, Miami University alumnus David Kelbaugh was ready for a change. He knew what aspects of the public relations, advertising and marketing industries he excelled at and the parts he didn’t really like as much, so he decided to create his own brand strategy company that could focus on what he and his team enjoyed. Soon, Tacklebox was born.
Founded in 2014, Tacklebox has been making waves in the Chicago area, working with various local companies and starting to take on some major national names- including winning a contract with Goose Island Beer Company earlier this month.
Tacklebox believes that “with the right brand, a company can separate itself from the competition, increase sales, and transform customers into lifelong advocates.” It prides itself on helping companies connect with audiences in powerful and effective ways.
Kelbaugh and his team focus on the importance of a company’s brand being so much more than a company’s product. He does presentations throughout the Chicago area to inform companies, whether large media agencies or flourishing start ups, about the importance of establishing a brand and using it to thrive.
David Kelbaugh has stayed active with his alma mater post-graduation, including spotlighting Tacklebox during the Inside Chicago program, and was recently recognized at Miami during the MJF Distinguished Alumni Days for his successful career.
By: Chloe Tykal
As a future public relations professional, being a good writer is a large part of your job. Nobody can just jump on their computer and crank out an amazing press release in 10 minutes without practicing, either. Even the best PR execs in the industry had to start somewhere.
Luckily, we live in an age where anyone can write and publish their own material. There is no better way to hone your writing skills than to start a blog. It can be about anything, all that matters is that you are consistently practicing your writing and putting material out there.
To start, think of something that interests you (it doesn’t have to be PR related at all). If you love fashion, start a fashion blog. If you love cooking, share your recipes. Once you have a basic idea, get a little creative. Find the thing that’s going to set your blog apart from the others.
There are a ton of platforms for blogging that are easy to use and free. Check out sites like Weebly, Wordpress, or Tumblr and see which one fits your idea best. They also often have templates that make designing your page easy if that’s not your thing. Any blog can look well-polished and professional with zero web design skills needed.
Coming up with a name can be tricky, but try to make it reflect your theme. Also stay away from naming it something directly with your name (aka don’t name your food blog Carol’s Recipes). Since you most likely aren’t a celebrity, name recognition isn’t going to mean a lot and can often sound hokey.
Once you have have your site all planned out, it’s time to start creating content. Start out by challenging yourself to post once or twice a week. If you know that you’re busy, sit down when you have time and crank out a few posts at once, then save them and publish them slowly.
This is your time to really develop your voice and become comfortable with your writing. The more you write, the easier it gets and the more confident you will become in your abilities.
Writing and maintaining a blog not only gives you a lot of writing practice, it can give you a portfolio of your work that you can forward to future employers. Often, they will request a writing sample with your resume and your blog can act as an archive of your work.
Blogging can be a key tool for PR professionals. Learning the ins and outs of the industry early on can be a benefit just as important as improved writing skills.
By: Kabrella Clark
The University of Cincinnati’s PRSSA chapter hosted their first Regional Conference April 8 and 9. As a member of Miami University’s PRSSA chapter, I, Kabrella Clark was able to attend PR Grand Slam.
While at the conference, I had the opportunity to connect with members of other PRSSA chapters. In addition, we spent time listening to stories from a wide-range of professionals involved in social media, marketing communications, small boutique public relations, Adobe Illustrator and more.
Jon Horton, Assistant Athletic Director for Game Presentation at the University of Cincinnati, shared his experience as a professional in the sports world. Horton described how crucial visual storytelling is to his career, especially through social media. His message also included the importance of listening and being transparent.
The most inspiring session of this conference for me was listening to Nick Belpario, who has won seven Emmys. Belpario worked at FOX for sixteen years and is now a professor at The University of Cincinnati. Belpario suggested that people should learn to respect their inexperience, but at the same time ignore it. He explained that so often we get caught up and flustered by things we do not know and “can’t” do, but this only limits what are actually capable of doing.
This advice is applicable to almost anyone, but particularly college students who plan to be in the workforce soon. This transition can be one of the most intimidating and challenging, but as Belpario mentioned, confidence in what you CAN do will take you very far.
All in all, between the amount of successful tips, inspiring people and experiences shared, PR Grand Slam was surely a win.
Thank you to Miami University’s PRSSA for giving me this opportunity!
By: Allison Haworth
Recently, a new program for a faster settlement of Syrian refugees has been implemented in the United States. This “surge operation” was successful with a full settlement process in just three months. This program takes all the necessary precautions for background checks while welcoming new citizens into the land of the free. It pushes for a better life in America, better education, better working conditions and it promotes the positives of the resettlement process.
While many people have applied to this resettlement program, it is based off of need and does not discriminate against any walks of life. In this specific resettlement, a family of seven living in a one-bedroom home with no windows and eating off of food coupons has been chosen to test out the new plan, which followed in a successful relocation.
According to the PR code of ethics, “We acquire and responsibly use specialized knowledge and experience. We advance the profession through continued professional development, research, and education. We build mutual understanding, credibility, and relationships among a wide array of institutions and audiences.” A good company or program does not discriminate and acts as an advocate no matter who you’re representing. In this specific situation, the program applies all of those elements and promotes a positive experience for the refugees.
Whether or not you agree with the Syrian resettlement program, it is apparent that they provided a perfect example of good public relations that we can all practice to become successful in the public relations world in the future.
By: Chloe Tykal
For years, your Twitter account has had the same funny, but slightly inappropriate handle. Your profile picture is you in a bikini. Or maybe you’re tagged in some photos after consuming a few too many beers (complete with red solo cup in hand).
As the finish line approaches and you realize you have to become a “real adult,” your social media image becomes more important than ever. Your new company isn’t going to care about your following/follower ratio, or how many times a week you post. Before you’re even hired, they’re going to have looked you up and at least done a quick scan of your accounts.
It’s time to accept reality and do some online spring cleaning.
The first thing to do is make sure that the “outside” of your profile looks good. Set your profile photo to one where you look like someone that people would like to hire. That doesn’t mean it has to be your LinkedIn headshot, just make it one where you look like the type of person it would be nice to work with.
Make sure your handle identifies you with your name. As boring as it sounds, it’s time to switch your handle to some combination of your first and last names. It looks professional and is easily identifiable.
Digging a little deeper, it’s now time to get to work cleaning up the content on your pages. Delete questionable posts, unlike all of those Facebook pages that you liked in middle school, and untag yourself from those terrible photos.
Try to keep your personality on your page. If you’re a comedian at heart, don’t delete all of your funny posts. If you love music, don’t take down the links to playlists and videos that you’ve shared.
Instead of making your online presence completely disappear, curate and grow it to something worth remembering.
Try to coordinate all branches of your social media. Have them all work together as a single unit. If you write a blog post for your Tumblr, share a related photo on your Instagram, Tweet the link to it, or even tell your Snapchat friends to check it out in your story.
Social media is one of the biggest tools PR professionals have. If you can’t manage your own, how can your boss expect you to manage a company’s?
By: Claire Parker
1. Assign leadership roles. No one likes a person who takes charge too quickly or does everything for the project. In that same light, it’s really hard to work with people on a team if they do nothing. Without hurting anyone’s feelings, it’s nice to assign everyone a role. For example, one person can always be in charge of scheduling the meeting spot, one person can keep everyone on time and on track, and another can keep people accountable for their work.
2. Schedule deadlines before the actual deadlines. Have you ever worked with anyone who saves their work for the last minute? This pretty much describes half of the population, but now there is a solution for it. Trick yourself and your group members into an earlier due date so you don’t have to stress the night before something is due. Whether you’re working together on a PR plan or a news release, you’ll feel much better about your early turn-in date than late one!
3. Physically work together. Your best ideas come out when you can bounce them off of other group members. Sometimes it’s hard to get together as an entire big group, but your writing will flow better, your ideas will work together and the strategies will translate into the timeline which will be in line with the budget. It’s tempting to put everything on a GoogleDoc and let people fill out different sections, but then the voice of the plan/paper won’t be congruent. Take the time to meet with your team, map out ideas and write.
4. Listen. Everyone has really creative ideas on projects, but sometimes it’s hard to stop talking and listen. If you’re a louder group member, take a second to sit back and hear what your other group members might have to say. You might surprise yourself and like their idea more than your own.
5. Celebrate as a team. Now that your project is done and you’ve turned it in, celebrate with your team members. Thank everyone for doing a great job and working really hard. Remind yourself that no matter what the grade is, everyone put their best into the project. You guys worked hard!
By: Adam Goodreau
Every June, over 11,000 delegates from all over the world travel to Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, France to celebrate creativity. The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is known to many as the largest assembly of professionals, designers, digital innovators and marketers. Gaining its inspiration from the Canes Film Festival, the seven-day festival awards and celebrates the best of creativity and brand communication within: Film, Film Craft, Media, Press, Outdoor, Cyber, Promo & Activation, Design, Radio, Mobil, Branded Content & Entertainment, Creative Effectiveness and PR.
How does PR make its way into an international festival of creativity?
According to Cannes Lions, “Public Relations is the creative use of reputation management by the building and preservation of trust and understanding between individuals, businesses or organizations and their publics/audiences.” To receive an award for PR at Cannes is to creatively demonstrate that there has been change within a corporate policy. Most importantly, that the change builds and preserves trust between any organization and its publics.
How does Cannes define change?
Anne Davis, PR jury president, says that the jury focuses on: “Creativity, innovation, freshness and ingenuity… Earned trust through influence powered by authenticity… Change. Change could be behavioral, or change in conversations, in minds, in lives, in societies, in laws… And then ultimately we asked the question, ‘Why does this work matter?”
What does this mean for you and me?
As PR professionals we should all be asking ourselves, “Why does this work matter?” Our work matters as we influence change. As communicators we have the ability to cause change within society by fostering interpersonal relationships. Through these relationships we can influence behaviors, policies, conversations and laws. In being influencers, we also have the ability to be creative. We can meet our audiences and publics through creativity, making the “story” compelling and relevant. Finding purpose and channeling creativity allows us to be effective agents of change.
By: Rosie Leuby
With many great triumphs in life, there will also be moments of failure. There are many different major public relations mistakes that have happened over the years that can teach future public relations practitioners what to be careful of. Here are just a few major mistakes found in public relations practices that one can learn from:
1. McDonald’s on TwitterAs a public relations move, McDonald’s promoted the use of a hashtag, #McDStories, on Twitter. Almost immediately after posting about their promotion, the hashtag was overwhelmed with negative comments about McDonald’s. They pulled the hashtag after only two hours and criticized Twitter users for their “snarky” comments. The lesson to learn here is that one cannot control the conversations on social media, and especially not act all that surprised when people say something that is not nice.
2. Coca-Cola‘s Carton Change
One of there products, Tropicana, was getting a new, cleaner-looking design on their cartons, instead of their signature orange with a straw image. It caused the customers to be upset and confused them when they were trying to purchase their favorite orange juice. The uproar caused Coca-Cola to quickly reverse their decision after the fan outcry. The lesson here is to stay true to the brand packaging.
3. Apple’s Steve Job’s Comment
When a post to the world, like a comment from Steve Jobs about the iPod being the “funnest” ever, has grammar issues, that message is no longer getting through to consumers as the word choice has distracted them. The lesson to learn here is how no one is immune to grammar mistakes and one should make sure that grammar rules are used correctly.
To learn more about public relations mistakes and lessons to learn from it, check out this link: http://thenextweb.com/entrepreneur/2012/05/05/11-major-public-relations-mistakes-and-how-to-learn-from-them/