Monthly Archives: February 2011

Deciding to freelance in a tough market: Can you? Should you? and How you can succeed.

Freelancing can be a tough decision to make, but sometimes it can provide you with the opportunities and freedom you need in order to succeed at your craft. When choosing between freelance work and a company to work for, you really need to weigh the positives and negatives before making a committment. Lexi Rodrigo has come up with some great tips on how to start a successful freelancing career.

Here are the cliff notes of her advice:

1. Know Yourself: What are your strengths and weakness’, your skills, and experience?

2.Know Your Resources: What are your tangible and intangible resources? (This includes your equipment, supplies, and personal connections.)

3. Set your Goals: Know what you want and make a list of how to accomplish your set of goals.

4. Know your client: Demographics (gender/age/location/etc.) and Psychographics (attitudes/beliefs/motivations/principles/etc.)

5. Examine the landscape: Know your competition.

6. Craft your marketing message and brand: who you are, what you have done, and how you can help your clients.

7. Package your services and rates: How to set your rates to be competitive and accurate in every market.

8.Make a business plan: Bplans.com

I found Lexi’s article to be filled with a wealth of content and have bookmarked it for use after graduation.

As always, I welcome your comments or questions, and appreciate links to other articles or websites you would like to share.

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Clearly Defined: Guidelines to Set for Social Media Policies

I read an article last night about “Twidiots”, and of course I instantly assumed it was something Twilight (the book and movie franchise that has taken over Hollywood in the past few years) related, but I was wrong 🙂 The basic theme of the article was about controlling what your employees and other company related people do while using online media.

I hadn’t really thought much about the fact that employees or other company professionals could damage the image of the company through Twitter or the internet, but what Steven Silvers (the author) said made complete sense and made me realize what a detrimental thing it can be to your company if the Twitter is not being used by the right hands! A Burston-Marsteller survey shows that approximately 77% of Fortune 500 companies are now using Twitter to post messages about their companies. WOW! That is a pretty big number to ignore. In Steven’s article he points out how there are now websites and other Twitter feeds that look for Twitter mistakes so they can point them out and make fun of them. OUCH. He gives an example of a recent resignation of a journalist who blasted another fellow journalist for her having been sexually assaulted while on assignment. The backlash he received for his short post has now ended his career and tarnished the reputation of New York University.

So, that brings us to the “How do I fix this?” stage. I found some really great examples of companies that have very clear guidelines for employees, vendors, and affiliates behaviors while using social media. I have listed below five that may help you write your own guidelines.

1. The Coca Cola Company

http://www.viralblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/TCCC-Online-Social-Media-Principles-12-2009.pdf

2. Cisco

http://blogs.cisco.com/news/ciscos_internet_postings_policy/

3. Dell

http://www.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/policy/en/policy?c=us&l=en&s=corp&~section=019&redirect=1

4. Intel

http://www.intel.com/sites/sitewide/en_US/social-media.htm

5. University of Oregon

http://www.communications.uoregon.edu/socialmedia

I hope the above list will help you as you navigate refining or implementing your guidelines for media policies and practices.

As always, I welcome your comments or suggestions. Please feel free to mention insightful links or articles that you would like. Thank you!

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Treasure the moments.

Have you ever thought about what really drives you? What makes you happiest? and how interesting it is that every single person has a different definition of what those “special”  things are.  Life is about the adventure, the magic is in  the steps that get you to that ending point, not the actual point itself (although that can be part of the charm and good feeling). 

An event is similar. Event planners work with clients to bring them an event that will make them happy, that they can be proud of. We accomplish these steps by providing our knowledge and experience to give the client the best options possible. It could even be said that along the way, the steps that you take with your client that will be the adventure, and eventually the finished event will be the ending point, the testimony or badge of honor an event planner can be proud of if handled properly.

In school we are consistently challenged to learn more, to stay active in communication, to network our tush’s off, and then to provide relevant interesting content, and that can be applied to client interaction as well. Event planners must enjoy helping other people communicate what they expect or hope for in an event, while making the process as stress free and enjoyable as possible. We have to be willing to step out of a comfort zone and meet other people, don’t be afraid to give business cards to anyone you meet-you never know who may need or know someone who needs an event planner’s help. It is imperative that we are up to date with the latest trends in design, colors, themes, drinks, and social causes-you could keep or lose a client over ingenuity or lack of, just by educating yourself.

Here comes the most important part:

Treasure the Moments.

Treasure the moments of your everyday life. Find things that make your journey enjoyable and filled with goodness. When we are positive, others feel that energy. It is much easier to be around someone who has an appetite for life, a smile that lights their eyes up, and enthusiasm rather than someone who acts as though they could care less, and that it’s just another job to them. Choose to live authentically, find your happiness while treasuring the things or people in your life that light you up, and in return you will be able to pass that warmth on to your clients.

Vanessa Simpkins, a marketing life coach, has some great tips for finding and living an authentic life. Her top ten are a really great way to get started. I highly recommend taking a few minutes and poking around some of the articles she has written on her website. I think that it is amazing that by making our own lives better, we can encourage others, we can inspire confidence, and we can show off our skills to our clients in a way that shows the enthusiastic style of living we lead.

As always, I welcome your comments and any websites or articles you might like to share-please feel free to comment. Thank You!

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GNI: A guide to planning a fun filled girls night in.

So, we are all familiar with planning a GNO (girls night out), but how about planning a GNI (girls night in) ? I’ve compiled some tips to make your event a success, no matter the size! A girls night in can happen in a home or if a sizeable enough event can happen at your favorite day spa. Many day spa’s are willing to accommodate private parties and will provide beverages and hors d’oeuvres at your request. They may even be able to offer hair and make-up services or an area for your stylist or make-up artist to set up. Typically to book a private party you will need at least 10 guests, but check with your chosen location in advance to see what requirements they have and any minimum fees they charge, and if they offer any discounts for large groups that book and pay in advance (super important to try to gather the minimum cost required from each participant in advance to minimize your chance of out-of-pocket expenses).

Then after gathering your information, choose a group of friends that will mesh well and keep the party fun but relaxing (this is not the time to invite your girlfriend who always gets totally drunk, likes to show off her vocal stylings, and hang all over people). The idea is to participate with your friends in an activity designed to relax and rejuvenate you.

Services to offer:

Beverages and a light snack:

Think wine or champagne for alcoholic beverages, and teas/water with lemon or cucumber slices/juice for non-alcoholic beverages.

For snacks-think light and healthy. Don’t be afraid of organic  products including dark chocolate. Fruit/berries/cheese/nuts/wafers are great cost efficient foods that are healthy and generally well received.

I’m also a fan of having a few disposable cameras to share and take (appropriate consensual) pictures with. I was at an event a few years ago where we did this and it was really fun. We got to take silly pictures of mud masked faces, relaxed looking pics of people getting mani/pedi’s, and before and after make-up/hair shots. The evening was a success and we all had a great time!

Since I live in Oregon I have listed a few of my favorite day spas to go to:

1. The Pearl Day Spa

1375 Pearl St. Eugene, OR 97401

(541) 683-3377

The services I have had done there: Massage, Facial, Body Wrap, and purchased Yon Ka products.

The interior is cute and it is located in a vintage house. It is cozy inside, but the staff is super friendly and the prices are comparable to other similar services in Eugene. The body wraps are amazing if you want to feel relaxed.

2. Anjou Day Spa

225 NW Franklin Ave, Suite 3 Bend, OR 97701

(541) 382-1138

Services I have had done: Couples massage, hot steam room.

The interior is very open and nicely appointed. I appreciate that they use all organic products. The therapy rooms are very large. The steam room is potent! The staff is friendly and the relaxation room is very comfortable, but can feel a little crowded with more than 4 or 5 people in it. The massage I received there is one of the best I have ever had-and it was a great value.

3. Salishan Day Spa

7760 HWY 101 North, Gleneden Beach, OR 97388

1-800-452-2300

Services I have had done: Couples Massage, River Rock Infinity Pool, Steam room

(Services I plan to do when I go in April: The clarifying facial and the Fire and Ice combo treatment)

The spa itself is quite spacious with sweeping views of the bay. The dressing room and showering facilities are top-notch. The massage room was a little small for a couples massage, but it was charming with a fireplace. The massage therapists were average, but the staff super friendly. The relaxation room is amazing-wall to wall windows with bay views and very contemporary lines. The robes they give you are the kind you want to take home:) My favorite part of the experience was the infinity edged outdoor lounging pool-did I mention it is entirely covered in small river rocks? Overall, a little expensive, but worth experiencing if you are on the Oregon Coast.

4. The Grand Lodge, McMenamins

3905 Pacific Ave. Forest Grove, OR 97116

(877) 992-9533

The services I have had done there: Prenatal massage.

The building and grounds are historic and charming. You can envision the kind of parties that required formal wear and gentleman in horse-drawn carriages. Charming and lush. I’m kind of an architecture nerd so this building made my heart flutter. The massage was comfortable and relaxing. They have an outdoor saltwater pool I wish I had tried, and the foot treatments look divine. The staff is friendly and the prices are a great deal. If you are in the Portland area do not miss this spa!

The last one I want to share with you is not in Oregon, but it is amazzzzzzing.

5. The Grand Wailea, Spa Grande

3850 Wailea Alanui Dr. Wailea, Maui, HI 96753

(800) 888-6100

Services I had done: Massage, use of the day spa (trust me it is unparalleled)

The massage was good, it seemed a little rushed. The real reason to go to this spa is downstairs. The spa is separated into mens and women’s sides. There are mud baths, mineral baths, hot pools of varying temperatures, Vichy showers, full body spray showers (fyi-if you use this, please remember that they are high-powered spray heads and if you aren’t clothed it can scare you a little bit!) and huge dressing rooms with opulent robes. This spa is the least private in the main area where all the general use pools and mud baths are, but it is unlike anything you have experienced before.

I hope I have inspired you to call your best gal pals and schedule an evening out that you all deserve!

As always, I welcome any questions or comments you might have, and if you have any websites or articles to share-please do!

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Top keys to success in a hard market.

With the american market in a recession it can be hard to attract new clients and encourage current clients to continue to spend at the same level as they once did. It can be hard to promote products that aren’t necessary but will add something special to events you are planning. A number of years back, I worked in the marketing industry and was a marketing manager for a large global emergency services product sales company. It was the toughest position I have ever held. My job required me to encourage and excite my customers so they would purchase more equipment (both necessary and non-necessary). I was praised for upselling (a term most of you know if you have ever worked any kind of sales job) but it was always hard for me to reconcile the actual needs of the customer (how much can we afford?) with the desire of my company (sell, sell, sell). The key to success is finding the middle ground. As an event planner, you are also a budgeteer, a cheerleader, an advisor, a leader, a listener, and you better have one heck of a creative streak. Thinking outside of the box and having a good sense of reading people’s signals are key to your success. Your clients will come to you because they don’t have the time, desire, creativity, or they need professional help to attain their vision. It is your job to guide them and make the process of the event an enjoyable one. Repeat clients are the ones who recognize your talents, know that you work hard to deliver a finished product, and feel that you make them a priority. They know that you listen to them and will show that appreciation through referrals and repeat business. Don’t underestimate the power of “word of mouth”. It can be your greatest ally or your worst enemy. I’ve searched the internet (business and event planning specific websites and come up with these 10 keys to success in a difficult market:

1. Education.

You must stay current with trends and have a great stockpile of ideas to pull from. Educate yourself online, through conferences, exploring, networking, and printed articles. In event planning and management you do not need to have an accredited degree, but it can help you fast track your career. Employers will expect that through your education you have been trained to step up and take on projects immediately with little or no supervision needed.

2.Flexibility

An absolute essential in business is the ability to be flexible and resilient. Roll with the punches, don’t let them knock you down. I have never been involved in an event that everything went right. Something always goes wrong or changes, expect it.

3. Attitude.

You can’t change what other people do, but you can change the way you react to it. Don’t let the small (or large) things ruin your mood or ability to lead, view the problems as challenges to be solved. Make the mountains into mole hills!

4. Choose Wisely.

Choose all the components of your planning and management wisely. From your team, to the design and implementation of the event. Choose reliable professionals you have worked with before or that come highly recommended from personal contacts. A great team can make any event run more smoothly, and good teamwork is essential in creating a united front for your clients to appreciate and view as professional.

5. Comparison shop.

The internet offers an amazing array of products and services. Don’t be afraid to ask your favorite vendors to match or beat prices you find on the same items online, to the prices they give you. You then can share the discount with your clients.

6. Customer Service.

There are an innumerable amount of business’ just like yours. If you don’t provide fast, friendly, efficient customer service-one of your competitors will.

7. The correct proposal.

When writing a bid for an event, know your numbers. Don’t under or over-estimate the costs, or your authority as a specialist will be compromised. Be careful not to make promises you can’t keep. Nothing loses clients faster than not delivering what you have told them was possible.

8.Professionalim.

You and your staff should present a professional front. It is imperative that calls/emails/texts/etc. are answered immediately or returned as soon as possible. When speaking with a client remember to treat them with respect. If your client feels that you are not professional, they are likely to take their business somewhere else. Dress appropriately, communicate respectfully, be on time or early, and don’t make assumptions, let your client become an integral part of the planning process so they have a stake in it.

9. Manage your timeline.

Make sure to appropriately plan your timeline. Give yourself wiggle room in case something goes wrong, this way you will have more time to find replacements/fixes. Utilize online planning software and calendars to stay organized.

10.Believe in yourself.

Confidence is essential, and when you have faith in yourself it is scientifically proven to boost your mood and make you more approachable. Keep a positive outlook and treat others kindly, and you will lessen your stress level with your upbeat can-do attitude.

So there are 10 things to think about for your success in the current market. There are a plethora more that I didn’t mention and I encourage you to share some of your favorite tips or ideas for success. As always I welcome your questions or comments, or if you want to share helpful websites/information please feel free!

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Event planners become “social butterflies”

As technology has changed the face of the entire business model, we as planners have to incorporate the new tools into our repertoire of promotion. Look at the audiences we are trying to reach and then demographically decide how to market our event to them in the most effective way possible. I’m not advocating against printed materials (brochures, fliers, posters, direct mailers), or commercials (television or radio), or even word-of-mouth. I’m asking you to expand your tools of the trade even farther: the internet. I will be using three well-known festivals as examples. In each instance the event planners decided the best way to reach the demographic and geographic most likely to attend each event. I think that each has strengths and weakness’ and could be enhanced by using social media (such as Facebook, Twitter, Email, LinkedIn, and others) to enhance promotion and reach a broader spectrum of interested individuals.

1. New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

504/410-4100

www.nojazzfest.com

New Orleans, Louisiana

Annual Attendance: 400,000

Length and Month: Seven days at the end of April

Demographic to reach: Music lovers (jazz, gospel, rock, rhythm and blues, latin, and african)

Marketing tool(s): “The festival’s Web site is the most aggressive Internet-based marketing tool,” notes Louis Edwards, associate producer of promotions, but he feels that it mostly “gives information” but isn’t as direct as the heavily promoted print and radio advertising they do locally and in larger metropolitan areas (more than 50% of attendees come from out of the state and other countries). Edwards notes that next year they would like to add more tactics, in the form of Twitter and Facebook. He is open to helping globalize his event in updated ways, and thinks that they would see a larger growth in attendees.

2. Charleston Wine + Food Festival
843/727-9998
www.charlestonwineandfood.com

Charleston, South Carolina

Annual Attendance: 15,000

Length and Month: A weekend in March

Demographic to reach: Foodies. Middle-aged and affluent(target audience).

Marketing tool(s): I give Ericka McMillan, the media/marketing manager major props for using all kinds of social media. As the event organizer she casts a wide net. Public Relations, the internet, grass-roots campaigns, email, guerilla marketing, and social media! (talk about covering all your bases!) McMillian believes in using social media to the fullest extent possible and uses Facebook and Twitter to send people to the website. She also tweets updated information to increase website views. McMillian said “Social media allows me as a media professional to have direct access to media if they are following me, and lessens the chance of a press release getting lost in an overloaded inbox.”

Wow! I want to give kudos to E.McMillian for utilizing the tools available-fyi–email, social media, and twitter are FREE and GLOBAL!

3.Extravaganza for the Senses
323/330-1653
www.thesabanfreeclinic.org/extravaganza

Los Angeles, California

Annual Attendance: 1,500

Length and Month: A weekend in July

Demographic to reach: Foodies with a heart (the event is a benefit for The Saban Free Clinic)

Marketing tool(s): Event coordinator Lenna Vanerian says “the event crew finds word of mouth most valuable people are more likely to try something that they have heard good things about firsthand.” She also relies heavily on promoting the event on Facebook, Twitter, and a website. She sends out messages via twitter and Facebook letting attendees know when new restaurants sign on or new raffle prizes are donated. They also use some printed materials, but find the options listed above to be most effective. Her organization utilizes a tool to minimize cost called Constant Contact to create e-blasts and online surveys. Because it sends blasts and can track who opens the emails, and forwards them this is a preferred event planning tool.

So-I’ve shown you three different events ranging from four years to forty in duration, and while the biggest number of attendees comes from the oldest event, that event uses the least amount of social marketing tools, but they are starting to expand into the newer business model and they expect to see massive returns once they are more globally approachable. The enthusiasm presented by the other two events about the benefits of social media usage is terrific! It makes me excited to think about the possibilities of using social media to expand any event. How can you argue with keeping past and current interested attendees updated immediately, while gaining traffic to your site, and doing it all for FREE? Sounds like a pretty great deal to me.

As always I welcome your questions or comments, and look forward to any websites or articles you would like to share.

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Stop. Smile, no, really smile…it’s good for you!

Stress. We all deal with it on a daily basis, and sometimes it can really overwhelm us. It can make a mountain out of a molehill sized issue, it can cause us to feel run-down or tired, to be terse with others, and make us generally just feel bad. It can affect our job performance and interpersonal relationships.It can pull the joy out of us faster than watching any movie nominated for The Razzies. The good news is that there are things we can do to lessen the impact that stress has on us. Elizabeth Scott, M.S. from About.com recommends following these seven habits to turn any bad day around.

  • Talk to someone you trust and who will encourage you. Someone who will listen and support you in a way that makes you feel comfortable.
  • Do a random act of kindness with no expectation of reciprocation.
  • Take a 10 minute break. Meditate, relax, just breathe.
  • Think about all the things you have to be thankful for in your life. Try to internalize those happy thoughts.
  • Blow off steam through an activity you enjoy. Take a walk, go hiking, play foosball, or any activity that gets you excited and moving.
  • Chocolate. Not the entire box, just 1 ounce of dark chocolate actually releases endorphins that elevate your mood naturally.
  • Decide to look at the day as though it is a challenge rather than a horrible day. Try to beat it.

I also find that when I’m having a bad day I like watching a comedic movie, listening to funny radio programs, or upbeat music makes me feel better. I try to smile even when it seems like it might be an impossibility. It’s clinically proven that when you smile it actually helps you feel better, it relaxes the muscles on your face and reduces your stress level. I try to think of (now funny, but not when it happened) situations that seemed horrible, but ended up teaching me a lesson or made me laugh(eventually). Once when my youngest son was three, I had taken him on a two-mile walk in his Cadillac sized stroller. It’s a monster, a beast. The sky was clear and sunny, so I wore a light jacket. Now we get to the fun parts-I forgot my cell phone and wallet. We got a mile into the walk and my back tire went flat. Then, it literally started to rain. LITERALLY!!! At this point I am almost in tears. I beg two quarters from a gas station attendant to make a phone call. My husband isn’t answering. I call my mom and she has to leave work to come pick us up. Absolutely horrid day. When I got in her car I started crying. Then I started laughing at the thought of the absolutely perfect chain of events that totally hosed me. I mean really?? All that and rain? Now, when I think about that story I laugh about it. It was a really bad day, but there is something to be learned from the bad days (besides remembering your wallet and cell phone) you have to minimalize the not-so-fun parts and remember that it is just one day. It’s not everyday, it’s not most days. I can make it through because I am a strong person, and today may suck, but as Scarlett O’Hara said in Gone With The Wind “Tomorrow is another Day”.

Make it count.

As always, I welcome feedback from my readers and hope to hear from you! Do you have a site that you find helpful? Do you have a blog or website that you follow and would like to recommend to others? Let’s build our online community!

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Superbowl Sunday Entertaining made easy. (Drink recipe’s included!)

Today’s blog will be all about your favorite sports teams and making this Superbowl Sunday an event to celebrate. We have the Pittsburg Steelers and the Greenbay Packers battling it out for the right to be the NFL’s champion team. Now as hostess’ with the mostess’ we have an obligation, a duty, bred into our American genes to plan and properly execute an amazing, yes-amazing beverage and food filled football day!

It’s like Thanksgiving all over again-cept the food is in miniature and your guests will be yelling, grandma is drunk at the table, and oh wait, I guess it is more like Thanksgiving than I realized (sorry-couldn’t help but joke there!)

I’ve compiled some ideas to help you use as a starting point:

Pick a theme. Choose your colors carefully 🙂 Minimal decorations, keep it simple, so that you will have less to clean up after your guests leave.

Ask your guests to wear their team colors, and to bring a side-dish, salad, or dessert (if you feel comfortable-ask in advance what they are bringing to avoid multiple’s of the same dish). I’ve listed some more ideas below to help get you started on your way to a fun and organized event, oh yeah, and drink recipe’s.

Enjoy!

Designate a food area or table.

1.Set up crock-pots and warming trays to keep hot foods a safe and yummy temperature (lilsmokies taste better hot!).

2.Put brightly colored plastic bins filled with ice underneath or to the side of the tables.

3.Give two to three beer options in one or two bins, and keep the non-alcoholic beverages to a separate side (no drunk kids at the party that way!).

4.Keep a towel near the tables for quick clean-ups (the spouse/the kids-yeah, we all know how that works!).

5.Put plastic utensils, cups, plates, and napkins on the table (fun to have these be in your favorite team’s colors).

6. If possible position the table to accommodate people on both sides (buffet style).

7.Make sure that each scoopable item has its own serving utensil.

Other notes:

Turn the heat down a little, bodies + alcohol+ sports=extra heat.

If someone is planning on grilling, give enough time to be finished at least 30 minutes prior to the game.

Have a football ready in case a half-time home game is necessary 🙂

Pets can be overwhelmed by yelling (even joyful yelling) and large groups of people, so finding a safe and quiet spot can help lessen their stress.

and my last tidbit is to Enjoy Yourself Responsibly! Go Team! and now for the game day drink recipes—

MOJITO

1.5 oz. Malibu Coconut Rum

6 oz. clear soda (I prefer Sierra Mist Natural or Fresca)

6 oz. Rose’s Mojito Cocktail mix

Add the ingredients to a shaker and shake it up!

Pour over ice and garnish with a fresh sprig of mint.

Voila–yummy and light all in one cup.

JALISCO HIGH TEA

1.5 oz. reposado tequila

1.5 oz. lemon verbena tea

.25 oz. cherry heering liquor

.5 oz. simple syrup

splash of lime

Add ingredients to shaker, shake away like it’s a shake weight, strain it over ice, and serve. (Note-this was served at the Patron superbowl party in Miami last year.)

TIC-TAC

1 oz. orange rum

1 oz. triple sec or vodka

1 oz. orange juice

1 oz. Red Bull

Mix well and enjoy.

PINK POWER RANGER (not just for kids anymore)

1 oz. of citrus vodka,

6 oz. of club

1 oz. of watermelon pucker

Combine the vodka and club soda in a highball glass with ice. Sink the watermelon pucker to the bottom of the glass and serve with 2 straws. Drink the entire beverage at once, keeping the straws at the bottom of the glass to drink it bottom to top. (Sorry-no image available.)

Screwed-Up Screwdriver (picture at top of page)

1/4 cup ice
1/2 cup orange or tangerine juice
2 oz. black vodka
1 black licorice twist, for garnish

Place ice in a highball glass. Pour juice into glass. Pour vodka over the back of a cocktail spoon into glass so it sits on top of juice. Slice ends off a licorice twist and use as a straw.

And with that my friends, I am off to enjoy a perfectly shaken Mojito.

I welcome feedback from my readers and hope to hear from you! Do you have a site that you find helpful? Which search engines are your favorites? Do you have a blog or website that you follow and would like to recommend to others? Let’s build our online community!

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Top 25 skills needed after graduating with a Public Relations degree.

What will I need to know, I mean really have a solid grasp of, in order to be a solid team-mate upon graduating from college? Well, in an article I recently read the author opened up a discussion question and invited current professionals to comment on the skills that Public Relations representatives need to possess upon graduation.

  1. Curiosity
  2. A strong desire to learn
  3. Great writing and editing skills
  4. Social media skills
  5. Presentation skills
  6. A solid record of work experience
  7. The ability to tell the truth.
  8. A love of storytelling
  9. The common sense of knowing the value of maintaining and cultivating relationships.
  10. A solid understanding of business and community.
  11. Inquisitive passion.
  12. Communication skills
  13. Asking the right questions, and then listening to the answers.
  14. Manage your reputation carefully. You only get one.
  15. Dress professionally.
  16. Think carefully before posting anything, private or public.
  17. Research your client’s business and evaluate the needs they have.
  18. Ask lots of questions from more experienced co-workers.
  19. Strategize.
  20. Think strategically. Understand the situation.
  21. Plan strategically. Build effective strategies to best serve your client and their publics.
  22. Find ways to become a valuable asset to your company.
  23. Focus on business basics: Keep appointments, be early, answer your phone, and respond as quickly as possible.
  24. Understand the basics of PR. 1. The story. 2. The audience 3. Storytelling 4. Measuring results
  25. Produce.

Something else I would add is the ability to work in an ever-changing and sometimes highly stressful environment. Be prepared to fill lots of roles, and don’t expect your new position to be like a school assignment. In real life, you have to produce to get paid. There are rarely do-overs, and respecting others is KEY. You can be the kind of team-mate others respect and enjoy working with, or you can be the person that they talk about at lunch. As we finish up school and our graduation dates quickly approach, let us strive for excellence, let us be the university, the class, the individuals who bring “something special” to the table, let us be catalysts for professionalism in the workplace and global community.

As always, I welcome questions or comments. If you have links or articles to share, please feel free to send them in.

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