See my blog post called "Time management key to success" for the student-run PR firm at Ohio University, ImPRessions. I am the Co-Account Executive for the local College Book Store. ImPRessions has its own Web site and blog. Also, please check out the fall edition of ExPRessions, the organization's newsletter. There is a post about my account's success for fall quarter called "College Book Store's homecoming" on page 3. :)

The 5 Influential Experiences

When: Nov 5-10
Where: 2009 PRSSA National Conference in San Diego, California

The First Influence: Arianna Huffington
When: Sunday, November 8
Where: PRSA General Session

Arianna Huffington, the creator and editor of The Huffington Post, received a warm welcome from thousands of PRSA and PRSSA members. She is not a PR professional, but a reporter who has worked with countless PR pros on a daily basis. Out of her valuable speech, one quote stuck with me: "Framing is key." This goes not only with journalism but also public relations because you need to grab the attention of your readers before anything else, which all depends on how it looks and appeals to them. Huffignton explained that if she hadn't "framed" the blog post about Joe Biden's retirement, it would not have grabbed as many readers' attentions. She said that the frame causes drama, which is what people want and are drawn to.

The Second Influence: Wendell Potter
When: Sunday, November 8
Where: PRSA General Session with Arianna Huffington

Confronted with corrupted PR decisions, Wendell Potter told his story. He worked in an insurance industry where customers were treated unfairly. At this insurance company, he was required to use a front group and share untruthful information about the purposes and services that the company can provide. To justify his reasoning and guilt, he told himself that he was telling the public what they wanted to hear. "If you start to do it for so long, you think it's okay," he admitted. He told Huffington that we should all ask ourselves if we could tell our parents, family members and friends what we do for a living--if we can't, is it ethical? "If you're in constant fear, do a check and ask yourself," said Potter. He decided to share his experiences because he felt it would make a difference to others. Instead of working unethically, he is writing a book about it and his life experiences dealing with it.

The Third Influence: Dr. Joseph V. Trahan III
When: Saturday, November 7
Where: PRSSA Professional Development on Media Relations - "Palm Trees & Press Releases"

Dr. Joseph Trahan is the president and CEO of Trahan & Associates. His enthusiasm and knowledge about his work makes the whole room excited to listen. He started with what he called the "three C's of media relations." The first one was being in CONTROL even when asked the difficult questions you're not aloud to answer or don't have the answer to. COMPETENCE is the second "C" and it means to stay in your own lane, do what you're supposed to and don't make up answers, lie, or do things you don't need to. For the final "C," Trahan said to have CONCERN for everything you do. Along with each "C" comes preparation such as one hour of prep time for every minute of airtime at news conferences, and commanding messages such as short, clear, honest and simple messages. Explain (from the heart, not generic) what you want the audience to remember.

The Fourth Influence(s): Ron Culp and Kevin Saghy
When: Saturday, November 7
Where: PRSA Professional Development on A View From the Top: How Young Talent Can Stand Out

Both speakers are professionals at Ketchum in Chicago but each are at different areas of their careers. Ron Culp gave the perspective through a Senior Executive's position and Kevin Saghy as a Junior Assistant. Each PR professional explained their generation's idea of success, contrasted the answers and compared the results from their peers. From a senior professional, being a team-player is most important for new pros to stand out. On the other hand, for a junior professional, they answered that going the extra mile is what counts. To succeed, each side has a similar answer: produce quality work. However, the senior pros recommend new pros know the business while junior pros are concentrated on exploring new areas. If junior pros don't own up to their mistakes but instead throw their co-workers under the bus, they have committed the Cardinal Sin in PR. Senior professionals would rather new professionals don't seek credit all the time but instead follow their team's agenda. Advice from senior to junior: "be current, curious and creative" and even if you're in the hot seat knocking elbows with the VP, don't be intimidated but contribute ideas and brainstorm as much as possible.

The Fifth Influence(s): Harry Medvet & Bill Shaikin
When: Sunday, November 8
Where: PRSSA Professional Development on Entertainment & Sports - "Entertainment & Sports PR Roundtable"

Harry Medvet: Head of PR at Fandango. Always take the chance even when you don't think you can, especially for that dream job. Research the place you want to work before the interview. Be the actor in a way by reading every article, being enthusiastic and pretending to be the person as if you have the job already.

Bill Shaikin: Sportswriter for LA Times. Everyone is interested and has an opinion on entertainment and sports. Because of this, social media can make it a blessing and a curse. In all of journalism, it is about building those contacts, especially when 95% of jobs aren't advertised.