• Sean'dre Reid

Being a Residential Assistant is all about creating an inclusive environment for students to succeed both academically and socially. Throughout this interactive process I have gotten to connect with students from all walks of life. Because of these interactions, I have been able to grow and develop in a variety of different ways. Here are three public relations skills I’ve learned while being an RA.

Public Speaking

The sheer thought of speaking in front of two dozen first-year college students was very intimidating at first. Public speaking was never my strong suit, but it is a crucial part of my job. I thought public speaking was scary, and that it was a skill that only comes naturally. I started to consider this as a good opportunity to improve my public speaking skills. Constantly interacting with residents on a daily basis calmed my nerves and made public speaking not so intimidating. After a while, it almost became second nature and with multiple community events and community meetings, I began to feel comfortable. The best way to get over the fear of public speaking is to practice. Being an RA has helped me develop the skill of public speaking that will help me in my future PR career.

Interpersonal Communication

One of the primary roles as an RA is to interact with residents and build those connections. Interpersonal communication is all about exchanging information, feelings, and meaning; it’s face-to-face communication. Throughout this process, I have gained confidence in my interpersonal communication skills. Residents come to me with a variety of issues looking for advice and I often have to adapt based on a resident’s needs. In these scenarios, I must be a mentor, a mediator, a counselor, or even just a friend. Interpersonal communication goes beyond just relaying information, it’s the language used, how it’s said, and the non-verbal messages. I like to emphasize the importance of these conversations being two-way communication. It can be easy to think of communication as a sender and a receiver of a message, but communication is more complex than that.

Crisis Communication

Being the Primary RA on duty can be very stressful. While on call, I have to answer the phone and assist with any issues that residents may have. These issues range from lockouts to hospital transports. Crisis communication is all about decision-making and how to manage a crisis effectively, and being an RA has taught me how to actively respond to a variety of crises that arise. Rather than getting overwhelmed and stressed, I have a different outlook on crisis communication, and what steps I need to take to resolve the crisis.

Not everyone is going to be an RA, so I would encourage any students looking to grow and develop skills to start where they can. Explore different opportunities in classes, internships, or even campus organizations. Experience comes in a variety of forms, make the initiative to build new skills to help you grow as a PR professional.

This blog was written by Sean'dre Reid, Secretary.

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  • Lillian Sclafani

Over the summer I had the amazing opportunity of being a Public Relations Intern at FYI Brand Group located in SoHo, in lower Manhattan New York. FYI Brand Group is an award winning 360-degree brand strategy, communications and brand marketing agency that creates road maps for clients using a holistic business model. They work closely with pop culture, in sectors such as art, fashion, entertainment and especially music artists. The position I held was focused around the company's overarching mission, of creating a story and then telling it. Throughout the summer spent working for the company, I learned a lot about PR and what it's like working in an agency.

Below, I included a list of my main takeaways from the internship that I wanted to share!

PR Agency Experience

The position was hybrid, meaning that some days I’d have to commute into the city and others I was able to work from home. I worked a schedule of three days a week, 9am-6pm, which was interchanging based on blast press releases. At the start of every morning, the intern team and myself would do media monitoring. This meant going through news articles, social media, and web search to find the newest gossip on celebrities. After we found coverage on artists such as Doja Cat, Steve Aoki, DJ Khalid and more, we moved on to news/magazine sites. Here, we collected the latest articles and posted them into a shared google doc. Once this was complete (which would take about two hours) we would send it promptly to the FYI Group team at 11am. This was necessary because the LA Office and NY Office split up the news coverage, so we would gain coverage in return. Afterwards, we would look at our task sheet for the day. These roles varied from day to day, and many times we would have to quickly hop on another task that was priority. I think the biggest challenge I quickly learned working in PR is that things are constantly changing. You never know if an artist will decide to release an album and the client would need a press release within the hour. Being able to adapt and work in a fast paced environment is crucial when working in the field of public relations.

Market Research

Another huge takeaway was all the different hats I would have to fill. The intern team had to have a grasp on a majority of PR strategies, and if you didn’t have experience, you were quickly taught. Some of the work included; creating press clippings/media recaps, outreach, tracking client coverage, pulling editorial contracts off Cision, updating media lists and clients electronic press clips. I also had to draft media kits and therefore, press releases for clients. The best feeling was formatting a press release for an a-list client that reached the media effectively. By the end, I can confidently say that I had a comprehensive understanding of certain daily activities that go on in an agency.

Client Needs & Goals

Overall, the experience taught me the value and importance of PR. There is a lot more power that we hold than most people think. To be effective, we must be able to write in a way that benefits the client in the public eye. This idea of creating change through content was difficult at times when evidence pointed in the other direction. This goes hand and hand with risk management strategies. Not only do we have one chance to do it right, but we have to do it quickly before any more damage is done. Another major factor that played into my role was proper outreach to news outlets. In order to cultivate a good campaign, we had to align these client artists with top-tier media that fit their brand. This brand varied depending on our clients field, for example, FYI worked with multiple pop-culture industries in fashion, music, sports or social impact.

Oftentimes, I’d find myself sending media blasts to hundreds of potential online news sources. Out of these a hundred or so prospects, you could expect only between 1-5 responses (and this is just the initial step). We would then have to communicate with the team regarding any questions they may have or if they needed additional information. This goes back to the qualities that make up a good PR professional, which I can strongly say, is being able to adapt, time manage, and communicate effectively. Handling rejections is also a huge aspect of the role.

In the end, I learned a lot about the career, but also about myself. I knew after the internship had ended what I could work to improve on. I also had a better understanding of the different sectors and roles within the PR industry in the real world. Along with the tasks I enjoyed doing, and those few that I would always want to pass on. I learned the value of teamwork and how team communication both external and internally is extremely important. With FYI, I was lucky enough to have been able to work with top clients in the media while also having that strong supporting team of people.

This blog post was written by Lillian Sclafani, Digital Publications Editor.

  • Temple PRSSA

Happy Monday PRSSA! Our blog member spotlight and Member Monday of the week goes to Gavin Joyce. Below is a Q&A interview we had with Gavin where he gives detail about himself and his favorite parts of Temple PRSSA.

Q: What year are you?

A: Junior

Q: What is your major/minor?

A: Public Relations

Q: Where are you from?

A: Scranton, PA

Q: How long have you been a member of PRSSA?

A: Since last semester

Q: Why do you love PRSSA? What do you hope to get out of it?

A: I love being around other people who are passionate about communications. I hope to just get as involved as I can and meet new people along the way.

Q: What committee are you a part of? What have you done with this committee?

A: I am a member of the community service committee, and so far, I had the opportunity to help with a thrifting event benefiting North Broad Renaissance. We have a canned food drive planned for Sunday, November 14th outside of the Fresh Grocer in support of the Cherry Pantry!

Q: What PRSSA events have you participated in?

A: Since I joined rather recently, I haven't had an opportunity to participate much until now, but I loved all the guest speakers we had last semester.

Q: What other TU organizations are you a part of?

A: They're currently on hiatus this semester, but I am involved with the Temple Music Business Club and hope to do more with the organization next semester.

Q: Coolest place you’ve ever traveled to?

A: I took a trip to St. Lucia in 2019, and it was incredibly beautiful there and unlike anywhere else I've ever traveled to. I was never on an island before that trip, so it really was a great experience.

Q: Favorite social media platform and why?

A: I enjoy browsing Twitter the most because it helps me stay updated on the music industry and other areas of interest. Instagram is a close second because of how addicting it is.

Q: Dream job?

A: I plan on becoming a publicist or manager in the music industry and travel around the world with my client, taking on the trials and tribulations of a career in music.

My Instagram handle is @gavinjoyce_

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