3 PR Skills I’ve Learned While Being an RA
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.
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.
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.
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.