Being at a university is a great experience allowing you to expand your knowledge, work up your interests and develop certain skills, there’s no doubt in that. However there there are things you can’t learn from lectures and books and knowledge that can’t be relay to us by the best teachers. I’m talking about lessons that can only be learned through experiences.
Recently, I volunteered and had an opportunity to perform in the role of a PR coordinator for the UWE Global News Relay team of journalism students.
I was more than excited! It was not only a great opportunity to learn, but also to prove myself with prior knowledge. I’ve done my research. Ideas were falling in to my head one by one, as if someone stood next to me with an ideas-loaded gun aimed right in my head giving one shot after another. I’ve planned everything, from the press release, through ideas of content to be published on social media platforms, to making a list of potential guests and journalists from local media to be invited to the event. Not gonna lie, my expectations as to my work and the final result were quite high. All I needed was collaboration of journalists students involved in the project and that’s when I was brought down to Earth.
Here’s what I’ve learnt from running a project as a UWE Global News Relay PR coordinator:
People don’t understand Public Relations
Whether it’s still PR’s bad reputation on its back or general luck of one’s knowledge, I’ve realised that people really don’t understand the concept of Public Relations. What’s more, for the reason of the luck of understanding people you’re suppose to work with may turn out unwilling to collaborate. And I don’t mean uneducated people, I mean even those very intelligent and driven in the field of their study individuals. You’re not an enemy, but they don’t know that. Get ready for some serious explaining.
Most of the time people will try to give you short shrift
“I’ll sent it to you later” was probably the sentence I heard the most often from people. And guess what…I was usually never sent anything from anyone. Persistence is, I think, the most important quality for PRs and it’s something that most of us (students) needs to learn if we want to be good in our job. Pushing people harder, in order to get what you want isn’t something that’s natural for me. I don’t like feeling like I’m too insistent. Guess what tho? Sometimes there’s no other way around, you have to learn to be more assertive and deal with your fear of people perceiving you as bossy or intrusive.
There’s always going to be more work to be done than you think
– expect the unexpected.
If you thought, that all you need to invite all the interviewees who appeared in journey students’ TV package is to take their details of the students and just give them a call, then you couldn’t be more wrong. I wasn’t given a one single full contact – it was really good when I was given an actual personal email address. Sometimes it was just their name, sometimes just an email to their work placement…sometimes it was only just a phone number to someone who knew the interviewee and recommended them as a contact to talk to.
Yeah, it does take a while to get in touch with people who you don’t have much information on.
It’s only one of the examples. Advice to self for the next time? Prepare for things going wrong and make sure you have some extra time in reserve.
4. Your flexibility is gold!
“I’ll let you know, when I have time” is the second thing I heard the most often. You have to be ready for people letting you know about things not far in advance at all. Always check you phone, emails and social media accounts, there’s a chance, that at 10pm you’ll receive an email saying you need to be somewhere at 8am the next morning if you want what you were asking for. And that’s fine, if you want to be a PR you’re probably not a type of person who’s afraid of hard work!
Summing up my effort with the Global News Relay project? Nothing wen’t the way I planned it, hahahah. And I think it’s fine..because I know what to expect next time and what skills to work on. I guess that’s how you learn!
Have a great Thursday everyone! 🙂