The Little Actions Matter

By: Katie Speice, @katiespeice


Networking can be a daunting, dreaded aspect of public relations if one isn’t wired to love the flirty thrill of face-to-face communication. It is inevitable that a public relations professional is going to experience hand to hand, face to face, good, old-fashioned networking at some point in his or her career. However, increasing relationships on social media, and frequent online business, has left aspiring young professionals with sweaty handshakes and quivering voices when networking. I’ve scoured my favorite etiquette guides and tapped into the psyche of seasoned network pros to gather some tips and tricks of the trade.

First Impressions:

Networking requires strong body language and communication. No matter how impressive your resume may be, you need to hone in on your best presentation and people skills According to psychologist Albert Mehrabrian, these are the key factors in a first impression:

  • 55% Nonverbal communication (body language and appearance)
  • 38% Vocal Quality
  • 7% Words


Business introductions should be made based on the hierarchy of the relationship. If Mrs. Smith is the CEO and her employee Mr. Jones is introducing Ms. Hays, a new employee, the introduction should resemble: “Good morning Mrs. Smith (CEO). I’d like to introduce to you Ms. Hays, a new employee in our marketing department. Mrs. Smith is our new CEO.” You should always address authority figures first and introduce others  to them. The word you should follow to. Hence: “I’d like to introduce to you.”

Other tips:

  • Always stand up to shake the hand of the person you’re greeting. The only exception is if you are physically unable to do so due to personal or environmental reasons. This shows respect and attention for the person you’re greeting.
  • Remain engaged eye contact with you person you’re speaking to. Fail to do so, and you can appear uninterested and untrustworthy.
    • To best remember a new name be alert when the name is first introduced in the conversation. Then try to use the name frequently in your networking conversations. This will help with your retention. If you happen to forget the name, it is okay to something like, “I apologize but I’m a little forgetful at the moment; please remind me of your name.”

Conversation Topics:

To ensure smooth and intelligent conversations keep up to date on all current affairs and pop culture. This way you can easily bring into conversation, “What do you think of . . .” If you want to make the news, you have to know the news.

Other tips:

  • Master the art of listening. When you intently listen to others it makes you seem genuine and encourages open conversation.
  • Make sure to let the other person finish talking before you add your two cents.
  • Feel out a conversation to see when it is naturally coming to an end. As it draws to a close, include a few comments of appreciation or a closing comment on an already mentioned topic from your conversation. This way you ensure a concrete end to a conversation and leave it on a good foot.

Networking Trips 101: The Do’s and Don’ts

By: Morgan Borer, @MorganBorer

Networking 2

This weekend, I traveled to the city that’s just as famous for its deep-dish pizza and hot dog stands, as it is for the Sears Tower: Chicago. I arrived at the Felix Hotel late Thursday evening with four other members of PRSSA, tired and weary-eyed from the exhaustive drive. I quickly unpacked my bags, located my planner and itinerary and hopped into bed. I was eager for a full day of networking with Scripps PRSSA.

I have traveled to Chicago a few times prior to this weekend, but I found myself unprepared for this networking trip. For example, while walking downtown during our lunch break on Friday, I frantically called my dad pleading him to deposit money into my account, I had seven dollars.

I was also shivering and attempting to warm my hands, to no avail. I also failed to bring a decent winter jacket and gloves. It’s almost April, so it must be warm in the city, right? Wrong. Fortunately, I was surrounded by people who really had it together and helped make this weekend the experience of a lifetime, despite my poor planning!

After reminiscing on the trip, I’ve conjured up a few “Do’s” and Dont’s” of Networking in the City.

Do dress for the weather

Check the local weather at least one week in advance, and begin planning appropriate outfits and outerwear. If you’re traveling to a city, like Chicago, with cooler temperatures, pack extra gloves, hats, scarves, socks, tights and a warm coat. Also, bring appropriate shoes! Flats are much more comfortable for getting in and out of cabs than heels. Stash your heels in your bag to change into at your destination.

Do your research

Know the companies and professionals that you are visiting before you walk in the door. Visit the company website, read recent press releases, and be well-informed about what they are doing in the news. Come prepared to each meeting with intelligent, thoughtful questions. Professionals will be impressed when you show that you’ve done your homework.

Do soak it in

You’re a student, so act like a sponge and soak everything in. Listen closely to what each professional has to say. Oftentimes, they offer valuable interview tips and career advice. In Chicago, several of the professionals spoke about their own personal journey after college, and how they ended up working in public relations. Pay attention to the company culture and the environment and watch how employees interact with one another.

Do follow up

Bring your resume and business card to each place you visit, and be sure to collect business cards before you leave. After the visit, send each professional a personalized follow-up email. Thank them for meeting with you and discussing the company. You can always add a compliment, or mention something specific you liked about the company. For example, when I followed up with Groupon, I mentioned how I loved the Tiki bar in the middle of the office. Additionally, reach out to each professional on Twitter or LinkedIn and send them a message. These connections will be important during job hunting season.

Don’t be on your phone

Warning: If you’re like me and have an emotional and physical attachment to your iPhone, this will be difficult. However, it’s extremely important to stash your phone away and pay attention. Professionals will notice if you seem distracted or uninterested in the presentation and their company. At one of the agencies I visited, an employee blatantly pulled out his phone multiple times throughout the presentation, giving me a negative impression of the agency. Be polite and engaged.

Don’t feel like you have to have your life planned out

A networking trip is an opportunity to sample a little bit of everything from the buffet. You don’t need to know exactly what you want, or where you want to work. If you are set on working for a non-profit, that’s excellent, but keep your options open. One professional I spoke with told me that in college he never wanted to work in advertising or marketing, and that’s exactly what he does today. Don’t be intimidated by the young, cool, seemingly know-it-all professionals. They started out right where you are.

Don’t forget to smile

Finally, don’t forget to smile! Make good eye contact and smile at everyone you meet. You will likely grow tired, hungry, or in desperate need of a 3 p.m. Starbucks run. However, making an effort to stay upbeat and positive will make each visit more enjoyable. Display genuine kindness and people will definitely notice.

Myth-Busting: Introverts in PR

By: Emily Barber, @emilybarbershop


The stereotypical image that comes to mind when picturing a public relations professionals is someone who is loud, outgoing, talkative and extremely social; a.k.a. an extrovert. While many people in PR fit this description, there’s also another group that doesn’t fit the same mold – introverts. According to Introvert Retreat, about half of the population is introverted, so some of them are bond to make their way into PR. This means that these individuals enjoy spending time alone to recharge and relax. Despite these inward tendencies, introverts can still be successful in PR, and here are a few reasons why:

1. You choose your words carefully

Introverts tend to be more reserved, and therefore think before they speak. While those extroverts are posting tweets that could damage a brand’s reputation, you take the time to carefully select each of your 140 characters.

2. You’re detail-oriented

Much like their strategic word choices, introverts pay attention to detail. They are good listeners and like to take their time, so you know every event planned by an introvert is sure to be a success.

3. You value your relationships

Network, network, network. As PR people, we hear this all the time. Rather than making short, shallow connections with a bunch of different people, introverts develop strong relationships. In a business where it’s all about who you know, introverts can be sure that their connections will help them out.

4. Introversion ≠ poor communication skills

A common misconception of introverts is that they are awkward communicators, but this is far from the truth. Introverts do not necessarily have inadequate social skills; they simply gain energy from being alone. They can still give a killer speech, network like a pro, or control mobs of prying journalists – they just might need a little quiet time after!

I grew up with an introverted mother and an extroverted father, so I consider myself to be somewhere in the middle of these two personality traits. I enjoy talking with and meeting new people, but I will also choose staying home and reading a book, instead of going to a party sometimes. Nevertheless, I have no doubt in my mind that I will someday be a successful PR pro. Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between, PR can be your thing, as long as you’re dedicated, driven, and passionate!

Do as I say, not as I do – senior advice on my freshman mistakes

By: Logan Trautman, @logantrautman


It could be the fact that the final semester of my final year at OHIO is quickly coming to a close, but recently I’ve been reflecting back on the last four years. As I try to plan my post-grad life, when I’m not hyperventilating, I catch myself thinking what I would have done differently in the years leading up to these final months to better prepare myself for what lies ahead.

Internships are not for upperclassmen only

I have held three internships since being in college; all three took place within my junior and senior years. It is easy to think that you have endless time at OU, but please, go explore the world of internships early. You probably won’t get the internship of your dreams as a sophomore, but gain the experience now that will help you secure that dream internship as a senior. Plus, why wouldn’t you rather do a fun, worthwhile internship, rather than a summer job passing out free samples at Costco? I’m not sure either, ask my underclassman self.

Seniors are not scary

As a freshman, I was terrified of seniors. Who wouldn’t be? They looked like they were ten years older than me, they beamed professionalism, and they could drink… legally. As a senior, I love freshmen. In fact, the freshmen on my ImPRessions team are a few of my favorite people in Athens. As a freshman, you are encouraged to network, but approaching someone who is soon to graduate while you still have the “greatest four years” ahead of you is intimidating and easily avoided. As a senior, I welcome any underclassman that allows me to ramble about college. A bobcat is a bobcat, regardless of class rank.

Do not underestimate the power of a good schedule

Every semester, we all face the same slightly irritating routine of scheduling classes. As much as you want to take classes with newly made friends, in buildings that are only a five-minute walk, choose wisely. The hard truth is that some professors are better suited for you than others, and some courses will teach you more than you expected. Do your research, talk to upperclassmen, and take classes that will benefit your learning experience. I know taking a course in scuba diving is tempting, but think about your future!

There are clubs that exists outside the Scripps world

The world of Scripps is fascinating. It presents you with such a diverse group of people and opportunities. You know what other world is fascinating? The business world, or fine arts, or even the engineering world! It’s easy to get caught in the Scripps bubble, but explore! Join organizations comprised of people in all different majors. After all, in PR, it’s your job to know EVERYONE!

The Importance of Staying in Touch

By: Jessica Carnprobst, @jess_carnprobst


As you begin making connections, it’s extremely important to keep them. This summer, I interned with WordWrite Communications, a boutique PR agency in Pittsburgh, and because I stayed in touch and on their radar, they asked me to come back over Christmas break. As I was leaving last Friday, they all asked me to stay in touch. So as I logged out of my work computer and walked out of their office for the last time, I thought of all the reasons I really wanted to do so. First and foremost, I enjoyed my time with them, and I want to hear how they are doing. Secondly, who knows where I’ll be after graduation, or if I’ll need a job in Pittsburgh. Lastly, everyone in that office is more than willing to help me in any way they can. Staying in touch with employers is not just a good suggestion; it’s something we all should absolutely be doing.

It’s polite to stay in touch with your previous boss, supervisor, or even fellow intern(s). Many will say how much it means to them to receive an email from you, even if it’s just to say Merry Christmas or ask how they are. It’s also nice on the other end, to hear how they are and how their life has been. I don’t know about you, but I love the connections I make during my time as an intern, and I’d hate to lose them with time, just because I never called or emailed.

You never know when that contact will be useful. It may be 10 or 20 years from now, but you might need a media contact in a different city, or help with something at work. Let’s paint a little picture and say your previous boss is the best person to help you. If you’ve stayed in touch, then it’s no problem! You can now finish your work without a hitch. I’ve heard countless stories that start this way. Old connections will almost always prove to be useful in one way or another.

They want to help you. If you’re one of those people that “feels bad” reaching out, stop thinking that way. It’s easy to feel like you’re being a burden, but if you’re truly staying in touch and not just contacting them when you need them, there’s nothing wrong with reaching out. They’re there to help you, so let them!

Nurturing connections is something we should all be doing. In honor of the New Year and the quickly approaching internship searching season, I say we make it all a resolution to stay in touch!

A Graduating Senior’s Advice to New ImPRessions Members

By: Kerry Tuttle, @kerrtut

2011-2012 E.W. Scripps School of Journalism ImPRessions Account
2011-2012 E.W. Scripps School of Journalism ImPRessions Account.

The fact that I’m even writing this post is insane to me. I joined ImPRessions at the beginning of winter quarter (RIP quarter system) my freshman year. That was three years ago. Now I’m sharing what I’ve learned since then, and why joining ImPRessions is one of the smartest choices you can make for your future career.

Our 13 clients span various industries, and we are one of the largest firms nationally. Although we are student-run, our leadership is some of the best of any organization on campus. From the administration to our associates, and everyone in between, we are made up of smart, hard-working, outgoing students who will be a driving force in the industry someday. ImPRessions gives members the tools to excel fast in this field at a young age. Here’s how to get the most out of your experience, both professionally and personally:

Look at this as a learning opportunity. Who cares if you’ve never written a blog post before or have no event planning experience? This is the chance to learn in an environment where it’s OK for you to have no idea what a press release is. Everyone has to start somewhere.

Try out different industries. I have worked with higher education, political and non-profit clients during my time in ImPRessions. The experiences with each account were vastly different and I had to navigate unfamiliar territory with every new client. This only benefitted me and gave me a lot to talk about during internship interviews. You may discover a new passion. Maybe food PR is your thing, even though you’ve been dead set on fashion. You never know until you try.

Network. Do you see those ten students sitting in your account meeting with you? Someday they’ll be working in the PR field so get to know them now! Form relationships with your account executives and your fellow account associates. Don’t be intimidated by members who are older and seem more experienced than you. Ask them to coffee now. It could pay off later in a big way.

Spend time outside of your account meeting. A slightly different point than above, ImPRessions is a great place to form personal relationships as well. Some of my closest friendships at Ohio University have resulted from my involvement in ImPRessions.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Our firm attracts some of the best and brightest Ohio University has to offer. Our members’ resumes and life experiences are completely different from one another. It’s easy to look at your AE’s LinkedIn and think, “Wow, I’ve had no PR experience compared to her/him. Cue panic attack.” Trust me, I’ve been there. As long as you work hard and are open to learning, great things will happen for you. The good thing about ImPRessions is that you don’t need to have had three internships to have your voice heard and your opinion respected.

I’m depressed that I only have 15 weeks left with my favorite organization, but the future of ImPRessions is so bright and I look forward to seeing the firm continue to evolve.

National Conference: It’s More than Just a Trip

By: Jess Carnprobst @jess_carnprobst

PRSSANCLast week, I attended my second PRSSA National Conference in Washington DC. Last year I attended PRSSANC in Philadelphia, and I’ve also been to two PRSSA Regional Conferences, making this fourth conference overall. With these experiences under my belt, I have countless notes in my notebook, new connections on social media and new career ideas in my head. Most importantly, after each conference I learn something new about myself. These are the biggest reasons I believe every college student should attend at least one national conference.

Make your connections personal 

I know how important it is to network with the person who can help you get the dream internship or job, but it’s important to see past what they can do for you. When you’re meeting new people (and you’ll meet hundreds) find a connection with them. It doesn’t need to be PR related, but find a way to make your connections personal and worthwhile.

Question your career path 

This is the best time for to question your career path! Question every single goal or idea you have. It’s ok not to know. You’ll be sitting in so many sessions throughout the duration of the conference, learning about so many topics you never knew were a possibility in PR. Now is the best time to think big and continue developing your goals. Conferences are made to help you decide where you want to go and what you want to do.

Step outside of your comfort zone

Going off of my last point, you’ll get the most out of your time at your conference if you step out of your comfort zone. Attend sessions that seem different, interesting or something you know nothing about, and just see what you learn. When you attend a conference you’re probably in a different city. Take the time to go sight seeing and go on adventures you’ve never been on. Sometimes you can learn just as much by exploring on your own as you would at the actual conference. The two go hand and hand to teach you about your career as well as about yourself.

Follow through

It’s so easy to forget to make that LinkedIn connection or send the email you promised when you get back home. Don’t let yourself do this. Whether it takes an annoying alarm or a spot on your to do list, follow through with the promises you made at the conference.

It’s not always about listening to the speakers, but it is about growing as a professional. While you’re there, follow these steps while adding some of your own to maximize your experience. Take advantage of conferences and go to as many as you can, because they’re an experience of a lifetime.