Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Never Stop Learning

When I first started this blog, I was in college and wrote a lot about my internships and what I was learning in class. I realize lately it has evolved into more of a "Life in New York" diary since I've been so caught up in exploring my new city.  However, just because I'm out of college doesn't mean I'm not still learning about PR - that's what interning is all about (not that it should stop after that)! One of the things I love about my particular internship is the emphasis on our professional growth, which was apparent today in our pitching and writing workshop. 

Of course we're all busy, interns and account executives alike, but it was nice for people to take time out of their day to teach us a thing or two. There were a few key points that really stuck out to me from our workshop that I wanted to talk about and think all people in PR should know.

First, a great quote from our writing workshop:

Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very"; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. - Mark Twain

This perfectly articulates the difference between PR writing and creative writing. In PR, we need to say the most we can in the least amount of words. We need to be able to get our point across quickly and effectively to our specific audience, not spend extra time (and words) with superfluous descriptions.

Next, my favorite takeaway from the pitching workshop:

Put yourself in the mindset that when you call to pitch to an editor or reporter, talking to you will be the highlight of their day. Thinking positive will come through in your voice and they will be much more receptive to your pitch.

I love this. There are very few people I know in PR that truly enjoy pitching, even though it's a big part of the job. This silly little tip honestly works though! Pitching is so much easier when you just relax and talk to a reporter like a real person. Be casual, have fun with it. Sure, you'll get the reporters that are still very formal and short, but in general people are much more receptive if you come across as someone they could get along with. 

I won't bore you with all of my notes (even though I still need to type them up for my "intern guide book" - a great idea from one of our intern coordinators), but I just wanted to share those two main points. I think it's easy to assume that once you're out of college, the learning stops there. I'll admit, it did feel weird taking notes from a powerpoint presentation (and I've only been out of school for two months!). I truly enjoyed it, as anyone does when they're learning about a subject they really care about. It's so much easier and more fun to learn about things you're passionate about from successful people in that industry than to sit through a boring lecture on a topic you couldn't care less about in college.

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