National Assembly was everything I could imagine in more. In four days filled with chapter development sessions, information sessions on national initiatives, Xbox Kinect and a keynote from Microsoft, I learned tons about the public relations field and made friends for a lifetime. Here are five lessons I learned at National Assembly that you can take away with you:
- ALWAYS set measurable objectives – Whether you are creating a national campaign or a platform for a chapter position, always think about ways to measure your success. For example, instead of saying you will increase chapter members in your term, say you will increase it by a 15%.
- You aren’t paranoid – People ARE really searching through your Facebook and Twitter for signs of unprofessionalism. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward by monitoring your own brand. Show you can manage a brand by managing your own brand.
- Learn to recognize other people’s strengths – As a leader in your field, you will have to work with many people you don’t like in your lifetime. Instead of hating on them, try to get understand their strengths. For example, if you don’t get along with a type A personality, try giving them more work that you know will get done.
- Don’t be afraid to stick up for your beliefs – But do so in a professional and respectful manner. You may be butting heads with another member of your team over an issue you both are passionate about. Do not assume that your way is the highway, but don’t feel like you can’t have a calm discussion about an issue. Sometimes playing Devil’s Advocate can help take an idea to the next level. Don’t shy away from these situations, but rather handle them with grace.
- Be open to new ideas and situations – Don’t get so bogged down in your beliefs that you can’t listen to what others are saying. For example, I was offered the chance to take an oyster shooter while in Seattle. For those of you who have never tried one, it is a raw oyster in hot sauce with lemon juice in it. The one I was offered was about three times the size of my mouth. Instead of giving into my gag reflexes, I threw back the shooter and enjoyed a completely new food! In PR, you will have to trust in your teammates to guide you at times. In those situations, turn off your type A, and hang on for the ride!
If you weren’t at Assembly, don’t worry! In October, University of Florida is hosting National Conference in Orlando where you will have a chance to connect with chapters all over the country. I hope to see you there!