Okay yes, I was one of those people that waited until the Thursday before PR Advanced to register. And yes, the conference was full, and I ended up sleeping in and missing it. As a Non-Public Relations major, I did not initially feel the need to attend Saturday’s conference. After my failure of obtaining a ticket, however, I decided that I should have gone. Here’s why:
1. I made business cards. I know that I will use them otherwise, but I was prepared. However, they are not a waste, it is always great to have your contact information on a card regardless of whether you are going on interviews or not. It assists you in branding yourself and is impressive to those you give them to, without being pretentious (for more on branding yourself, lookout for Tessa Schaaf’s upcoming post on the topic).
2. There were some great speakers and panelists that would have been beneficial to hear. Between BostonTweet, Professor Steve Quigley, Dean Kenneth Elmore, Alex Pearlman, Anne Weiskopf, Chelsea Alexander, Kris Ruby, and Liz Ricketts (and the list goes on!), I missed out on a lot of valuable information. This is especially true because I currently do not take public relations related courses and a lot of information I might not know may have been discussed.
3. I have never “speed networked” or went to a session purely for networking. This is one of those situations that you need to do often to become adequate at. Going up and asking someone for an internship probably is not going to work. But getting to know a potential employer through a genuine conversation will. And with technology baffling our lives, let’s face it – our social interaction is pretty lacking. I could have used some practice in this area.
4. “I am not going to be in Boston for long anyway, I do not need to network around here”. This is a mindset that is awful for Public Relations and communication professionals in general. Who knows where you will be in the next few years? Think about it – are you where you thought you would be five years ago? I could not be further from it. And if you are – kudos to you for making a life plan and sticking to it. But most people change their plans every few years, months, or even weeks. Going to conferences in your area can provide you with great experiences, but you will not find this out unless you actually go.
Unlike myself, I hope you had the chance to attend the conference, learn new information, and take away some great experiences. Oh and next year, I am coming back for it – even if I no longer live in Boston.
If you did attend, what was the most informative part for you (speakers and panelists included)? Tell me all!