Posts tagged client interaction

5 Things I Learned On-Site for a Client Event

By Vincent Frazzetto

As consumers, we see the end result of the news—the faces, the quotes, and the settings—with little thought into what’s happening behind the scenes. Heading into my first client-sponsored event, the Long Island Water Conference’s Drinking Water Symposium, I was heading in blind for the most part. We arrived very early, 6 A.M. to be exact, to set up the room and ready ourselves for the troves of officials from water districts and elected offices around Long Island to arrive for check-in. I took part in helping to organize crowd movement and offer officials for interview; it was a very lively, semi-crazy environment. In the down time, however, I was able to pick the brains of the reporters and gauge their own individual styles. I learned quite a few things, but none more important than these five:

1. Know Everybody in the Room
One of the things I underestimated in PR professionals was their innate ability to know every person in the room in some way, whether it was a long-standing professional relationship, a sponsor, or a client’s spokesperson for the event. When I would lean over to Christine, an account executive at Z/E, and gesture to an individual in the crowd, she would knew his or her name, affiliation, and role at the event—priceless information. Knowing everybody in the room is one of the most important skills of PR people.

2. Bridge the Gap
Being a PR person attending a client event is a lot like hosting a party. The press comes from one end, the client comes from the other, and the PR person is the bridge between the two. Our job is to introduce one to the other and appease both parties. The press wants their story and their shots in a timely manner so they can meet a deadline; the client wants to get its name out there and gain exposure for the event. It’s our job as the liaison between both parties to guide the interaction in a mutually-beneficial manner. I watched Christine introduce the reporters to our spokespeople and mediate the conversation between them, which was enlightening to see in action.

3. Behind-the-Scenes Interview Tips
Watching the on-camera interviews from the perspective of the PR person was interesting. I learned great tips regarding what we do during the process. One of the most simple, yet most effective, things I learned was where to stand during the interview: over the shoulder of the cameraperson, so we have an equal-plane view of the interviewee’s body language, responses and monitor.

4. Respect the Vision
Part of the mediating process is understanding the vision of both our clients and the press. No reporter wants to be told what to film/photograph just like the client doesn’t want to sacrifice his or her message for the sake of coverage. One of the cameramen told me, “There’s nothing worse than an overly controlling PR person.” It’s important to make your client’s desires known, but not at the risk of losing a valuable network connection by being overbearing.

5. Never Miss the Opportunity to Make a Connection
Public Relations is all about maintaining successful relationships. After all, if nobody likes your style of work, they will simply choose not to work with you. These relationships are paramount to being successful in getting your clients coverage and keeping your client satisfied. This is one of the most constant realities of a career in PR. During my time at the symposium, I tried to make members of the press, and our clients comfortable and happy with the overall experience. I enjoyed my first on-site venture, and while we can learn a lot about PR in a classroom, the field experience was very insightful.

A Proud Moment for #ZimmCasters and the Girl Scouts of Nassau County

By Marisa Drago and Marissa Kelly

This year was the 100th Gold Award Ceremony for the Girl Scouts of Nassau County, and we were lucky enough to cover the event in our new role as #ZimmCasters! When we were presented the opportunity to attend, we weren’t sure what to expect. We were Girl Scouts when we were younger, so we knew a bit about the organization, but never made it far enough to earn the prestigious Gold Award. We were excited to attend the ceremony and learn what the award was all about.

The two of us are currently interning at Zimmerman/Edelson Inc (Z/E), a public relations firm that has the Girl Scouts of Nassau County as a client. This summer, as part of our season-long intern project, we were tasked with becoming “ZimmCasters.” This means we must challenge ourselves by becoming reporters and social media handlers for Z/E and several of its clients. As #ZimmCasters, we wanted to experiment with live steaming videos at different events. When we found out about the 100th Gold Award Ceremony, we recognized that it had great potential to be shown live on social media.

Before arriving at the ceremony, we came up with interview questions to ask some of the Girl Scouts, emcees, and the executive director of the Girl Scouts of Nassau County, Donna Ceravolo. We compiled possible tweets to send out, ideas for footage and interviews, and taught ourselves how to use the live-stream app, Periscope. When we reached the US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, where the ceremony was held, we were fully prepared and extremely excited to cover the event.

First, the two of us took a tour of the facilities at the Marine Academy that were being used for the event. Throughout the night, we would be traveling back and forth between two buildings: Wiley Hall and the auditorium. Wiley Hall is where this year’s Gold Award projects were on display for families and friends to observe. We held several interviews in this building, some of which were with Girl Scouts Bianca, Maribel, and Chloe, all of whom were receiving their Gold Awards. The ceremony took place in the auditorium, where we caught footage of the 101 Girl Scouts receiving their Gold Awards, the Girl Scouts of Nassau County’s Chorus performing, and several speakers proudly talking onstage.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Donna Ceravolo and ask her some questions. She opened our eyes to what an accomplishment the Gold Award truly is, and she beamed with pride speaking about the girls earning their Gold Award this year. Her evident passion and excitement for the event and for the Girl Scouts of Nassau County showed us how remarkable the girls who complete their Gold Awards projects truly are. “This project is a symbol of the tangible steps that girls have taken to make the world a better place,” said Ms. Ceravolo.

This ceremony was nothing like we have ever experienced before. Both of us were blown away by the extensive and thoughtful projects put together by the Girl Scouts of Nassau County. Each Gold Award Project, along with the girl who created it, was more amazing than the last. As we sat in the auditorium and watched every girl cross the stage we recognized their true leadership qualities, and every single one of the girls should be incredibly proud of their accomplishments. The Girl Scouts of Nassau County gave us an opportunity to learn, not only about their incredible organization, but about what it’s like to be behind the scenes of such a meaningful event like this one.

We extend our true congratulations to all of the girls that earned their Gold Award this year and would like to thank the Girl Scouts of Nassau County for letting us be a part of this wonderful event!

5 Things You Can’t Learn in the Classroom

By Jess McNamara

 

1) How to interact with clients and media
This is an extremely important skill that you just can’t ever fully learn in a classroom. Interacting with clients and the media are the most basic components of a PR job, but they also can be the most intimidating. It’s likely that on day one of your first job or internship, you will have to talk to some sort of client or reporter, so it is something you need to get the hang of right away. Only first-hand experience can teach you how to appropriately talk to industry colleagues and develop a professional relationship. Even with the advice given in the classroom, you don’t really learn until you are on a phone call with a reporter who is on deadline and needs information in succinct soundbites.

 

2) Speak up and volunteer
Many college students will tell you volunteering in the classroom is a foreign concept to them. But new job requires active participation, especially while interning. It is vital that you speak up and volunteer at a job: ask questions when you have them and offer to do work that needs to be done even if not specifically assigned to you. In the real world there’s no participation grade, and volunteering shows leadership, work ethic and commitment. The more effort you put into your internship, the more you will be able to learn things that you can’t learn in class from your coworkers in the working world.

 

3) How to use a phone
Sounds simple right? It’s not. I’m not talking about cell phones; I I’m talking about land-line office phones, and if you are tackling your first real office job then this is definitely something you are thrown into on day one. Office phones are scary, they’re tricky, they ring a lot and they have more buttons than you can remember on day one. Mastering the office phone system is probably one of the most difficult things to learn, but you pick it up after a while. Personally, I am about two months into my Zimmerman/Edelson internship, and I still have a cheat sheet on my desk to remind me which buttons to press in each scenario.

 

4) It’s okay to make mistakes
Everyone will tell you this, but it takes actually making the mistakes to realize how true it is. In school, a mistake typically results in a bad grade, a direct consequence of whatever you did wrong. But in the real world people make mistakes and, believe it or not, other people tend to be understanding. You will make mistakes that you didn’t even know were mistakes, and you will make mistakes that instantaneously feel like the end of the world. As long as you own your mistake and do what you can to rectify the situation your coworkers will be understanding. After all, when you begin a new job you are still learning, just through real-world experience instead of through a text book.

 

5) The importance of listening
You will not understand how important listening is until you step out of the classroom and into a real job. Most students get into the habit of passively listening, scrolling through their phone, surfing the web or completing other work. But in a work environment, especially as an intern or junior staff member, listening is key. When you’re being assigned a task, you need to be paying attention to the details and noting all of the specific instructions. Although it is okay to go back and ask questions, it is far more impressive if you show initiative and that you can follow directions on your first attempt at the task. In the classroom the teacher is often there to help you. But as an intern, your goal is to help your coworkers, so try to make their day easier just by fully listening to the instructions you are given.