By: Jordyn Miller
My second PRSSA networking dinner was a much less stressful event than the first.
When I walked into my first ever networking dinner, I was completely overwhelmed. As any student would, I looked around at all of the professionals in the room and thought to myself “What am I doing here?” I was only a sophomore, barely knowledgeable from my one public relations class, and I could not imagine myself speaking to the professionals while all of these older and more experienced students would be sitting right beside me. Thankfully, one of my senior friends came up to me (I looked incredibly nervous) and he told me to just be confident. He said confidence is what stands out the most to anyone when you are speaking.
During the dinner, I slowly became more comfortable. I began to ask questions to the professionals sitting at my table, and the more questions I asked, the more confident I seemed. I soon realized that confidence can be created, and this is an important skill to have in any communications field. While I was still very nervous, I forced myself to speak and ask these questions to prove to the professionals I was speaking to that I am capable of confidently speaking to those I do not know.
This skill also came into play while I was interviewing for internships. Rather than timidly introducing myself to the interviewer and showing that I was nervous, I chose to confidently smile, shake the hand of the interview and introduce myself. This initial confidence will leave a wonderful impression of you on the interviewer, as they will be pleasantly surprised to see how prepared you are for the interview.
On my first day at Zimmerman/Edelson, I adopted this same concept. I walked into the office, and rather than show how overly nervous I was, I tried to introduce myself to everyone. I made myself known by speaking at the first staff meeting, participating in office conversations. I am not sure my Zimmtern experience would have been the same had I acted differently on my first day.
This confidence mentality has helped me when answering phones, sending my drafts to coworkers for the first time, meeting clients at events and just feeling like a part of the Zimmerman/Edelson team. I am confident that this will continue to benefit me throughout my public relations career.
By Greg Stengel
After finding out I was headed to the New York American Water Press Conference featuring Senator Chuck Schumer on my first day, the feelings of both excitement and diving into the unknown had doubled. I found myself, an intern on his first day, in a room full of media, elected officials and Long Island water industry representatives. As the press conference began, I found myself learning more than one priceless lesson in public relations.
From the moment I pulled into the parking lot the learning experience had begun. I was starting to learn that for a press conference, and for any in-person or on-camera statement, the message is almost equally as important as how you present the message. First off, the press conference was being held at Massapequa Water District Well 9, which was an iconic location for a press conference on Long Island’s water industry. In addition, it served as a great backdrop for the conference; when talking about water on Long Island, it adds legitimacy when you are speaking at a well that provides water for the area.
As the conference continued, several more lessons would reveal themselves. As Senator Schumer spoke, he and the two water industry representatives wanted to make a point how safe the water on Long Island is to drink: They each drank a glass of water and showed that they truly believed in what they were saying, that the water really is safe for everyone to drink. It added both a visual and emotional effect to the press conference, which I think really helped them convey their message.
The final lesson I learned from attending this press conference was that the use of visuals is key to making sure your audience comprehends the message you are trying to get across. The entire time the senator and water representatives were speaking they had a large map in the background. The speakers would periodically reference this map and show it to the cameras, physically displaying locations and reinforcing their point to the audience in a more clear way through the use of a visual reference.
From not knowing if I was even going to be able to make it into my first day at Zimmerman/Edelson, Inc. because of the snow storm, to attending a press conference with Senator Schumer just a few hours later, it’s possible that my first day experience will go down as one of the most exciting and interesting first days in the history of the Zimmtern program.
Looking back it will all be worth it knowing that in such a short time I took away several valuable lessons in public relations that I will without a doubt carry with me for the rest of my career.
By Greg Stengel
After months of applying to countless public relations internships and traveling all over New York to make interviews, I was confident I had finally found my home as a “Zimmtern” at Zimmerman/Edelson, Inc. I could not have been more excited or relieved to know I had finally taken my first step into the real world. I anxiously waited throughout winter break for the first day to arrive, mentally preparing myself for the unknown world I was about to encounter.
Winter break passed and it was finally time to get started. As if I wasn’t nervous enough for the first day, Mother Nature decided to pound the New York area with one of the biggest blizzards in history. All weekend the only thought on my mind was if I was even going to be able to trek through the snow to make it to Great Neck for the first day. But after surviving the blizzard, the other interns and I finally made it on time to our first day as Zimmterns.
I walked into the office both extremely nervous and excited. Almost immediately after finding my desk and meeting the staff I was instructed to attend the weekly staff meeting. There I was shocked to find out that I was going with Jill, one of the account executives, to a press conference with her client New York American Water where Senator Chuck Schumer would be speaking. Within 15 minutes into my first day as a Zimmtern I was out in the field learning about the industry from a real-world perspective, which is something you simply cannot do in a classroom.
Having such an exciting first day really set the tone for the rest of the internship. On top of learning about the public relations industry on my first day, I’ve learned that as a “Zimmtern” you should expect the unexpected and come into every day with an open mind. I look forward to more exciting learning experiences as the semester continues.
Stay tuned for Greg’s follow-up post about the press conference!