Posts tagged interning

3 Things I Learned At a Pitch the Media Event

By: Jordyn Miller 

Recently, the Public Relations Professionals of Long Island (PRPLI) held its annual Meet and Pitch the Media event at the Hilton in Melville. This evening gives public relations professionals the opportunity to not only meet local Long Island media, but to also pitch their stories in person and receive constructive feedback on the spot. As an intern, pitching in person for the first time was extremely nerve-wracking, but Meet and Pitch the Media night was an incredible learning experience. Here are three things I learned just at this one event.

  1. Have confidence in your pitch!

While I was sitting at my table anticipating giving the pitch, I was anxious. I wondered what my criticisms would be, and the fact that I was the youngest professional there did not help. However, once I decided to stand up and volunteer myself for my pitch, I decided to not let my nerves overshadow my delivery. I confidently read the pitch, made eye contact with the panel, and finished the pitch in my allotted amount of time. The panel was extremely receptive, and they only had helpful comments about the pitch. They told me what they liked and what they would tweak, but at no point did I feel like my pitch was not good enough. Confidence really does make a difference.

  1. Don’t wait for someone to introduce you—do it yourself!

After the dinner concluded, all of the professionals in the room had the opportunity to speak to the media. My coworker who attended the event with me encouraged me to introduce myself to the media professionals and follow up on my pitch. It is important to remember to try to find something unique or something you have in common to begin the conversation. This helps sway the awkwardness while also making yourself memorable in their minds. Confidence is definitely applicable in this case as well.

  1. Take advantage of these opportunities!

Throughout my time at Zimmerman/Edelson, I have had multiple opportunities to meet media and network with other professionals. All of these events have made me eager to start my career in public relations, as well as reassured me that I will have a successful future. This PRPLI Meet and Pitch the Media event just reinforced the importance of these opportunities for me, and reminded me to never stop asking to tag along to events or gain any possible experience that I can.

prpli

The PRPLI panel at the Meet and Pitch the Media event

The Importance of Confidence in Public Relations

By: Jordyn Miller 

My second PRSSA networking dinner was a much less stressful event than the first.

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.

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.

#Zimmtern Insider: Planning the Greatest Debate Watch Party Ever

By Amanda Benizzi

“I want you to plan a debate party, for around 300 people, in under a week. Go.”

Wait. What?

On October 19, Robert Zimmerman hosted a debate party, co-hosted by the Hillary Clinton campaign with special guest Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, for the third and final presidential debate of the 2016 cycle at the Paramount in Huntington, NY. In under a week, he invited more than 300 Long Island community members and local elected officials to watch history in the making. I was fortunate enough to work on the debate party in multiple ways, from inviting guests to preparing the room, all the way through the entire event and debate.

Public Relations is a fast-paced, ever-moving industry; practitioners have to be skilled in creating events swiftly to keep up with our 24/7 news cycle and generally fast-paced world. As an intern, working on the debate party gave me a real-life look at what work goes into planning an event in a small amount of time with a large amount of pressure. It made me realize that even the smallest things—like creating the actual invite, to mailing each individual letter, to the arrangement of the decorations in the room—make such a difference and can change the success of an event.

I don’t think we could have had a better night, to be honest. We arrived at the venue just two hours before the debate was set to start and just one hour before the guests were set to arrive. We decked out the room with games, posters, buttons and stickers. We assembled more than 50 Clinton-Kaine lawn signs, which to my surprise turned out to be the takeaway that guests were most interested in—some people even took them home for their friends and family.

Watching a debate with friends is an event in itself, but watching a debate among passionate members of a community next to their own elected officials is an electric feeling, not to mention a great opportunity for networking. It gives you the chance to meet other members of your field—those who influence the public relations world—and to build relationships with your coworkers outside of the office.

As an intern, if you haven’t had the chance to work on an organization or client event, ASK! It’s a very rewarding feeling to see the results of your hard work, and it shows your employer that you are engaged in the events your firm is holding and you’re willing to work on things beyond what you are assigned to do.

Working this event definitely put the perfect ending to a crazy debate cycle, one that’s been completely different than anything we’ve experienced. I’m grateful that I was able to take the opportunity to learn about event planning and combine them with my interest in politics. It’s true that you get out of something what you put into it, and if you put your time and effort you will come out with amazing experiences that will last beyond your time as an intern.

5 Tips on Making Media Calls

By Marykate Guilfoyle

Media calls are a necessary part of any PR job; PR Professionals need to make sure the media outlets receive their press releases and advisories. Making your first calls to pitch a story can be nerve-racking but with the right guidance you will be a pro in no time. If you follow these five tips you will be well on your way to a successful media call:

1. Know What You Are Talking About.
This is the most important thing. If you are trying to pitch an event to the media, you must know all the details so you’re ready for whatever questions they may have. You should have the information in front of you, that way you are prepared for whatever questions someone may throw at you.

2. Be Confident.
It’s important to assert yourself as an expert on what you are talking about. Be clear and be confident when speaking and you will be received better. If there is ever a question you do not have the answer to, let the person know that you will point them in the right direction.

3. Be Respectful Of Time.
Reporters are busy people. Try asking if it’s a good time to talk or if they have a second to speak to you before you begin your pitch. This shows respectful, and it helps to know how quick you have to pitch your story. If they say no, ask them when would be a good time to reach them.

4. Be Concise
Give a brief but interesting overview of the event you are pitching. If the media seems to be interested they can ask more questions on specifics. Always make sure you get the time, place and what the event is answered in the pitch.

5. Practice Your Pitch
Know what you are going to say before you get on the phone. You don’t need a script, you want to sound natural, but it is important to have an idea of what you are going to say. You don’t want to stumble on the phone.