Creatively Combatting Distance
Since PRSA and PRSSA are national organizations, it makes sense that distance is a factor that many of our Chapters deal with when it comes to forming connections with professionals across the country. My Chapter at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is over two hours away from our sponsor PRSA Chapter, and the other two PRSA Chapters in Wisconsin are even farther away. We know outright how important connecting with the professionals in our area is; however, over the past two years, we’ve made it our mission not to let distance compromise our ability to network.
At #PointersPRSSA we’ve employed these tips to combat distance and get our network on:
- Utilize Social Media. As aspiring public relations professionals, we hear daily in our field that social media has changed the ways that we communicate and do our job. Through our hashtag #PointersPRSSA, we were able to connect with a founding member of our Chapter and feature him as one of our guest speakers in spring 2013. We also launched our blog, which featured our brand new newsletter, PRestige, which was sent to more than 200 of our alumni. Our Chapter also aspires to host our own Tweet chat because of all the networking opportunities participating in a Tweet chat provides. If you’ve never tried one, try the next one put on by PRSSA National. Not only can you connect with other PRSSA members across the nation, but often times, area professionals join in on the fun and offer tips as well.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Be a Bit Unconventional. When distance is an issue, communicating face-to-face is not always an option. Our Chapter uses Skype and other video technology at our meetings to network with our nearest PRSA Chapters. We virtually meet with a few members of the Chapter, ask questions and hear about upcoming events they’re hosting. Although we can’t always attend their events in person, getting to meet with them virtually allows our members to form connections.
- Plan a Road Trip. Part of the fun of being in PRSSA is getting to experience the trips to National and Regional Conferences around the country. But the fun shouldn’t be reserved just for those trips. If your PRSA Chapter is hosting a networking event or opportunity — gather a group of members from your Chapter and make a trip out of it. It is a fantastic way to bond with your fellow members and still get to network with the professionals once you’re off the road. Plus, the more members you can get to travel with you, the less expensive the trip is!
Gone are the days when long-distance relationships were a death sentence. Networking is easier more than ever thanks to technology. By keeping these tips in mind while still attending events where face-to-face communication is possible, building lasting relationships with professionals in your area is possible, no matter the distance. These are only a few of the many ideas that our Chapter utilizes to form bonds despite distance.
How has your Chapter combated distance creatively?
Kathryn Weast is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) studying communication with a dual emphasis in public relations and media studies: journalism. She serves as the public relations director for the PRSSA Chapter at UWSP and will be graduating in December 2013.