Leadership Rally. National Conference. PRSA Luncheons. Regional Conferences. National Assembly. The calendar of a PRSSA student is filled with many events to attend throughout the year. Once you get home and reflect on all you have learned, there is still so much to do. It might seem overwhelming to get back into your daily routine, but it’s important to maximize the potential of every professional networking opportunity. Below are a few tips to help you stay on track.
If you return home from a PRSSA event empty-handed, you did something wrong. Possibly the most fun (and beneficial) aspect of attending a PRSSA event is exchanging contact information with all of the awesome people that you met. Separate your business cards into groups of professionals and peers and write notes on the back of the cards to help jog your memory once you return home. Make a list of people you’d like to thank.
Don’t forget to add your new friends on Facebook, follow each other on Twitter or Instagram and connect on LinkedIn. Send sincere and personalized thank-you cards to those who offered you great advice.
Note: When you are connecting with a professional on LinkedIn, DO NOT send the generic “I would like to connect with you” message to them. Show that you valued their professional advice. Try something like: “Hello [insert name], I really enjoyed your presentation on [insert topic]. I learned so much from all the advice that you had to offer us at [insert PRSSA event]. I would love to connect with you on LinkedIn, and I look forward to keeping in touch.”
Share what you learned.
You can’t keep all of the information that you obtained to yourself. (You probably had been live-tweeting the entire event anyway.) Blog or write an article for your Chapter newsletter about what you did at the event and what you learned. Share your stories with fellow members at a Chapter meeting—it gets other pumped up about what they, too, can experience if they decide to attend the next event.
Keep in touch.
The word “networking” should be a regular part of your vocabulary. Don’t let those business cards you collect dust in a drawer. Use them!
Peers you meet at a conference can be a great resource. Host a Google Hangout and discuss some ideas with your new friends on how you can improve your Chapter’s programming or communication tactics. Share best practices or internship stories. Also remember to keep in touch with the professionals that you met. If they live in your area, invite them on a coffee date and pick their brains. You never know what opportunities could arise if you take the time and make the effort to expand your PRSSA network.
Prepare for the next event.
Take a look at your agenda. Is it in your budget to attend another Regional Conference? Do you need to start saving for National Conference? Stock up on more business cards, invest further in your business professional wardrobe and refresh your résumé.
What are other important things to do after a PRSSA event?
Awo Eni is a junior public relations major and political science minor at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. She enjoys watching the news, keeping up to date with all the latest pop culture happenings and live-tweeting Scandal. You can follow her on Twitter @ah_woah