The thought of running a national, pre-professional organization on your campus may seem overwhelming and quite scary. While it will have its challenges, don’t let a little challenge discourage you from continuing and enhancing your Chapter. It will be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have during your college career. When I ran for Chapter president it was something I didn’t think twice about. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect or what I had gotten myself into. Now, I know that it was one of the best decision I’ve ever made. The following advice is from my personal experience but I sincerely hope these tips encourage you to follow your goals and prepare you for your journey as Chapter president.
Yes, you are in charge and it is your job to delegate but it is also your job to be a conscious leader and friend. However, before knowing everyone else, you need to know yourself. What is your personality style? For example are you an introvert or extrovert? Neither is wrong but it is very beneficial to know your style. This is how you will find your strengths and weaknesses. Being aware of your style of leading will keep you on your toes in decision-making.
The most important thing is communication with your executive board. Update everyone regularly and make sure it remains consistent. This may seem easy but once you have a million things on your plate, communication can easily get lost.
There are different forms of communication platforms you can use such as Slack, Trello or iMessage. What has worked best for my team is iMessage. We discovered this through trial and error. What I have noticed not just in PRSSA but in other group chats, people don’t feel as inclined to reply if you send something to the whole group. In some instances, I recommend sending messages individually to receive a more prompt response.
When it comes to executing things that each board member has to do, to-do lists are essential. A handy tool for to-do lists is Trello. What I have found effective is using iMessage and creating a group chat with each member and including our secretary in each one. I will send out the to-do lists and our secretary will send them a follow-up message a few days later to check on their progress. A good to-do list should also have deadlines as this will assure things get done on time.
As a leader, you should be able to view things from multiple perspectives. You cannot get lost in your thoughts. Your truth may be very different from someone else’s truth. To build trust and a strong relationship with your executive board it is crucial that you be as understanding as possible. Not everyone will have the same amount of passion for PRSSA, it sucks but it’s true.
You never really know what is going on in someone’s life. They may be having a bundle of problems that no one is aware of. If anyone of your board members fails to complete a task or is not remaining on top of things, before reacting in an angry or unproductive manner, take a step back and look at the situation. It is better to ask than assume. Be patient and hear them out.
A large factor in the progress of your Chapter is bonding. Other than meetings, I highly suggest you make time to hang out and get to know each other on a more personal level. Getting to know and understand each of their personalities will move your progress bar in the right direction.
Don’t be alarmed if you ever feel stuck in a situation. There is nothing wrong with
asking for help. Ask all your amazing professors and peers for any tips and tricks they may have. You also have us! All the other Chapter presidents are here to help! Reach out to us on LinkedIn, Instagram or email!
What are your executive board’s strengths? A great way to learn more about each other is talking about each person’s strengths when you have an executive board meeting. Ask what each of your board members is good at. Dig deep into this; they might surprise you with amazing talents that can greatly help your Chapter.
Become friends with other organizations on your campus. Networking is key to advancing your Chapter. I suggest having mixers with them because it gives your PRSSA members an opportunity to meet new people and make connections.
Like I mentioned earlier, this will be one of the most rewarding things you do if executed properly. You’ll amaze yourself by seeing how much you were capable of doing. Don’t ever undersell yourself because this is not an easy position to fill.
It is impossible to please absolutely every person and sometimes you have to go with your gut and make executive decisions that you feel will be the most beneficial. There will be bumps on the road but what fun would it be if there wasn’t? Aim high and don’t give up!
Plan ahead! I cannot stress how important it is to plan ahead! Get together with your Chapter vice president and create a calendar for the entire semester. That way, you know what meetings or events you have in mind and you can plan accordingly. This will also allow you to create handbills to give out to current and future PRSSA members. As students, PRSSA members will appreciate knowing what you have planned and they can plan their schedules accordingly as well.
Ines Torres is the president at California State University Long Beach. She is the new Team Leader for Bateman at CSULB. She is a fourth-year undergrad student majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Public Relations.