Getting the Most Out of PRSA International Conference: 4 Tips for New Pros

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So, you’ve registered for the PRSA 2011 International Conference. Now what? All you need to do is pack and relax, right? Well, maybe. This year’s conference is going to rock! Most likely, you’ll leave with a few business cards in hand and, most importantly, the tools and knowledge necessary to take your career to the next level. But, there is much work to be done.

Here are a few tips for new PR pros to help get the most out of conference:

  • Plan your schedule– the International Conference is jam packed with sessions, and it may be hard to choose which ones to attend. By planning ahead, you’ll be able to enjoy the conference more. Look for sessions that relate to your everyday job and ones that might challenge you. As a new PR pro, you may want to consider sessions like “How to Pitch to Overworked Journalists and Harried Bloggers and Come Out Unscathed” or “The Personal Branding Project – Crafting Your Identity.” Sessions like these will help hone your craft and position you to the right audiences, especially if you are looking for a job.
  • Network, network, network – so much of what we do is about creating and retaining relationships with key media and stakeholders. It’s only fitting that in order to excel in this field, we need to make connections with other professionals. You never know where your next job offer will come from, and you never know who might become your mentor. So, don’t be shy–introduce yourself to someone new at each session you attend! A must-attend networking event is the opening-night reception hosted by PRSA Orlando (shameless plug). The reception will be a great way to kick off the conference with other industry professionals from across the country. Other must-attend events include the PRSA Connections Networking Luncheon and the PRSA and Inside PR Tweetup by the lazy river. (Yes. You read that right. There is a lazy river at the hotel. Let’s do this!) 
  • Enjoy Orlando – conference isn’t all work and no play. There will be plenty of time to soak up some sun or venture off property to explore the other side to Orlando.
  • Follow up with your connections – be sure to send personal notes to all the connections you make at conference. You’ll want to keep in touch. In fact, when you get a business card from someone, write a note on the back of the card about what you talked about or where you met them to help jog your memory later.

So, pack your bags and trek on down to Orlando. The awesomeness that is the PRSA International Conference starts in a few short days. Who’s ready for some PR fun in the sun? 

Christina Morton is on the PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter Host Committee. She is an account executive specializing in social media for CBR Public Relations in Maitland, Fla.

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