What I learned at 360 Degrees

handshakeLast week, I attended the 7th annual 360 Degrees: All Things Connected, an event hosted by the Toronto chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS).   The event was organized by the student steering committee for students and junior PR practitioners and was well worth the ticket price.

They split us into groups based on the preferences we indicated on our registration form and we rotated through three sessions on three different sectors of public relations and corporate communications.

I ended up in Group C: Crisis Communications, Agency and Corporate/Internal Communications.

A lot was said in the three hours but here are the points that stuck out for me:

Agency:

  • In an agency, you’re surrounded by people who do communications too.  This can be a valuable experience and may bring a sense of community that you may not feel in a small communications department for a corporation.
  • Tasks as an entry level practitioner may include: creating media lists, doing media calls and pitches, organizing meetings and staff events, doing research and doing media and online monitoring.
  • 25% of your tasks will involve researching about the client and anything related to that organization or project.
  • One of your other main tasks will be media monitoring,  so know the media and love the news.

Internal Communications:

  • Most people believe that internal communications is just about writing the newsletter, but it can more than that.  You can be the coach who mobilizes and engages employees.
  • You can work with upper management to develop plans that will engage employees and ensure that they are aware of, understand and believe in the organization’s brand.
  • People spend most of their lives at work and you get to make them love it.  You help employees feel pride in where they work and feel a greater sense of accomplishment.

Crisis Communications:

  • Every plan is just a plan. It needs to be flexible and adaptable in any situation.
  • There are early warnings for crises – they don’t just drop from the sky, so plan ahead and pay attention.
  • Take time to look at how your organization or other similar ones dealt with crises in the past.  Learn from these examples.

I left the event with a lot of notes and was impressed with how things rolled out.  The only negative thing was that I would have loved to participate in all the other groups too, such as Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Media, Media Relations, Non-profit and Financial.

Either way, it was a well-organized event. Thank you to all the speakers and the student steering committee for doing a great job.

Photo credit: oooh.oooh – Creative Commons Licence (BY-NC-SA)