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ExPRessions :: Professional Development

Archive for the ‘ Professional Development ’ Category

Check out !gnite

August 19, 2011 3:39 pm | No Comments

While it may seem like I’ve been slacking, I’ve been quite busy. From writing articles for magazines to planning a large social media conference, I’ve had my hands full.

First of all, if you’re a subscriber, switch your feed to www.rachelmesterline.com. This is where new content will be posted from now on. (It will show up in an RSS feed, but does not show up on the site yet because I don’t have much content yet).

Second, please check out !gnite, mid-Michigan’s first social media conference. Here are some details:

!gnite, mid-Michigan’s first social media conference, will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22, at the H Hotel and Conference Center in Midland.

The event, co-hosted by Social Media Club Great Lakes Bay and The Midland Daily News, will teach professionals about the latest social media and Internet trends and provide strategies to help them reach audiences and build their social networks. You can enter for a chance win a free ticket if you go to the next networking event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 30 at Oscar’s Bar & Grill at 140 E. Main in Midland.

There will be sessions for professionals at all skill levels, from beginner through advanced. Session topics include:

  • When fans aren’t enough: Developing a successful social media strategy to drive business growth
  • How nonprofits can harness the power of social media
  • Create buzz and build an effective social strategy for your B2B company
  • You got any stuff? Content marketing for social media
  • Best practices for using social media to ignite business
  • Taking off the training wheels: Tips and tricks to get your business’ Facebook presence up and running
  • No budget? No problem! High-impact, super-cheap digital marketing
  • One dynamite panel, two digital tactics: Search engine optimization (SEO) & paid ads (SEM)

Tickets cost $75 for professionals and $50 for students. Businesses may receive a discount for purchasing three tickets for their employees. Lunch is provided.

To purchase tickets, visit creatingconversation.eventbrite.com, or contact Dave Dauer at (989) 839-4221 or ddauer@mdn.net.

Learn about other Social Media Club Great Lakes Bay events by visiting facebook.com/SMCGreatLakes.

Set goals, not resolutions

December 3, 2010 11:26 am | 1 Comment

After six months, less than half of the people who set a New Year’s resolution were able to keep it. That’s a pretty depressing statistic.

Forget the resolutions. Set specific goals and outline the steps you need to take achieve them.

MindTools offers a SMART mnemonic device to help you set goals that is helpful when setting goals:


Goals that follow these guidelines are more precise. Measureability will help you know exactly when your goal is achieved. Time-bound will give you a deadline.

I also think that your goals need to be realistic. If you have a goal that may be a bit more difficult to achieve without prior planning, consider setting smaller goals that could lead to the bigger one.

For example, if you are a PR student interested in working at Edelman someday, set smaller goals that can help you achieve that one. Your smaller goals might include:

  • Read and comment on the 6 A.M. blog weekly to help the staff recognize your name.
  • Request an informational interview before graduation to learn more about the agency.
  • Obtain an internship at a local agency to gain experience next summer.
  • Network with Edelman staff members in person at local events and via social media regularly.
  • Create an online portfolio and blog to demonstrate PR skills and knowledge before graduation.

These smaller goals don’t seem like much. But, together they could help you achieve your larger goal.

I’ll be posting my goals soon, but I’m interested in knowing what your goals are for next year.

What do you plan to #AchieveIn2011?

**Image by iDream_in_Infrared

Enter the contest to win a PR/social media book by commenting on this post. Information here.

QuestionsConferences related to public relations are a great opportunity for networking and professional development. Although I won’t be attending the 2009 PRSSA National Conference, I do have a few tips for the students who will be. I’ve attended several PRSSA conferences at CMU, one national conference and a Ragan Unconference.

1. Swap business cards to connect with people after the conference. You’ll be meeting countless people, so write short notes on the back of the cards to help you remember who they were and what you discussed. (Example: “Met at dinner. Discussed agency work. Has planned a professional development event before.”)

2. Never sit next to the same person twice. Networking was the most fun when I sat beside complete strangers and struck up a conversation with them. If you only sit with people you know, you won’t get as much out of the conference.

3. Ask questions. Whether you are in a session or sitting next to someone you don’t know, ask questions to get a conversation going and to learn more. Strive to get as much out of the conference as you can.

4. Know the schedule. You’ll make your life 10 times easier if you know what sessions you plan to attend and where they will be held. Plan to get to sessions as early as possible. This gives you time to network. Also, remember that some sessions fill up fast (in my experience, event planning and entertainment PR sessions were the fullest).

5. Take good notes. You might be able to refer back to them for a project or write a blog post about what you learned.

6. Be a professional. Even though you are a student, you are at a professional conference. Have fun, but act professional. There are PRSA professionals nearby and some of the students could be your future coworkers.

7. Dress nice, but comfortable. Professional dress is the norm at many conferences. Keep comfort in mind. For example, flip flops are unacceptable, so buy some gel inserts for your heels or have a comfortable pair of flats.

8. Get a decent amount of sleep. With a full day of sessions and a night of socials, it’s hard to find time to rest at conferences. But definitely try to get some sleep because you don’t want to miss a good session because you’re exhausted.

9. Take advantage of every opportunity and session. You aren’t required to show up to sessions, so you might be tempted to enjoy the San Diego beaches instead. Don’t miss out on opportunities to network with your peers and learn from professionals though.

10. Follow up with those you met. When you go home, you’ll be incredibly motivated about your career. Be sure to send notes to people you met and thank the speakers for attending the event. It’s great to make that last connection and you will stand out in their mind.

I won’t be there to experience the 2009 PRSSA National Conference, but I’m sure it will be a great experience for those who are attending.


Rachel M. Esterline works in public relations and marketing communications. Her blog, ExPRessions, contains her musings about PR, marketing, career and professional development, Gen Y issues, personal branding and more. Rachel also does freelance consulting and writing. She is originally from Genesee, Mich., and will graduate from Central Michigan University in May 2010.