Posted by: Female Perspective | November 2, 2010

TOW: Top 10 Presentation Skills

This week in our Corporate PR Class we are talking about public relations consulting.  A big part of consulting is presentations and so in order to be successful you must know how to present.  So here is a top 10 list of presentation skills that I felt from my experience and research are imperative to success as a presenter.

10.  Use visual aids to support and not impress – Powerpoint and other presentation tools can be a great asset when you are presenting your ideas.  Visual aids are a great way to maintain your audience’s attention and add to your presentation so that you aren’t just standing in front of a bunch of people talking.  However, don’t let your presentation do the work for you.  All the information in your visual aides should be used to support what you are presenting and not use to make an impression on your client.

9.  Keep it short – Going into your presentation you should have a main objective.  When giving your presentation, make sure to stay on that objective and not ramble on about things that do not pertain to your objective.  Rambling can distract your audience from your main point. 

8.  Speak in your natural speaking voice – When presenting to a group, not matter the size of the group talk like you were speaking to one person.  Your normal speaking voice is going to put your audience at ease and make them feel more comfortable with you.  Also if your voice is calm and at ease, then they will be more likely to trust that you know what you are talking about.

7.  Engage your audience not your visual aid – Make sure to pay attention to your audience and make eye contact with them.  Don’t spend the entire presentation staring at your computer or with your back at the audience looking at the screen.  The audience is after all the one that you are trying to make an impression on.

6.  Personalize your presentation – By using stories or personal experience, you can individualize your presentation.  Often times a concept or idea can be better understood if you include your own experience as an example.  A story can also help to engage and bond you with your audience. 

5.  Vary your speaking tone – Don’t speak in the same tone the entire presentation.  We have all had teachers whose voice level never changed and it was incredibly hard to remain focused in those classes.  By changing up the tone of your voice, you are not only keeping your audience interested, but it also shows passion for the topic of your presentation. 

4.  Do your research – When giving a presentation, you don’t want to just know the topic of your presentation back and forth but also the history of the audience that you are presenting too.  Research can help you avoid an uncomfortable situation or impress your audience with your knowledge of their history.  Especially with the Internet, there really is no reason that you should not walk into your presentation with a solid background. 

3.  Be prepared for questions – Regardless of how well-rounded your presentation may, someone is bound to have a question and one of the best ways to make a fool of yourself is to not know the answer.  Before going into a presentation, make a list of possible questions that you could be asked and make sure that you have solid answers for each question. 

2.  Body Language – Body language is especially important when presenting.  A smile, eye contact, and movement throughout the room makes your audience not only feel comfortable with you but trust you.  Don’t be afraid to move around the room or make direct eye contact with different people.  At the same time, don’t be moving around so much that you are making people dizzy.

1.  Practice, Practice, Practice – Like anything else in the world, if you want to do your best than you are going to need practice.  Practicing your presentation will help you to become completely familiar with your presentation and therefore will help you avoid getting lost in the middle of your presentation.  Also, practicing in front of someone else will help you to become more comfortable talking in front of someone else and they can also give you feedback on the presentation.  It can also be a good idea to record yourself practicing the presentation; so that you can watch the presentation objectively yourself.

Posted by: Female Perspective | November 2, 2010

Chapter 14: Public Relations Consulting

Chapter 14: Public Relations Consulting

Public relations consulting really began to be an industry in the early 1900’s.  At this point, the Industrial Revolution was in full swing and the large industries were in need of people who could tell them how to maintain their public image.  It started more as individuals who would be hired to consult on the different ways to handle crisis or promote their company.  It wasn’t until these individuals began to flourish that they began to build consulting firms.

Many companies hire a consulting firms in order to handle a specific situation.  For some clients that might mean developing new creative ideas.  Companies may need a new perspective on developing a promotional campaign and will bring in a consulting firm who specializes in developing creative promotional plans.  Other times clients hire consultants when they have run into a crisis.  Many firms actually specialize in going to a company’s crisis and executing a plan.

The text book lays out ten ways that will help a consultant to lead a successful presentation to a client:
1)  Plan carefully
2)  Listen first, then talk
3)  Home in on their key needs
4)  Don’t let the presentation do all the work
5)  Be careful with criticism
6)  Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
7)  Pay attention to emotions and politics
8)  Go the extra mile
9)  Present to the individual
10)  Rehearse the Q & A

**all this information came from the book, Reputation Management by John Doorley

Posted by: Female Perspective | October 30, 2010

TOW: Corporate Responsibility

This week in our Corporate PR class we have been discussing corporate responsibility.  Corporate responsibility is traditionally set by the expectations of the stakeholders and also any regulations and laws that the government has set for the company’s specific industry.  Corporate responsibility is essential to a company’s success within the public.  If a corporation is seen as irresponsible it can cause serious problems for the company.  You can look back at company’s who have not necessarily broken the law, but the public finds them lacking in certain areas.  Ultimately, if the public doesn’t like the way you run your business, then they are not going to want to have any involvement with your company. 

For the public, I think they demand that companies show responsibility in the area of human rights.  Nobody likes to find out that their favorite sweater was made in some broken down, cramped factory.  There have been several cases where major companies factories have been exposed and the public was not pleased.  The public wants to know that the people working for these large companies are being taken care of no matter how small the task or how far down the totum pole the person’s position is.  If the public is not pleased with a company’s treatment of their employees, the consumer will walk away from that company.  The consumer holds all the cards so in order to avoid the public’s retribution, a company must maintain corporate responsibility.  In my opinion this can easily be done by simply treating people with respect.  If the top dogs at a major corporation wouldn’t want to work in any of their own factories then they should assume that their employees probably feel the same way.  The main focus of a corporation is the bottom line, but a company must not forget the human factor and remember that taking care of your own will reward you in the end.

Posted by: Female Perspective | October 30, 2010

TOW: Kat Lovin

On Thursday, our Corporate PR class had a video conference with Kat Lovin who works in public relations for the Salvation Army.  Kat was there to talk to us about specifically crisis management and working for the Salvation Army has provided her with the experience that most of us students are lacking.  One of the first things that Kat explained to us was the difference between a disaster and a crisis.  A disaster is something that happens to you, it is something caused by God or an outside force that you have absolutely no control over.  However, a crisis is something that you have a hand in; it is something that you have control over and a say in.  It is important to understand the difference in order to be able to know how to approach the two different situations. 

Kat also talked about how important the willingness to communicate with your employees, customers, and media is when dealing with a crisis.  When dealing with a crisis, your initial reaction might be to internalize it.  Certainly, when you are dealing with a personal crisis you don’t think about how to best communicate that crisis with the world or a least most people don’t.  However, when you work for a corporation the right communication can make all the difference for the outcome of a crisis.  If the public feels like you are being honest and genuine and aren’t trying to hide anything, they are going to be more willing to remain true to your company. 

Near the end of the conference, Kat really highlighted the importance of using social medias.  Social media is not only a great way to make connections but to track certain “hot button” topics.  In every corporation there is a list of possible issues that could arise that he company must be on the look out for, social media allows a company to keep tabs on those issues and can give them sort of a heads up.

Posted by: Female Perspective | October 30, 2010

Chapter 13: Corporate Responsibility

Chapter 13: Corporate Responsibility

Corporate responsibility means meeting the expectations of stakeholders; however, it is going beyond that.  You don’t want to the bare minimum, but instead go above and beyond the regulations and the stucture that have been set up for your corporation.  By doing this, you will make sure that you are no where near crossing the line of corporate responsibility.

Human rights have known become an essential concern within corporate responsibility.  Many large coporations have come under scrutiny by the government and the media for the abuse of human rights.  Companies need to be aware of how their employees especially their labor workers are being treated and keep their working conditions above the standard set by the government. 

Corporate responsibility can only be successfull with the communications department on board.  In order for that communication to be successful must be accurate, credible, and transparent.  The companies that do this will excel at corporate responsibility and will be able to manage the stakeholder’s expectations better.   

**all this information came from the book, Reputation Management by John Doorley

Posted by: Female Perspective | October 23, 2010

Chili’s New Celebrities

Over the last couple of months, the world has watched in shock as 32 coal miners were trapped in a mine in Chili.  People were entranced watching the videos that the miners were able to send out to family and friends and the fact that nobody had killed anyone yet.

Last week, those same 32 miners were finally released from their dark prison.  For hours upon hours, rescue workers sent a small cage down a tube to reach the miners and bring them back to safety.  All of the miners were safely returned to their families.

Now that the miners are back on the surface, they have become celebrities and news rooms are clamouring to talk to the miners.  These miners have gone from being simple working men to being wanted by Diane Sawyer, Oprah, and every other major news source in North America.  It must be incredibly nerve racking for these men who spent months underground.  They certainly do not have the necessary knowledge to navigate through this storm of publicity.  It is going to take a team of publicists to help these miners figure out how much publicity they are willing to endure.

Posted by: Female Perspective | October 23, 2010

Chapter 12: Crisis Communication

Chapter 12: Crisis Communication

Every company needs to realize that at some point an event will occur that may effect the reputation of the company.  The way that the crisis communication is handled can either lessen or worsen the effect that the event will have.  An effective response revolves around not just what the company says, but also what they do. 

Time is not one’s friend when dealing with crisis communication.  The sooner that a company acknowleges that there is an issue, the quicker a plan can be put into action to take care of the damage. 

A crisis is not some major catrostrophic event that will ruin a company’s reputation.  A crisis is simply something that if left alone will cause severe damage to a company’s reputation, operations, or finances.  If a crisis is not dealt with immediately, it will turn into something much more damaging and you will only be left with more problems.   

**all this information came from the book, Reputation Management by John Doorley

Posted by: Female Perspective | October 23, 2010

Chapter 11: Issues Management

Chapter 11: Issues Management

Issues management is a company’s “peremptive strike”.  Those in issue management are in charge of recognizing any problems that may arise in the business world either internal or external and then devising a plan in order to avoid those problems from turning into a crisis.  It is a form of risk management. 

Once an issue is identify it is important to prioritize the issues.  First, you have to decide the likelihood that an issue is going to occur and be a disadvantage for the company.  Then you need to determine the magnitude that the issue would have on the company that is if their was an issue how much harm would be caused on the corporation. 

The planning process for issues management follows the structure of a few simple steps.  
1)  Research/Risk Assessment – This is the part where you identify the issues that could possibly arise in the business environment.  
2)  Develop a Plan – This plan should have objectives, strategies, tatics, messages, budgets, timeliness and evaluation mechanics. 
3)  Action and Communication – Through this you are implementing certain parts of your plan and also maintaining communication within your team and the company.
4)  Evaluation – Take the time to go back and assess your results.

Posted by: Female Perspective | October 20, 2010

Informational Interview with PR Practitioner

Informational Interview of PR Practitioner

Interviewer: Jennifer Cicotta
Interviewee: Laura Saxby Lynch

This morning I interviewed the Director of Corporate Communications of Paychex, Laura Saxby Lynch.  Paychex was founded in 1971 and since then has become one of the nation’s top payroll and human relations companies.  Their client list expands across the country and even into Europe.  Laura has been with the company for almost ten years.  She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication from St. Bonaventure University.  Originally, Laura started her career in radio and eventually television broadcast.   Later, she moved on to the world of public relations which is where she was recruited by Paychex to develop their public relations department.

(All answers to the following questions are paraphrased and not directly quoted)

What is a typical week like for you and your staff?

My primary role is to develop a plan and execute that plan as it relates to media relations.  My team of five and I are constantly looking to advance the positive reputation of our company and its brand.  On a daily bases, we are identifying and responding to interview requests that will get our Paychex experts into local and national publications.  I am also in charge of writing news releases that are sent out to various media outlets and our employees. 

Can you tell me about a project that you worked on recently that you are particularly proud of?

At the end of September, the company appointed a new CEO.  I was informed on a Wednesday afternoon that the next day we would be announcing the new CEO to the public which gave me less than 24 hours to create a communication plan and to execute it without letting anyone know the reason.  We had to put together a national news release, a company news release, an article for the company news letter, a news advisory to local media outlets letting them know about the following morning’s press conference, and set up the on-site logistics for the press conference. 

How do you stay current in the PR industry?

First, I am a member of two different communication’s executive groups; one that I pay a membership fee for and one that I was invited to join.  These groups give me access to research and provide me with connections within the public relations industry.  As far as social media goes, the company is currently in the process of polishing their Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Currently, the sites are in a soft-launch meaning that they are up but not complete.  Every day, I also have a member of my staff who checks several social medias in order to keep us updated on what is happening in the industry. 




What do you wish you would have known when you started in public relations?

I wish I had known how quickly things can change.  Technology changes constantly and you have to be able to adapt to those changes.  However, the fundamentals that I received from my college education still remain relevant and the bases for success in my field.

How important is writing in your job?

Writing is absolutely essential.  If I receive a cover letter that has punctuation errors in it, I instantly throw it away because there is no way that I am going to hire a person who can’t write.  In this industry, you are constantly writing and need to become proficient at it. 

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in PR?

First of all be patient.  Second, even if your school doesn’t require it, find an internship.  An internship will give you the practical experience that will be necessary when you are trying to find a job.  If there is a specific community that you hope to work in, become familiar with the community and the people living in it.  Also, you have to be able to network.  Go places where you are going to meet people in the industry and will have the opportunity to pick their brain.  For example, the Public Relations Society of America has a chapter in almost every major city in the country; become a member and attend any luncheons that they may organize.  You may also want to consider getting involved in a non-profit organization in your community.  Many of these organizations will welcome someone with public relations experience on their board so it is a good way to get some experience and to learn about the community.

Posted by: Female Perspective | October 17, 2010

Buzzer Beater

Hey ladies!

So as some of you might know this blog was only created for a class; however, I have enjoyed being able to explore the world of sports.  Now that my class has finished, I cannot promise that I will keep blogging, but who knows.  I may come to miss it!! Anyways, thanks for checking in every once and a while. 

Keep on playing ladies!

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