Inside the Profession

Friday Five: Keeping PR Pros Sharp — Tips and Tools of the Trade

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As public relations professionals delve into the reality that the media landscape they once knew very well is evolving due to increased digital and social media components, identifying opportunities to fine-tune skills you already have and building on those skills with professional development and key learnings has become the way of the future.

This week’s PRSA “Friday Five” post — an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary — explores some great “how-to” and “top” tips that are aimed to help keep any public relations pro’s game sharp. We look at how improved focus can win over clients and colleagues in various social situations, provide tips on how to improve your writing and offer ideas on how to land your pitch in the right hands. Here are some pointers that can put you on the right path to improving your communications performance.

How To Reverse Your Hard Wiring For Distraction (Fast Company)

We all know that charm and charisma go a long way in creating genuine relationships with customers, clients and even our own colleagues. Charismatic behavior can be broken down into three core elements: presence, power and warmth. Have you ever felt, in the middle of a conversation, as if only half of your mind were present, while the other half was busy doing something else? Do you think the other person noticed? Although many of us try to fake presence or pretend like we are listening, others can easily pick up on our body language. This means they know when our presence is lacking, which can be perceived as inauthentic. Fast Company’s Olivia Fox Cabane offers three simple techniques to boost your charisma in personal interactions, and discusses why, on occasion, our brains find it difficult to remain present.

5 New Ways to Network (That You Won’t Dread) (Forbes)

Networking is a tool that should be found in any professional’s tool belt. The goal of networking is to meet new people and become more connected with the right people. Within any industry, there is such a thing as knowing the right people. These are the movers and shakers that provide insight into where the industry is headed, and open doors to professional opportunities. But sometimes, the idea of uncomfortable schmooze-fests, where suit-clad business executives work the room, wine glass in hand, feigned interest at the ready, cause many of us to avoid networking events. Forbes contributor, The Daily Muse, came up with five ideas on how to make networking something to look forward to, as well as ways to optimize your networking moves.

How To Improve Your Writing In 15 Minutes (PR Daily)

In the public relations industry, strong writing is a MUST! No matter how good a writer you think you might be, there is always room for improvement. With the lack of time, yet, a desire — and need in many communications careers — to communicate well via the written word, is there a way to improve our skills while still managing our busy lifestyles? Here are three techniques from PR Daily’s Samantha Hosenkamp that, when used together, take less than 15 minutes. Watch your writing improve!

 10 Tips for Making Your Startup Social (socialmediatoday)

Last week at the PRSA 2012 Digital Impact Conference, a panel of rising public relations stars discussed the multifaceted responsibilities that come with handling communications chores for successful New York startups. Running a startup while maintaining a strong social media presence can be challenging, but what if you’re new to the startup scene and you want to gain an edge in the social realm? This week, socialmediatoday put together a list of 10 tips that should keep public relations pros on track with their social strategy when creating a new startup.

Doing Your Homework: 5 Ways to Turn Every Pitch Into a Big Hit (

Doing a little homework before pitching to media outlets can greatly improve your clients’ chances of garnering publicity.’s Skip Mahaffey shares an anecdotal story about a group of law enforcement officers who were trying to raise support and awareness for the Police Unity Tour, an annual 250-mile bicycle ride to honor law enforcement members killed in the line of duty. This particular group of officers pitched a highly unsuitable radio disk jockey that regularly trashed law enforcement and hated cyclists so much, he actually put out a challenge to his audience to run cyclists off the road. When this jock got hold of their press release, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to make a mockery of the situation, leading to an interview that did not go well. Moral of the story: do background research on any media type you are looking to pitch. Mahaffey is a fan of “The Rule of Fives,” and in his blog post this week, he offers “Five Ways to Accomplish Your Homework Assignment,” that will, in essence, put your pitch in the right set of hands.

Nicole Castro is the public relations associate at the Public Relations Society of America.

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Nicole Castro

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