A Day of Networking for PR Students at Connection Day

left to right: Christopher Scheben, Alexa Sibilio, Lauren Katz, Vania Andre (Professor Morosoff’s grad-assistant)

The Fair Media Council (FMC) is a not-for-profit media watch organization that encourages quality local news. Thirty years ago, a group of concerned business and community leaders created FMC to educate local consumers on how to decipher important news. Jaci Clement is the Executive Director of this organization and has a notable background in journalism and media, which is why she is such a strong advocate for quality local news coverage.

The Fair Media Council hosts various events to educate organizations on how to be a part of the news ecology. Connection Day is an event the FMC hosts where communicators and leaders are invited for a day of networking and education. The event features workshops and panel discussions regarding news media, social media, story-pitching, presentation skills, crisis management tips, ways to establish media relations, how to create video messages, and more. It is also a great way for local businesses to meet with local media professionals and/or pitch stories.

On October 27, 2011, myself along with two other students attended the Fair Media Council’s Connection day at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, NY, as research assistants for Hofstra’s very own, Professor Jeff Morosoff. As students of his, Professor Morosoff offered a unique opportunity to Lauren Katz, Christopher Scheben, and myself. We were asked to help him with his research project pertaining to how not-for-profit organizations do PR. We went to Connection Day to help Professor Morosoff hand out surveys to not-for-profit communicators in order to achieve his objective.

I met professional communicators from various different fields and organizations, including both for and not-for-profits. What I thought was going to be “just another thing to put on my resume,” turned out to be the experience of a lifetime, and one I will never forget. There were representatives from FOX5, CW, CBS, ABC, Newsday, and other local news stations along with colleges such as St. Josephs and of course Hofstra. This was my first experience networking and I was very intimidated at first, but gained comfort as I realized how approachable the professionals in the room were.

In between handing out surveys, Professor Morosoff encouraged us to sit in on some of the panel discussions and workshops. Chris and myself sat in on a very interested panel discussion called, Social Media for Small Business. I enjoyed listening and learning from the panel members, but my favorite part of the day was getting to network with the people that I will hopefully one day work with.

Taking advantage of Professor Morosoff’s opportunity was one of the best decisions. Not only did it lead to internships for other students, but also it increased my knowledge of public relations in general as well as adding some experience to my resume. Hofstra students do not always realize the vast amount of opportunities offered here at Hofstra. In my experiences over the past four years, I have come to learn that the teachers here are very able and willing to help us in either getting internships, jobs, or other experiences associated with our desired department of study. If I did not open my email and reply to Professor Morosoff’s unique opportunity, I would not have met Jaci Clement and other professional communicators, Lauren may not have snagged her internship from CW11, and most importantly- I would not have obtained networking experience. Hofstra professors can offer a lot more than grades, but experience and mentoring too.

The Fair Media’s platform to bring local communities and news outlets together is a great message for students studying PR because it is important that we stay up-to-date with current events. To learn more about the Fair Media Council and Jaci Clement’s goals for the future of our local media, you can check out http://fairmediacouncil.totalcomputersusa.com/. FMC is a patron of Hofstra and has even offered internships to Hofstra students in the past. Whether you are majoring in Journalism or PR, the Fair Media Council can teach you. I learned a lot from Connection Day and cannot wait for more networking/learning experiences like this in the future!

Alexa Sibilio
Hofstra Public Relations Student

Hofstra PRSSA Hosts Another Successful Networking Dinner

After weeks of planning and hard work, PRSSA is happy to report that our annual Networking Dinner was once again a success.

This event is held each year to help our driven PR students expand their network by providing a casual dinner to meet some of New York’s most successful PR professionals. Last week, seven different PR pros penciled PRSSA into their busy schedules and came out to talk to students over dinner donated from multiple local restaurants. Throughout the night students and professionals continuously engaged in exciting conversation, discussing topics ranging from how to get into the PR industry to how to be a successful intern.

Professionals included Sofia Alayon from ESPN, Kristen Prestano and Jessica Fuller from CJP Communications, Jessica Rice of the American Kennel Club, Micah Jesse founder of MicahJesse.com, Sujata Gidumal from Hunter PR, and Gary Lewi of Rubenstein Associates. Each professional provided helpful tips for the students throughout the night. During their introduction, when asked the question, “What advice would you give your college self?” the professionals emphasized the need for internships, hard work, and a love for public relations.  These three points, however, are just a glimpse into the advice offered by the professionals.

By the end of the dinner, each student had gained seven new contacts in the PR world, expanding their network and getting closer to becoming successful in the industry.

Daniele Natola
PRSSA VP of Fundraising for Special Events 

12 Must-Have Networking Tips

Tomorrow is PRSSA’s Annual Networking Dinner and what better way is there to prepare for a networking event than to hear from an expert networker, Mindy Ferrentino Wolfe, President of Neptune Marketing LLC.

Mindy has won countless awards including, but not limited to Public Relations Professionals of Long Island Mentor of the Year award in 2009, was named one of the top 50 most influential women in business by Long Island Business News and presented the President’s Award from Soroptimist International of Nassau County both in 2008.

On Wednesday, November 2, 2011, PRSSA and PRestige members got the chance to learn tips and tricks to develop networking skills from Mindy. Don’t worry if you missed the meeting! Below is a recap of her twelve tips to networking:

  1. It’s all about relationship building. It’s not about giving out and collecting the greatest number of business cards.
  2. Follow up, follow up, follow up!
  3. Networking is not pitching- it is all about relationship building.
  4. Gravitate towards other “onezies” in the room.
  5. Effective networkers don’t wait for opportunities to come to them. Bo an introduction facilitator- be proactive.
  6. Volunteerism- altruism has it rewards.
  7. It’s about giving and not getting- payback will come!
  8. Hey, look at me when we’re talking! You can still work the room.
  9. Don’t sit with people you know.
  10. Effective networking requires investment time.
  11. Name tag on the right side.
  12. Never underestimate the value of a thank you.

Whether this is your first networking dinner, or your fourth, you can learn from Mindy’s tips. Make sure to build relationships with the professionals. You don’t need to talk to all of the professionals in the room; it is about the quality of the relationship not the quantity of professionals you speak with. When the dinner ends is when the relationship building can really begin. Email the professionals personalized thank you emails and connect with them on LinkedIn and/or twitter. The professionals attending the event understand the goal of student attendees is to obtain internships/jobs and make connections that can help them reach these goals so do not feel uncomfortable asking about internship programs or job opportunities- the professionals are attending to help you.

In addition to covering networking tips and tricks, Mindy shared with us what students can include on business cards: first and last name, phone number, email address, twitter, LinkedIn, and something to identify yourself (i.e.-PRSSA Member, PRestige Member). If you have networking cards, we encourage you to bring them to the dinner.

This year’s Networking Dinner is taking place today, November 6, 2011 at 8:00 PM. Professional guests include ESPN, Rubenstein, Hunter Public Relations, CJP Communications, Micah Jesse, and the American Kennel Club. I look forward to seeing all of you pro-networkers there!

Kim Caro
President, PRSSA

Professional’s Tips from A Night of Networking

 

Women in Leadership

As we make our way through our college years, networking and forming contacts for the future becomes increasingly important. Connections have become a primary way for communication students to make the transition from college into the working world. I am constantly thinking about people I know who can help me get to where I want to be. On Monday, in hopes of expanding my network, I attended A Night of Networking hosted by Hofstra University’s new program, Women in Leadership. At this event, students and recent alumni were able to listen to and get tips from a panel of Hofstra graduates who have made their way up the corporate ladder and now hold positions that would be a dream come true for many current students. This was a great opportunity to learn some dos and don’ts of the trade; but don’t panic, if you weren’t able to go, here are some helpful tips from the professionals.

 

Ask Questions – Lauren Ruotolo, Director of Entertainment Promotions at Hearst Magazine, is an avid believer in asking questions. Ruotolo stated that a lot of the time, when given a task, interns don’t know exactly what their supervisors are looking for. If you are not 110 percent positive you know what you are doing, make sure you ask questions. This will show that you are passionate about learning the ropes and getting things right the first time. Not to mention, you will make both yours and your boss’s lives easier.

Go Back to the Basics – Facebook, Twitter, and texting has flipped our writing skills upside down. As students, we are constantly using social media to get our points across in a fast manner – these days we don’t even have the time to write out the word “you” anymore. However, once we make our way into the working world, we need to remember that “u” is just a letter and not an actual word. Bonnie Optekman, Vice President of News Technology at NBC, told the audience to always revert back to the basics. Even in a text message, employers want to see that we are aware of proper spelling and possess good writing skills. Optekman advised to always be professional while communicating during your internships.

Snail Mail – Who would have guessed that the postal service still exists? Email has taken over snail mail and to many college students regular mail is no longer a form of communication. However, the panel of professionals believes a hand written thank you note after an interview can go a long way. It was agreed upon that receiving a thank you card rather than an email shows that the interviewee really cares. Celia Berk, Chief Talent Officer at Young & Rubicam Brands and moderator of the event, gave a great piece of advice when she told the audience to add aspects of interview conversation into your thank you notes. This demonstrates to employers that you were interested in what was going on and that you’re passionate about your possible internship. Just think about it, an extra 44 cents for a stamp can put you at the top of any professional’s list!

If you hope to be in the seats of these professionals someday, their tips and tricks are great stepping stones to get you where you want to be.

 

 

Daniele Natola, Junior, Public Relations Major

Networking Tips and Etiquette

Hofstra’s chapter of PRSSA will be hosting its 4th annual Networking Dinner on

Thursday, Nov. 18 at 7:00 p.m.

Networking Dinner is an excellent opportunity for Hofstra students to connect to PR professionals on a more personal level. Professionals attending the dinner will include: Jessica Bellucci from Pix 11, Stephanie Golden from The Lippin Group, Erin Maestas from The Knot, Michelle Betrock from the Food Network, Jill Weiskopf from New York Magazine, and many more. All professionals will be invited to share a few words about what they do and will then be able to mingle with students.

For any PR student looking for an internship, or just more information about a particular branch of PR, this event is a must!

It is essential to not only be able to network but be able to walk into any situation and confidently begin a conversation with anyone in the room. As the saying goes, it’s not always what you know but who you know.

Andrew Weich, a PR and Social Media Coordinator, provides some good tips on the Comet Branding Blog http://cometbranding.com/blog/.

1. Hang up and Live.

First of all, put your phone away. “Hang up and Live.” My good friend Vince always preaches this to me when we are together in social settings. I know,  sounds hypocritical for me to tell people to put their phone away when I catch myself disobeying this rule. I often find that my phone can be a crutch at a networking event. Instead of forcing myself to talk with someone, I’ll just whip out the ol’ Droid from my pocket and check my email, Twitter and Facebook. Then I think to myself, “How can I expect to engage with other attendees if I’m glued to my phone the whole time?”

The phone doesn’t have be turned off or left in the car, but be conscious of how other guests perceive you. I’m less likely to walk up to someone and spark up a conversation if all they are doing is staring at their phone. Even in this TweetUp/MeetUp/Web2.0 world we live in, we still need to be aware of our surroundings and make the right impression.

Prepare your Elevator Pitch

Typically the first question someone asks you after finding out your name is “what do you do?” It’s a pretty basic question, but sometimes can cause a lot of people to trip up.  Before you enter a networking event, quickly practice your elevator speech to yourself. How do you want these potential professional contacts to see you? Make sure it’s not too long — just some quick facts about who you are and what you do, which will hopefully open up into more conversations.

The eyes are the windows to the soul

My high school theater director told me this quote in terms of engaging with the audience, but the same concept can be applied to a networking setting. Non-verbal communication cues are very important in a social atmosphere and I believe the eyes take the cake. We can say so much with our eyes alone, so maintain eye contact with the person you are talking to, smile, be engaged in the conversation and see where you can contribute.

Speak up!

This is one tip I usually have the hardest time with. Being a young professional in a networking setting, I often just try to blend in the background and listen, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but shouldn’t always be the case. When in a discussion, feel free to speak up. Show your smarts and contribute to the conversation. During my college career, I had a professor with an outstanding business record that would always say teaching had opened his eyes to so many possibilities. Although young professionals might not have all the experience, we still have some pretty cool ideas so don’t be afraid to share and contribute.

Melissa has read several articles about networking etiquette from various business professionals and websites. Each article she’s read more or less said the same thing. Here’s the consensus:

Pay attention to social cues

Although you may have intentions of discussing business, your prospective contact may have been looking forward to some down time. If you infringe on certain topics the other person is not interested in talking about, you are risking losing what may be a valuable contact to you in your future. Be sure to gauge what mood the person is in, or perhaps warm up with basic topics of interest so you may eventually ease the conversation into what you intended to talk to the person about.

Dress to impress

Networking isn’t always at a ready set time and place. You could find potential contacts at a bar, restaurant, or even in line for popcorn at the movie theaters. Therefore, make sure you are always in clothes that flatters you in a composed way. But don’t feel inhibited if you aren’t dressed your best when you run into a potential contact; your best outfit is a genuine smile and confidence. Basically, you want to make sure “your visual message matches your verbal message” as Aviva Shiff says in her article on Sideroad, a website that gives “Practical Advice Straight from the Experts”.

Set a goal

Why are you networking? Is it because you’d like to learn from people involved with certain industries? Is it because you think you’ve designed the next form of social media?  Be sure to mingle genuinely with everyone, but setting a goal such as “I’d like to walk out tonight with 5 business cards” will not only give you more drive, it will help you avoid sitting at the bar or table where you may not meet as many people compared to if you were up and about.

Master small talk

Easiest way to do this? Research, research, research!!! Read newspapers, books, listen to different kinds of music. Basically, you want to have a well-rounded basis of information. You never know what sort of interests people will have. Challenge yourself to be able to find common ground with everyone you meet.

Follow-through

Networking is all about building relationships. It goes beyond a conversation. Be sure to shoot a follow-up e-mail or call, either about meeting up at another event, congratulating he or she on a latest accomplishment, or even sending information on topics that you were discussing.


The bottom line is that networking is self-promoting and personal branding. Look and talk the way that you want to be seen and heard. Show interest while others are speaking and actually try to develop relationships.

Alissa Crist, Freshman, Public Relations Major

Melissa Louis-Jacques, Junior, Music Merchandising Major with Public Relations Minor