As a career public affairs specialist, I remain committed to the foundations of public relations — Research, Planning, Implementation and Execution, or RPIE — and my journey to achieving Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) was no different. The APR quest for me was first a personal, then a professional accomplishment. A member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) since 1995, I earned a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in the late 1990s, started a family and worked on. I always had the burning desire to achieve the APR, but it was after a yearlong leadership journey in 2011 that pushed me to turn desire into action.
Tags: APR: Accredited in Public Relations, Corporate Communications and Public Relations, Government Relations & Military Communications, public affairs
I’m so looking forward to presenting “Media Training: How to Deliver Compelling Messages” on Sunday, Oct. 12 from 4:45 p.m. – 6:00 p.m at the PRSA 2014 International Conference. At previous conferences this session attracted a standing-room only crowd that generated stimulating questions and dynamic interactions. I hope you’ll plan to attend this year’s workshop and join the fast-paced, engaging program designed to guide you through spokesperson preparation, message development, delivery and control techniques, and personal presence.
Spokespersons — and PR practitioners who provide behind-the-scene counsel and support — know successful communications skills are honed by media training and practice. The most effective are strategic and follow a simple five-step process to drive message development and interview preparation.
Tags: 2014 International Conference, Corporate Communications and Public Relations, media training, Professional Development and Training, prsa conferences, PRSA International Conference, Techniques & Tactics
There’s no time like the present. That is my best advice for anyone considering pursuing their Accreditation. For me, the journey was largely personal. I had been working for the same organization for nine years, and had settled into a comfortable role. There was no external pressure to achieve the APR, but it was something I had always considered, and thought would be a valuable learning process.
I finally decided to take the plunge at a rather unlikely stage in my life. With two young children at home — and a new baby due in February 2014 — I knew it was “now or never,” and I decided to fill out the paperwork to apply. Once I received my acceptance letter in September 2013, I nearly got cold feet. How in the world would I manage to do this at such a chaotic time? But I also had the new baby on the way, creating a tangible deadline. So I set a five-month window to complete the process and got to work.
Here are my top five tips from my experience:
The Associated Press Stylebook has been the gold standard for arbitrating style for journalists and for other professional writers for decades. However, that gold may be tarnishing with age — and AP may be recognizing this — as the wire service guide recently made some changes to the time-honored bible for writers.
It all started in March, when AP changed its rule to allow use of “over” to also mean “more than.” Some said the change was overdue, but most traditionalists disagreed that it was more than due.
More recently, AP has decided to spell out states completely (when used with a city, town, village or military base). Previously, the AP had its own unique manner of abbreviating states’ names — unique in that it was a third way — neither completely spelled out nor abbreviated with two capital letters in accordance with U.S. Postal Service practices. Hence, Arizona was known to AP initiates as “Ariz.” Ariz. also might be Frank Zappa’s previously unknown daughter.
Keeping in mind the scarcity of ink and column-inch resources inherent to 20th century print, it would have made the most sense for AP to have followed the lead of the Postal Service in 1963, when that respected national institution took to the two-letter path to make room on the envelope for its new ZIP code. Or, when given a second chance to do so in circa 2014; a time when a tweet stops at 140 characters and a text at 160, every letter literally counts. But that’s OK, AP, go ahead and say to spell them all out. After all, we’ve blindly followed you for this long.
AP generally arbitrates for the sake of consistency, which tends to support clarity. Except when it doesn’t. Hence, when every taxpaying American knows MO from MD, for consistency but not clarity did AP stick to its timeworn abbreviating practice up to now.
So if change is in the air at AP HQ, might I suggest a few additional moves?
I set out to achieve my Accreditation in Public Relations with a goal of learning public relations best practices and what it would take for me to be the best practitioner I could be. Most importantly, so I thought, I wanted to prove to myself that I could accomplish an aggressive personal goal.
As I glance at my APR certificate on the bookshelf in my office, I realize the process helped me learn a little more about myself than I initially bargained for:
- Meeting a personal goal within my allotted time frame. Check.
- Studying best practices and gaining knowledge and skills to become a better practitioner. Check.
- Feeling more confident in what I’ve already accomplished in my career and a sense of pride in what I’m capable of accomplishing in this wonderful field. Double check!
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