Not only was I one of the lucky 3,000 people who had the chance to attend this year’s PRSA International Conference in D.C., but I was also one of only a few who received a backstage pass to interview the speakers. From World Food Programme’s Bettina Luescher and Kodak’s former CMO Jeffery Hayzlett to POLITICO founder Jim VandeHei and Groundswell author Charlene Li, the three-day Conference didn’t disappoint. After nine sessions, five keynote speakers and four private interviews, here are the top 10 things I took away from the Conference.
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This year’s PRSA 2010 International Conference was my 11th in the past 12 years. As the date approached, I found myself wondering if it was going to be worth it. Would I really learn something new? Now that the Conference is over, I can report a resounding, “Yes!”
One of the sessions I attended was led by my BurrellesLuce colleague, Johna Burke (@gojohnab). She offered so many great tidbits of social media/media relations-related information that it would be impossible to include them all in this blog post. However, there’s one point that stood out the most to me.
In my session at the PRSA 2010 International Conference I talked about how we at Bailey Gardiner use the Web and social media to support our new business work. Our work started with the recognition that we really weren’t taking our own medicine — we espouse the importance of the website as a resource for decision makers to our clients but were we using it that way? Did we showcase our work creatively? Did we provide understandable case studies and results? Nope.
I noticed that Charlene Li’s was the most cited name by PRSA attendees in the Tweet Cloud just after “PR” and “Social.” Clearly she made an impression.
“Create your social networks internally first,” said Li at the closing keynote. “Find your voice.”
Charlene Li has always been a “good get” in public relations circles. Forrester is perhaps the best industry analyst firm, and Li, Josh Bernoff and Jeremiah Owyang once comprised a triumvirate of analysts you wanted to “get” for a client or your company. Now she and Owyang have started Altimeter Group on their own.
I could sum up today’s presentation on “Simplicity and Persuasion: Move Your Audience to Action” in the few words our presenter closed with:
Motivate the heart. Direct the mind. Simplify to persuade.
Mahmoud Arafa, president and creative director, Designframe USA, told us to simplify the message then present it in a way that elicits interest and taps into the “what’s in it for me” motivation. How do you move from belief to action? That doesn’t come with a single tactic. You must combine tactics and approaches.
Even so, remember simplicity. This is a bandwidth issue — the less words the better. Often simple becomes abstract. Move beyond this.
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