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I’ve heard of an end-of-semester bash, but that was uncalled for

When I heard we’d be doing yet another client communications plan and pitch, I must admit, I pouted. Many of my classmates agree that the age-old client comm plan has gotten a little bit redundant over the past four years of the Bachelor of Public Relations degree. Fortunately this final project was different.

Working with Danielle Gaudet and the Women in Business initiative was an excellent experience. She was the most receptive and participative client I’ve ever worked with for an academic assignment. In addition to providing detailed responses to all of our questions, she asked questions of her own, demonstrating a genuine level of interest in our work.

The requirements for the communications tactics were also a refreshing change. Working solely with social media tools allowed us to transcend the monotonous press release rut that many of us have gotten ourselves into. I’m so grateful to complete my degree with an arsenal of fresh ideas along with the theory and practice to back them up.

On another note, I’d like to address something that happened toward the end of our class presentations—and I say this with the utmost MSN smiley emoticon-ness . After one team finished their pitch, several student spectators took it upon themselves to interrogate the team, questioning the validity of their research and the suitability of their tactics.

While we’re all encouraged to be critical thinkers, I don’t think it was an appropriate occasion to articulate those criticisms. From my understanding, the classroom should be a supportive learning environment where students can bounce ideas off one another—not squash them in front of a client to whom a team has just presented weeks of evident hard work.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned or just naïve, but I think the same standard should apply everywhere—even in this business world that we’re all so competitive and eager to enter. I would hope that we, as Public Relations practitioners, could set an example in mustering up some support and tact in regards to our colleagues. As self-gratifying as it is to be competitive, things seem to work better when we drop the cut-throat attitude and work as a team.

Okay that’s my beef.

It’s been an awesome semester and I’ve learned so much from everyone—what a sharp bunch of ladies (and gentleman) we are!

Best of luck to all! 

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June 26, 2009 - Posted by | Comment on Course Material, Uncategorized | , , , , ,

7 Comments »

  1. If my question in any way made the last group feel as bad as this blog post made me feel than I apologize sincerely. I never intended my question to be hurtful or embarrassing and I’m truly sorry if it was. If anyone in the group had an issue I would have hoped they would have addressed it, and to be honest I find this post to be just what it is criticizing….

    Comment by beewilly | July 5, 2009 | Reply

  2. I’m sorry Bailey. I wasn’t thinking of you when I wrote it. The question you asked was legit, but then we all started throwing out tough questions–myself included–and it felt like an interrogation. I felt bad afterwards and it was on my mind a day later so I just threw it out there for my last blog. Didn’t intend to call you out, or accuse anyone of attacking. Just a stream-of-consciousness thought babble. I’m sorry if my post hurt anyone else. That was definitely not my intention. Cyber-truce? Anyone?

    Comment by mostlyheather | July 6, 2009 | Reply

  3. I think it’s great that it’s all out in the open.

    I also think that during presentations we should be prepared to answer any questions your client or interrogators have. Maybe it’s because we aren’t familiar with one another but asking fairly tough questions at the end of presentations is the norm where I come from. I don’t mean that every presentation should be a Dragon’s Den but if no one asks questions we would be doing our classmates a disservice.

    I’d also like to point out that we had a lot of questions for more reasons other than just to be jerks.

    The ‘age-old’ comm plan and pitch is what we do for work. It is the method by which we prove our worth and deliver results. I don’t think there is anything redundant about that. If you aren’t doing research in preparation to develop a strategic plan and answer questions(especially in this line of work)then what are you doing?

    Perhaps I’m the naive one, though.

    Sorry.

    Comment by emjay08 | July 6, 2009 | Reply

  4. I too must be naive. (refer to above post)

    I agree completely with Matt, I expect questions to be asked at the end of a presentation. I expect to learn from my classmates and hopefully vice versa. It has always been the case that discussions arise after a student presentation and so my questions were NOT meant to interrogate or disrespect anybody.

    As far as this “cut-throat attitude” you refer to, I don’t believe that I – or anyone else in the class – were asking questions in a competitive or unpleasant manner. As far as asking questions goes, we are encouraged to challenge one another and learn from one another. That is what makes class so rewarding…the whole “together we are wise” situation. …?

    I didn’t mean to call anyone out or to hurt anyone’s feelings. If I did, I too apologize.

    Kim

    Comment by kbslice | July 6, 2009 | Reply

  5. You guys are right. Asking questions and challenging one another is an important part of what we do. (And yes Matt, the “age-old comm plan” is also a part of what we do, don’t patronize me, I’m a big girl.) But these are only very small parts of a bigger picture. One would have to have a very narrow view of PR to claim that “what we do” is solely developing comm plans and answering questions.

    So what am I doing, you ask? I’m making a case for some other, often neglected parts of that bigger PR picture: exhibiting compassion and collaborating in a constructive manner. It’s one thing to offer thoughtful questions and suggestions, but it’s another to state that an idea “just wouldn’t work” without offering some kind of alternative solution.

    I’m not pointing fingers here—I too asked the questions. Something just didn’t feel right afterward. I hope it was okay to blog about my gut feeling—which, of course may very well have been unfounded.

    And yes, “together we are wise”. But together we can also be intimidating, condescending or even bullies, whether we intended it or not. I know I’ve been guilty of that before. I’m just saying that we, the future of PR, should be careful so that those negative things don’t become a part of the bigger PR picture too.

    Comment by mostlyheather | July 6, 2009 | Reply

  6. I’m a lot more upset about this situation than can be expressed in blog comments.

    Comment by emjay08 | July 7, 2009 | Reply

  7. Please don’t be upset! I’m just babbling, I’m sorry. Call if you want to talk. 223-8905

    Comment by mostlyheather | July 7, 2009 | Reply


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