Thursday, February 4, 2010

Networking - Part 2: Going Public

I'm probably going to be accused of going on a rant this morning, but I read a very disturbing article in The Boston Globe about some parents who are encouraging/allowing their children to become immersed in online games and other Internet-based activity.

As a public relations professor in Curry College's Communication Department faced with the daily challenges of introducing young people to the many wonderful ways in which they can use their own skills, I have a serious problem with this.

Why? Because I, myself, am by nature an introvert. I am incredibly uncomfortable in group interactions. I would rather sit in my room with my teddy bear and a good book than go out into the "world" and be with "people."

But I do go out...and I do this because I have learned that human, face-to-face interaction is vital for successful communication. Nothing can replace the insights that you derive from looking someone in the eyes while discussing, negotiating, debating...communicating.

I am constantly urging my students to join campus organizations and get involved, to attend on-campus as well as off-campus meetings to meet and mingle with others, to start developing their social interaction skills.

At Curry, we have the Curry College Public Relations Student Association (CCPRSA) with monthly chapter meetings bringing in communication professionals from the area to talk about their own careers and offer tips and advice for making that move into the "real world." More importantly, it is an on-campus opportunity for students to meet and mingle with others and further refine their one-on-one communication skills.

The Boston Chapter, Public Relations Society of America and the Publicity Club of New England also both offer excellent programming. Both also welcome student attendees and offer special pricing to encourage students to attend.

So, for my own students and for others who can identify with a veteran PR professional's own fear of as I did oh-so-many-years-ago..."go public."

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