Timeless Tips That Serve As Your Survival Guide For This New Year

Posted by PRSA_MelissaMY on 02/11/2020 10:36 pm  

This year, members of PRSA hit the ground running at the first PRSA luncheon on January 9. Trish DeBerry, president of The DeBerry Group, and Frank Guerra, founder of GDC Marketing, delivered a refreshing presentation over some of the most viable PR tips to apply to your practice now.

After emphasizing that “negotiating clients through complicated community issues” is her strong suit, DeBerry was able to hone in on the key elements needed to create bold and productive outcomes when tackling a PR crisis. Throughout her presentation, “2020 PR Tips and Trends,” DeBerry presented her content by demonstrating a trend that is relevant in PR today, and then proposing an effective way to channel and own that trend in your practice of public relations. For example, one of my favorite trends that was taught, very apt for the PR world today, was the focus on “transparency and authenticity.” DeBerry encouraged us to be real with who we are (as an agency, corporate or independent PR practitioner) and what we have to work with when problem-solving a crisis as a way of “being productive in telling your story.” One of the tips DeBerry shared to most effectively deliver this to your clients and community was the importance of having an intentional crisis communication plan and to be prepared to act on it. Having this plan in place will give you a head start when tackling a crisis and allow you to maximize your strengths. 

During the presentation, both DeBerry and Guerra provided examples from their professional careers when they had to manage and tame a crisis. They made it clear that crises are inevitable, especially in the fast-paced PR world, but having a plan could save you time, money, stress, and most likely your career. 

Frank Guerra even talked about a time when a news station was going to broadcast a false and destructive story about his firm. Guerra emphasized that it’s in those unfair and unavoidable moments that one must first remain calm, and then explore the issue in a productive manner. In this case, he had a plan and spoke with authoritative figures in the field to better resolve and remove the issue from existence. As Guerra explained, it is vitally important for the future and reputation of your company to be “prepared to act on your plan” and follow through with the crisis instead of avoiding it altogether. 

Although the entirety of the presentation was captivating and informative, DeBerry wrapped up her overall message by emphasizing her top “Timeless Tips,” or as I read it, “Rules to Live by in PR,” as she encouraged us in how to be effective PR practitioners. 

Her top three pieces of advice were: 

  1. Control the message or someone else will control it for you
  2. Always be proactive 
  3. Share your own bad news first 

The essence of boldness held within her advice was raw and motivating. As a college student studying the art of PR, I appreciated her straightforward and honest analysis that serves as an overall survival guide for anyone in the field. DeBerry focused on the importance of taking control of who you are as professional and a company, owning it, and being intentional with the message you are constantly putting forth. 

Altogether, the takeaways from this luncheon were valuable, especially considering the critical role of professionals out in battle in the field such as Trish DeBerry and Frank Guerra. PRSA members had much to learn from them and I believe they equipped us all with useful tools and information as we take on this new year and decade to come. 

By PRSA Student Member Georgina Vela