By Leah Marxen
The Hidden World of PR was an invigorating and exciting session on five key pieces of advice that most of us are rarely taught in our studies. Brandi Boatner, a brand communications manager at IBM, previous PRSSA president and PRSSA Hall of Fame inductee, led this discussion on the multiple significant factors we’re missing as PR students today. Brandi went over these five major points.
1. Personal branding
Brandi first talked about personal branding. How our brand is not what me make but what others make of us. She emphasized the importance of beating the “imposter syndrome.” This is where we pretend to be someone else to fit what we believe others want us to be like. Brandi talked about how this was a huge problem within our generation and how we need to defeat it to create our own personal brand. She talked about how we must be completely honest with ourselves and be open about who we are so we can differentiate ourselves in the world. If we continue with this “imposter syndrome,” we all become the same and there will be nothing to cultivate our own brand. Brandi touched on how no one ever opened our eyes to this, and she wants that to change.
Brandi talked about failure and how we all must go through failure to succeed. She said that we must embrace failure, realize that it is inevitable, grow and learn from it. Brandi used examples like breakups to relate this idea of failure and how we must embrace it. Brandi said there is always a lesson to be learned after something ends and you have to meet people where they are. You can’t win every battle.
3. Business literacy
Business literacy is something huge that people in the public relations sphere often miss. As PR professionals, Brandi suggested we know what we are talking about when it comes to business. She encouraged everyone to get familiar with business terminology and learn how to communicate like a businessperson.
4. Building your skills
Brandi gave large amounts of resources for ways to build our skills as PR professionals. She touched on the importance of learning how to code, how to be digitally intelligent and how to be savvy in all different platforms. She provided us with a set of site links where we could get certified for multiple different skills related to the digital world, which is expanding more and more by the minute.
5. The art of negotiation
Lastly, Brandi discussed the art of negotiation. This last bit of advice got very truthful and touched on a lot of issues within America’s workforce today. Brandi talked about pay wages and how women and men are treated in the workforce. Brandi emphasized the importance of being confident and knowing what you want when you are job hunting in terms of pay. She emphasized the point to “get out of your feelings.” Brandi said to look at the negotiation as a business transaction and don’t let business relationships cloud your mind. She also encouraged everyone to do research on the organization they have the potential to work with and make sure the organization is giving you what you deserve.
This session was incredibly moving and helpful in many ways. Brandi’s use of humor and real stories helped keep us all engaged and interested in what she had to tell us. Learning about these key factors in our profession was very reassuring and made me feel more prepared for my future endeavors. It was a great experience and a great session.