Archive for the ‘Public Relations Industry Notes’ Category

The Pittsburg Steelers’ courageous starting quarterback  Ben Roethlisberger was suspended Wednesday for six games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. A Georgia College and State University accused the Steelers starting quarterback of assaulting her at a bar in Milledgeville, GA. Although he was not officially charged for the offense, he felt the consequences of the altercation and his image of a “good guy” in the National Football League is in jeopardy.

From a public relations stand point I think the suspension may have done as much damage as trial would have. The suspension gives an air of guilt that hasn’t been proven in a court of law. The biggest thing that I would pay attention to on this issue would be on how his advertising opportunities would change. Because this altercation happened without a trial and it was never said that Rothlisberger was guilty or not the BIG QUESTION IS….Will this change his image as the gutsy gentle giant? Honestly, I think it will because of how the media’s perceptions and how this issue of professional athletes and domestic disputes have effected players’ images in the past. For example, Ray Lewis actually went to court and was found NOT GUILTY of a crime concerning a murder in Atlanta but because of the coverage had event, it caused  a negative stigma over his entire career at the time. In this day and age public image, as a public figure, is probably one the most difficult things to up hold (especially if its one of integrity and honesty) because the way news is generated.

In my opinion I believe that if you want to keep a “clean” public image you should watch the company you keep and limit your media footprint around skeptical situations. Although this may be something that is really hard for athletes and entertainers, they have to realize that they serve as role models for a very young and impressionable generations. 



This week in my class we went over several theories that shape how we communicate. One of the most interesting theories has to be the social learning theory. The general idea behind the this theory is that an individual learns or picks up mannerisms from watching surrounding environment.  Social learning theory is derived from the work of Cornell Montgomery which proposed that social learning occurred through four main stages of imitation:

  • close contact
  • imitation of superiors
  • understanding of concepts
  • role model behaviour

In my opinion I think this theory is one of the top theories used in the PR industry. With this being such a copy cat industry (especially in image consulting), practitioners tend to learn how to handle situations based on the mistake they see others make. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the nature of industry. In some instances, the only way you can learn about a situation is if you see someone else and how they react to it, which is the general basis of this theory. From experience I can definitely see how the social learning is used in PR from my days an intern for the Georgia Southern Athletic Media Relations staff my junior year.  I had no idea what I got my self into when I started because I was so clueless and new to the experience. One of my college football coaches gave me some of the best advice I ever heard when I started the internship “Don’t let your fear of being wrong stop you. You have to learn from not only your mistakes but others too. That’s how you get better.” Now that I look back on the concept of this quote, puts the idea behind the quote in perspective. Social learning actually a theory you use in an everyday setting because in order for us to continue to grow and get we must learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others.  

As I come up to my last couple months of school I’ve looked back on my 4 years here at GSU. I must say I’ve learned a lot that I would like to share with anybody who is willing to listen about internships.

Internships Can Be Seen as a Blueprint to Your Future One the most important things that you could do while you are in college is to get an internship.  Internships give the first hand experience that a classroom setting can’t give you. Although classroom setting is an important phase of the learning process but for me, the things I learned from my two internships (GSU Media Relations and University Directories) will stick with me for a lot longer than.  In my opinion, you learn more from an internship because you become apart of an organization in an  industry you wish to learn more about.  By becoming apart of the organization you can find your niche within that organization that may become what you make a living on. In my case, with my first internship for GSU Media Relations I found out that I had talent at designing informational documents like brochures and flyers, which led me onto my second internship with University Directories as an outside advertisement sales representative .  My second internship really helped me see how important it was to communicate effectively with business and organization heads. I really felt comfortable with the seemingly “new way” of communication that I was being exposed to. These experiences have definitely given me a better look at my personal strengths and has also driven me to pursue a career in communications.

Internships Are What You Make Them….Its a Practice Run take it Seriously One of the biggest mistakes many of colleagues have made in the past was giving up an internships because it was not paid. Although paid internships give you more incentive to work unpaid internships are just as important. Both have the ability to springboard you into your dream career

Do Your Homework When Searching For a Company… This simple task may be one of the most underrated tips when it comes to the internship interview process. Companies are looking for interns that are eager to learn more about their organization while gaining experiences from the industry. Plus by doing this you can give yourself an idea of exactly how well you can fit the organizations purpose and objectives.

GET OUT THERE!!!! Closed Mouths Don’t Get Feed!!!! Another mistake a lot of people make in looking for an internship is where and how they look for available targets. DON’T BE SELECTIVE!!!!! Every company is looking to improve their goods and services so if you think you can help or you would like to learn how to ASK THEM FOR OPPORTUNITIES. Half of the time companies will give you a chance because you showed enough confidence to come up and  ask for what you want. In the job market its very hard to get noticed if you don’t make an effort to be. So IF YOU HAVE A TALENT SHOWCASE IT SOME OUT THERE NEEDS IT.

In April 2007, Vick was implicated in an illegal interstate dog fighting ring that had operated over five years. In August 2007, he pleaded guilty to federal felony charges and served 21 months in prison, followed by two months in home confinement. With the loss of his NFL salary and product endorsement deals, combined with previous financial mismanagement, Vick filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2008. Falcons owner Arthur Blanke did not want Vick on the Falcons, and after attempts to trade him failed, Vick was released. Not to mention the damage his reputation to both fans and PETA activists leaving his PR team with a very hard task of re-constructing his image.

I think his PR team did a great job of using the public relations theory while Michael Vick was incarcerated. They were about to keep his name lingering in the pubic, by giving status updates about his desire to make a comeback to the NFL. There were even talks of a T.V. show that was in the making that raised quiet a few eyebrows. He also had a great supporting audience in his family and die-hard fans that helped  his comeback. Michael Vick himself started to write letters to his fans also expressing willingness to make a comeback. This not only caught the eyes of his already passionate fans base but the NFL Commissioner Roger Godall. Even Commissioner Godall saw the compassion that still Michael Vick had for the game through multiples examples (e.i. letters, news updates, personal messages, meetings, etc.) This actually led a must earlier reinstatement than what most thought. This has to be a credit to PR team because they did a great job of showing Vick’s sincere regretfulness and  willingness to make the necessary changes to somehow help the situation. Vick was very active in trying to revamp his image through doing PETA commercials, giving to animals programs around the country and keeping a very nice profile since his release.

And as a reward Vick signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.  He earned $1.6 million and played a small role in the there (11-5) season.

This weekend I ran into something very interesting on T.V. while I was home. There was a show on the Style Network about what to wear to a job interview and I thought it was pretty interesting. Here’s what I learned. 

The first impression you make on a potential employer is the most important one. The first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing. That’s why it’s always important to dress professionally for a job interview.The candidate dressed in a suit and tie is going to make a much better impression than the candidate dressed in scruffy jeans and a t-shirt.

Seek styles that can combine comfort with professionalism. Chances are, you are moving around, shaking hands, smiling 1,000 times a day, running out to meet clients, touring a group of 50+ people, or making an important presentation. The key to dressing for a job in Public Relations is to make it work for you, but to make it look like it’s working for the client!

Look presentable, the PR department is often considered the “face” of a company, the expectation is that you will be the representative. This usually requires business casual dress. Find a happy medium. Remember that it’s not the prom! The last thing you want to do is make a client or customer uncomfortable with your appearance. Many PR jobs will require skirts, slacks, button-up dress shirts, khakis, suits, or shirts with collars.

Here’s a list of tips that should help you out:

Men and Women

  • Conservative two-piece business suit (solid dark blue or grey is best)
  • Conservative long-sleeved shirt/blouse (white is best, pastel is next best)
  • Clean, polished conservative shoes
  • Well-groomed hairstyle
  • Clean, trimmed fingernails
  • Minimal cologne or perfume
  • No gum, candy or cigarettes
  • Light briefcase or portfolio case
  • No visible body piercing (nose rings, eyebrow rings, etc.)


  • Necktie should  a conservative pattern
  • Dark shoes (black lace-ups are best)
  • Dark socks (black is best)
  • Get a haircut; short hair always fares best in interviews
  • No beards (unless you are interviewing for a job as a lumberjack!)
  • Mustaches are a possible negative, but if you must, make sure it is neat and trimmed
  • No earrings (if you normally wear one, take it out)


  • Always wear a suit with a jacket; no dresses
  • Shoes with conservative heels
  • No purses, small or large; carry a briefcase instead
  • Minimal use of makeup (it should not be too noticeable)


Non-verbal communication and body language accounts for over 90% of the message you are sending in your job interview. Your verbal content only provides 7% of the message the interviewer is receiving from you.

1. Sit upright but not too stiff in your chair. This indicates that you are comfortable and feeling confident about the position. Hunching down in your chair gives the impression of nervousness and low self-esteem.

2. Relax and lean slightly forward towards your interviewer. This gives the message that you are both interested and attentative. Listening to the interviewer is more important than talking in some cases and by leaning toward the interviewer you show a good level of comfort and genuine interest in what is being said. Leaning back makes you appear too relaxed and casual. Leaning to the side can be perceived as not feeling comfortable with the interviewer.

3. Where to put your handsYour hands should rest loosely on your lap showing comfort and confidence.   Having your hands near your neck and face (including hair) shows a serious sign of unprofessionalism and nervousness. In some cases, the touching of the lips and noise are seen as signs of lying. Crossing your arms in-front of your chest shows signs of having 

a defensive demeanor .   

interview body language

4.Beware of your leg movement.  A lot of leg movement is both distracting and shows signs of being nervous to the interviewer. Crossing one ankle over the other shows signs of being too casual. Although it’s very comfortable it indicates an air of arrogance that’s not professional. Placing both feet on the floor shows a confident and professional look that is essential for an interview.

5. Eye Contact is key.  If you want to insure that the interviewer knows you are listening to them direct eye contact is the perfect way 

to do that. Experts suggest that when you are talking you need to hold eye contact for periods of 10 seconds before looking away and then re-establishing eye contact. Constant direct eye contact can come across as lecturing or even challenging the interviewer.

interview body language

6. Show that you are engaged in the conversation.  Interacting in the conversation by nodding and using facial expression to show that you are comfortable and confident about the position. Some use the term “Listen With Your Eyes.”

7. Be Confident. Confidence is golden. If the interviewer feels your confidence level it will lighten the mood of the interview. Nervousness often causes you to give off a false sense of yourself. So RELAX AND HAVE FUN. 

The interviewing process is not as bad as it seems sometimes. The main thing that you have to keep in mind is that you are an asset to the company. Know yours strengths as an employee and don’t be afraid to be confident. Being prepared is one way to escape all doubt in your mind about the interviewing process.



1. Make sure there are NO mistakes: It is so very important to read over and over again to make sure there are no typos and all contact information is correct. Have at least two people read your cover letter to make sure that the content flows and everything sounds right.  Sometimes when we are reading are own material, we skip over the mistakes because we already know what we intended to write.

2. Keep your cover letter brief and to the point. Your letter should not go over one page. Use short paragraphs and bullet points whenever possible. Avoid excessive words when fewer words will get your point across equally. Construct your cover letter to have the same format style as your resume.

3. Request an interview or follow-up call in your closing paragraph. This gives the impression that you are eager and ready. Truth be told sometimes you have to follow-up yourself and call the employer to check the status. However be patient. At least give them a week to follow-up.


4. Do not use the same cover letter for every job that you are applying for. Change your cover letter to that particular company. If you’re applying to a number of similar positions, chances are you’re tweaking one letter and using it for multiple openings. Don’t forget to update the company, job and contact information.

5Be active, not passive. Speak with purpose and confidence that you will be an asset to the organization. When possible, put your future in your own hands with a promise to follow up. Instead of asking readers to call you, try a statement like this: “I will follow up with you in a few days to answer any preliminary questions you may have. In the meantime, you may reach me at (555) 555-5555.”

6. Make yourself standout. The purpose of a cover letter is to give the employer a more personal reason of why they should hire you. Grab the reader’s attention. Make it so that when the reader is done they will remember you.

7. Save something for the interview. The purpose of the cover letter is to give a enough personal information to entice the employer to call you back for an interview. The cover letter serves as the appetizer and the interview is the main course.

8. Don’t be repetitive. The coverletter should not be a resume in paragraph form. It should be a lead-up and pre-cursor to it. Reword your cover letter statements to avoid dulling your resume’s impact. Consider using the letter to tell a brief story.

9. Forgetting to Sign the Letter  It is proper business etiquette (and shows attention to detail) to sign your letter. However, if you are sending your cover letter and resume via email or the Web, a signature isn’t necessary.

10. Overusing  the word “I”  Your cover letter is not your autobiography. The focus should be on how you meet an employer’s needs, not on your life story. Avoid the perception of being self-centered by minimizing your use of the word “I,” especially at the beginning of your sentences.

For more information and examples visit: