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What does tomorrow’s PR pro look like?

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Yesterday, I presented to 20 or so members of the University of St. Thomas PRSSA chapter. The topic? Tomorrow’s PR pro and the skills that generation will need to succeed. It’s a topic I’ve blogged about before.

I also used a new presentation tool: Prezi (which I posted about yesterday). I’m embedding the presentation below for your viewing pleasure. Keep in mind, I kept it fairly basic and you can’t tell the whole story from the Prezi (that’s very purposeful), so let me summarize the key points:

* Hone your traditional PR skills: storytelling, media relations, time management and communication skills. These are skills you’ll need no matter where you work and what you do in this industry.

* Work on developing the “evolving” skills of tomorrow’s PR pro. In my view, these include search skills, digital strategy, ability to “speak geek” and an understanding of how to effectively communicate with mobile customers and stakeholders.

* Of course, there are a number of time-tested PR skills that aren’t going anywhere. Not now. Not ever. Among them: Strategic planning, writing skills, creativity/ability to brainstorm the “big idea”, and leadership skills.

* How do you develop the “evolving” skills? Work on your social media MBA. Today. For free. My professors: Amber Naslund, Todd Defren, Dave Fleet, Jason Falls, Adam Singer, Sarah Evans, Shel Holtz and Jay Baer. Not remotely possible to list everyone who has influenced me over the last few years, but that’s a good start. And, I encouraged the students I spoke with to do the same.

* What advice did I give the students? I left them with 5 tips in 5 words:

– Read. Not only blogs, but news sites, industry publications, non-fiction and newspapers. Reading not only makes you smarter, it makes you a better writer.

– Ask. One of the lessons I’ve learned from attending industry events: Always ask at least one question. It transforms you from a passive attendee to an active participant. Which leads me to…

– Curiousity. I don’t know too many PR pros who aren’t curious. Not sure how you practice or learn this one–usually more of an innate quality. But, I wanted to convey how important it is to have an insatiable curiousity as a means to learning and expanding your world.

– Relationship. Everything we’re talking about here comes back to relationships. Business, projects, speaking opportunities, friends, learning opportunities and just about everything else positive that happens in your professional life can typically be traced back to personal relationships. Work hard to cultivate and develop these relationships and you will reap the rewards down the line. Such a key skill and concept for younger PR pros.

– Indispensable. Getting that first job is just the beginning. Once you walk in that front door, do everything in your power to be indispensable to your employer. Develop new skill sets. Go above and beyond. Volunteer for new projects. Whatever the case, if you can make yourself indispenable, you will never struggle for a job.

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What does tomorrow’s PR pro look like?

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