By Laura Salkowski
As a communications student at UTSA and someone aspiring to have a career in Public Relations, I'm always looking for valuable information I can have in the future. At the February PRSA luncheon, I learned tips of the trade from a panel of three PR professionals who plan events on a daily basis.
Speakers JoAnn Andera, director of the Texas Folklife Festival; Monica Faulkenbery, APR, assistant director of communications at Northside ISD; and Mari Gonzales, communications associate at H-E-B, shared their personal experiences, planning guidelines, and tips for a successful event.
From their presentations I learned that you can’t always prevent the unexpected, but you can always prepare for it. When it comes to small snags in an event program, it is best just to keep things moving along.
Faulkenbery pointed out, “No one [in the audience] knows what is supposed to happen… So just go with the flow!” Making staff assignments based on their capabilities can help keep everyone calm when dealing with tricky event crises, said Andera. Gonzales added that it is important to utilize all your resources, including personnel staffing the event.
I left the luncheon with pages of notes packed with great event-planning information, but the top three things I learned about planning PR events are:
- Know your objectives and your audience.
- If it is a repeated event, keep it fresh and keep it new each time.
- Your written plan is your best insurance plan.