Written by Anna Glibbery, 2017 PRINZ Student Ambassador, University of Waikato
I woke up on a crisp Christchurch morning ready to attend my first annual PRINZ Conference as a student volunteer. This was my chance to get an insight into the lives of PR and communication professionals. We took it in turns to sit at reception whilst the other volunteer would listen to the speakers. Surprisingly some of the most useful information I got throughout the conference was from meeting people at the reception. It gave me a chance to have a one on one conversation with some very interesting people who are more than willing to share advice with a student.
I am constantly asked why PRINZ? What is it? How will it help me? After the conference, the answer is a lot clearer. PRINZ gives you the opportunity to continue to gain information in the world of PR and communications even after studying. The way we communicate changes all the time and at the conference and any PRINZ events it gives people the chance to share and get advice from one another on how we can work even more effectively. Also as technology improves at a fast rate we are having to keep up with is and understand it in order to use it to our advantage.
One of the biggest learnings I will take out of the conference was when a panel including Karen Jones, Deputy Chief Executive Public Affairs, NZ Police, Ashley Abbott, Public Affairs and Communications Director, NZ Olympic committee and Rachel Young, Senior Communications Advisor, Environment Canterbury discussed ‘The Future of Crisis PR’. They did a scenario where there had been a skiing accident in Queenstown which resulted in a number of casualties and everyone had 5 minutes to write down their first steps when dealing with a crisis. It was interesting to hear people’s first priorities and how they cope under the pressure of the press. This is extremely interesting to me as I would be honoured to have a job like any of them in the future and was pleased to be able to learn what is involved in their everyday life.
There were 4 people on the second day who did a Pecha Kucha presentation and I was looking forward to this as a few weeks ago I had done one for an assignment in a class. The one that especially stood out to me was Robert Henderson, Project Manager at Christchurch Bike Share. He spoke honestly of the struggles that come along with a large project like this and that it is extremely hard work but in the end is worth it. All four speakers said if they had the funding to pay for a PR professional it would have helped with their project.
Listening to the way people talk about their jobs with such passion and enthusiasm has inspired me to find a job that makes me as excited to share with others. One tip that a few people discussed with me at the conference was not to take a job that doesn’t suit you and ensure their values are in line with yours. In order to achieve goals and succeed in a job, you must also be happy in your position.
It was a fantastic way to create networks and have even added a few people on LinkedIn. I will certainly continue to be a member of PRINZ as I would like to continue to learn and I feel there is always room for improvement. Even when I have finished University and am working, PRINZ will enable me to stay in touch with other people’s ideas. I recommend PRINZ highly to young people studying PR and communications as it is the building blocks to getting the job we aim for in the future.