The Canadian Public Relations Society

Top Five Things Learned by Returning to Public Relations School

In CPRS on January 6, 2012 at 9:39 am

Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.  – Anthony J. D’Angelo

I think it had been more than a decade since I had that feeling in the pit of my stomach.

The feeling you get the night before you write a major exam. Or, worse, the feeling that you get during the agonizing wait for results.

I have been taking Public Relations continuing education courses this winter to update my skills and knowledge and it’s been that long since those butterflies were flying around my stomach.

But that is what going back to school does.

Sure the RACE formula and SMART objectives are so engrained in us that we can almost recite them while asleep. But my return to the classroom this winter has been a valuable reminder that Public Relations is a constantly changing world and to stay sharp, you’d better be constantly willing to learn and adjust.

I don’t remember too many public relations lectures focused on social media a decade ago, do you?

I’m not done the certificate course, so I still have a few more of those pesky butterflies in my future. For now, here are the top five things that I have learned so far:

  1. I am not alone. There are a lot of people employed in PR in Calgary who, like me, feel they still have a lot to learn. It has actually been a surprise to see the a wide range of experience levels among the students taking these courses; some are experienced PR professionals looking to upgrade while others are experienced in other professions, looking for new skills and perhaps a new profession. Of course, many are just starting out in their PR career or will be very soon.
  2. I am only scratching the surface of what social media can do. This incredible two-way communication tool is changing the way we do business and I can’t wait to see what comes next. It’s also changing the way these courses are taught. I can’t remember a class going by without social media becoming a focal point of discussion at some point. This is definitely an area the students can’t seem to get enough about.
  3. This is a great place to start your network. It hasn’t taken too many group assignments to learn that these other people in class really know their stuff.
  4. Good writers are still making this profession tick. There has been a constant emphasis on improving writing skills, and the many different avenues and tools in which this skill is required.
  5. This is a great city of the PR professional. There are thousands of Calgarians either working in PR or directly linked and we are fortunate to have a great environment in which to learn.

Kyle Marr is a member of the Calgary chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society. He has been in PR professional in the city for six years.

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  1. I am reading this on what for many colleagues will be “the first day back” in 2012, when the kids go back to school, the Advent/Christmas calendar ends, and the ink still smells in the crisp new “day books” (for those like me who still record their dates and ‘to dos’ with a pen).
    Thanks! It’s a very good posting to remind us all that “life long learning” is important at whatever age or stage we’re at. I myself am looking for some con ed to get a better handle on the new tools of social media…not just how to use them, but why.

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