3/21 Meeting Recap: Weekend Language

By: Tiffany Lin

As innate storytellers, Weekend Language is our default when we are out of the office, two days out of every week. Andy Craig, Principal at Elevator Speech Inc., came in to talk to us about weekend language and how we should use our default setting in any professional setting.

On the weekends, we tell stories to our friends, families or even strangers. If the story is good, our audiences tell our stories to their friends, families and strangers to them, which is communication nirvana. Companies want that same effect in journalists and consumers.

When we are placed in front of cameras, we tend to switch to our more “business” side and use the most ridiculous language to sound more professional. Questions like “What do you do” and “What’s going on these days” become the hardest to answer. Interviewees have a difficult time boiling down everything they know into one to two sentences. The downside to complicated language is it turns audiences away, which is bad for business. These same questions translate to “Tell me about yourself” in an internship or job interview setting and how you answer them can greatly impact the end result.

Craig then introduces us to what he calls Magic Words. Magic words like “Imagine… For example… Think about it this way” help translate, summarize, and illustrate your knowledge and experience to your audience to the point where they a) understand and b) care about what you’re talking about. Analogies and metaphors can also do the trick; they are tweetable and relatable. Journalists love them. Next, Craig shows us how we can build a narrative through the lead, story and language.

Firstly, how do you find your lead? Creating your lead is not focused on who, what, when, why and how. It is the entire point of the passage and pulls people in. Journalists have two tasks: report and write. No reader is going to care about all the research journalists have done or how well they have written it if it doesn’t relate to them at first glance. The same thing applies when trying to obtain your next internship or job: find what the interviewer or company cares about and start with that.

The story is the second piece in the narrative puzzle. Anyone can walk down a resume but telling a cohesive story that explains your skills and what you actually did during your time at the internship is what will really grab your interviewer’s attention.

Lastly, the more conversational your language is, the better. Companies typically want to include as much fancy jargon and claims as they can like “leading provider.” But these meaningless words can often chip away at the company’s credibility, and these words can do the same to you when in an interview. Speaking a bunch of complicated words doesn’t mean you are communicating.

Weekend Language helps companies reach their audiences and can help you get your next internship or job — your narrative is what sets you apart.


3/7 Meeting Recap: Illustrator 101

By: Gracyn Green

This week, PRSSA’s creative director Mallie Rust stopped by to give a quick tutorial on Adobe Illustrator! In the world of creative and public relations, Illustrator is a valuable tool to be familiar with. Here are some quick tips and tricks to get you started.

The Selection and Direct Selection Tool
The selection tool is like the home button on an iPhone. You will generally refer back to this action quite often while creating your Illustrator masterpiece, as it selects and moves objects. The direct selection tool, however, is used to select and move anchor points, lines, and used to adjust Bézier curves.

Choosing Colors in Illustrator
Color can be considered a make or break factor in your Illustrator creation as it is one of the first things your audience will see. Because of this, you need to stay ON BRAND. This means that you should generally stick with the color your organization identifies with – PRSSA, for example, identifies with navy. (Hence why our shirts are this lovely shade of blue.)

Each color has a unique, identifying code, called a Hex code. Generally, if your organization has a specific color they identify with, they should have a Hex code. If you’re not sure, ask.

Mallie pro tip – get a Style Guide. A style manual, or style guide, is a set of standards for the design of documents, signage, and any other form of brand identifier. The reason for their existence is to ensure complete uniformity in style and formatting wherever the brand is used to ensure no dilution of that brand.

Control Z is Your Best Friend
One of the best ways to get familiar with Illustrator is to explore on your own! Click different commands, try out different color combinations and options to create something out of this world. If you don’t like it, no worries – control z will have your back every time.

Also, if at any point you want to get rid of a design choice, click on the box with the red diagonal line in the alternate color drop-down menu.

If you want a more tutorial based, outlined guide of how to use Illustrator, ask Lynda. Lynda is an online database for courses, training, and tutorials in business, technology, and creative skills – FREE for all UT students. Expert instructors teach you all about Adobe Illustrator: how to work with layers, create infographics, trace artwork, and use the application’s powerful drawing tools to create vector art like a pro. Lynda’s Illustrator tutorials range from beginner to advanced.


How Attending the Career Fair Can Benefit You



By: Jieun Lee


How can you get the chance to meet employers from great companies? You can start by attending PRSSA meetings, but there’s another great way to connect with recruiters: The Communication Job & Internship Fair.


The Moody College of Communication holds a job & internship fair every semester, and this spring it was held on February 22nd. Although this semester’s career fair has passed, here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t miss the next one.


Get practice for your real job interview

Interviews aren’t easy, but they’re not exactly something you can avoid. It’s beneficial to practice a lot before having a real interview. Although it’s great to practice with friends or mentors, the Job & Internship Fair gives you the opportunity to have a conversation with recruiters from real companies. This will teach you how to communicate more effectively with employers and will help you a lot when preparing for your real job or internship interviews.


Find out what kind of company you want to work for

This semester, recruiters from 83 companies were at the career fair to talk with Moody students. Before applying for a job or internship, you should first educate yourself about companies in the industry you want to work for. Research the list of employers before the fair, figure out which ones fit your interests, and talk with those companies’ respective recruiters. After having a conversation with them, you can learn about each company’s core values and realize what types of employers you want to work for in the future.


Get your resume on an employer’s radar

If you’ve submitted applications to companies before, you know how hard it is to catch a recruiter’s attention. Recruiters receive a great number of resumes every day — how can you make yours stand out?

By attending the career fair, you can distinguish yourself from the crowd. Have a great elevator pitch. Tell a recruiter who you are, what you’ve done, and what you’re looking for. They will ask for your resume, and write a note on your resume about what you just said. If all goes well, they will contact you when they have a specific position that fits your skills and experiences. You never know when a great opportunity will fall into your lap.


Take advantage of a missed opportunity

If you have previously submitted an application to a company at the fair, make sure you go to their booths and let them know you’re interested. For example, if you sent a resume and cover letter to a company a few weeks ago but didn’t receive a response, you can talk to the recruiter at the career fair. Ideally, they’d ask you to resubmit your resume, which could then be moved to a priority list, increasing your chances of getting hired.


These are just a few reasons why attending the Job & Internship Fair is important! If you missed this spring’s fair, don’t worry — there’s one every semester. Keep these tips in your mind and take advantage of this great opportunity to chat directly with employers!


2/21 Meeting Recap: Managing Crises in PR


By: Benjamin Perez

This week, Sylvester Palacios, Jr., an account supervisor from Pierpont Communications, came and spoke to Texas PRSSA about managing crises in PR. Below is a detailed rundown of what he discussed.

First off, if you work in PR in some way, shape or form, you’re going to have to deal with crisis communication. As a PR professional at an entry-level position, you will primarily be doing a lot of the lower level ground work such as research, media monitoring, monitoring mentions on social media, drafting news releases and building media lists. This is the kind of work the higher ups count on to deal with crisis situations quickly. After a few years, your responsibilities will increase to a point where you may be in a position where you’re telling the CEO of a company what to say and what not to say.

In order to rise through the ranks within a PR firm, you have to be assertive. You must be able to get in those meetings between the CEO of a company and a PR professional and you have to listen in to the types of strategies are designed in these meetings. You have to volunteer to work on drafting a crisis communications plan and reaching out to reporters in order to provide any updates on an ongoing crisis situation. These things will help you learn more and will allow you to get your foot in the door. Second, you must also be trustworthy. You must make sure that you’re the type of person your clients can confide in you because the more you’re trusted, the more responsibilities and opportunities you’ll get/be able to handle.

There is no one size fits all for crisis plans, but there is a process that will help you develop a crisis plan. The four steps in this process are as follows:

  • Listen and Anticipate
  • Assess and Diagnose
  • Act and Adjust
  • Review and Recover

Listen and Anticipate:
As a PR professional, it helps to be in the know about what is going on within your company, with your clients and in the PR industry. It also helps to get out of the bubble. You have to be able to interact with employees and companies that you don’t normally interact with. You must be able to listen to the media to see what other sectors are doing along with community groups in the area. By doing this, you can possibly root out potential issues before they escalate.

Assess and Diagnose:
When you’re assessing a situation in order to diagnose a problem, it helps to ask questions. Questions such as “What do we know? What don’t we know? What are we doing now? What do we plan to do in the future? How might this affect our organization?” are the types of questions that we all need to be asking because these questions can help answer the why, the how and the what if. By asking these questions, you will be able to assess a situation and get all the needed information before hand in order to make an informed decision on how to act.

Next, as a PR professional, you want to be first to your story because you want to be able to shape the story. If the media or your competitors get to your story before you do, they will be able to shape it to where it’s advantageous to them and disadvantageous to you. You also want to respond quickly to a story because prompt actions often result in positive feedback. You don’t want to be seen as not taking your job seriously if you’re taking too long to act on a situation. However, before you act, you must be informed. If you’re just focused on reacting quickly to a story rather than taking the time to get informed on what’s going on, more than likely you will just cause more problems.

Lastly, no one person is ever responsible for solving a crisis all by themselves. Therefore, it is important to have a crisis management team assembled ahead of time so that you will be ready to act as soon as a crisis hits.

Act and Adjust Tips:

  • Immediate action plus long-term outlook equals a smart response.
  • Communication style should be straightforward and candid like a real human being.
  • Choose your spokesperson carefully and prepare them effectively
  • People first, always; don’t ever speculate.
  • When you can’t say, say what you can
  • To communicate unpopular positions, focus on the process in addition to the outcome.

When working with executives:

  • Be the source of crucial information.
  • Be the cool head in the room.
  • Your domain is anticipating reaction among external audiences to decisions/announcements (or lack of action); own it and share your perspective.
  • Some of the phrases you must use when talking with executives are “Help me understand how this affects so-and-so? If we were asked… how would we respond? One possibility is… how should we prepare for that?”
  • Don’t be afraid to take on the attorneys to balance legal liability with reputation damage (both of which have substantial cost).

How not to respond:

  • Operate at a business-as-usual pace.
  • Point fingers, outside or inside your organization.
  • Assume you can control every aspect of your response.
  • Talk to and make decision based only on those “in the bubble”.
  • Be defensive, in either manner of response or tone of messages/spokespersons.

Remember, crises are fluid. Things tend to change rapidly so you must be able to keep the pulse and constantly assess what’s going on.

Review and Recover:
Usually, crises are not as bad as you think. Make sure that you asses what went wrong and what went right. Remember, dealing with a crisis situation is a marathon, not a sprint. Next, take fuel out of the old story and start a new one. Take the good things that you did and use them to shape a new story that overshadows the bad one. Lastly, some acts of goodwill can go a long way because when a crisis hits, those you have helped in the past will be more forgiving of your mistakes.


2/7 Meeting Recap: The Power of Social Influencers



By: Denise Candelo


At this week’s meeting we had the incredible opportunity to get two PR industry experts come in to talk to us about the power of social influencers.


About the Speakers:

Rachel Shin and Paola Reyes, both University of Texas alumnae, are current account executives in the Austin office of the global communications and public relations agency Cohn & Wolfe.

Working primarily on healthcare and consumer products, the two have gotten to collaborate and work with social influencers like blogger Marianna Hewitt and celebrity make-up artist Allan Avenado. Sound familiar? Marianna runs the popular blog Life with Me and Allan’s clients include celebrities ranging from Gigi Hadid to Chrissy Teigen!


Why Influencers?

Why exactly are social influencers so powerful in this day and age of social media?

  • Cut through the noise of advertising
    They can cut through the noise because consumers view them as people that they can trust.
  • Show, don’t just tell
    They can show their followers how they view a product or service through their eyes.
  • Create authentic and unique content
    They have a greater air of authenticity because the product or service that they are promoting is uniquely specific to their “brand.”
  • Build relationships
    They have an established base of followers who they know how to reach and talk to.
  • Provide bang for your buck
    Influencers have risen to the top and they can, as a result, disseminate your message much further.
  • Convert consumers into advocates
    The influencer themselves is an advocate and because of their unique connection with their followers, they turn them into advocates of the product as well.


Selecting Influencers

How exactly do you go about selecting influencers? Follow the Three R’s!

  • Reach
    Consider who your target audience is and how they get their information. Does your potential influencer reach these people?
  • Relevance
    Think about what values your brand and client stand for. Is your potential influencer authentic in fitting with these values?
  • Resonance
    Does your influencer have the ability to make your brand’s message stick?


Content Creation

What type of content should your influencer be creating and what should it incorporate?

  • Key messages
  • Product images
  • Brand name and website
  • Disclaimers
  • But overall make it personal and relevant!

* Always make sure that your influencer has the power to create unique and authentic content that fits with the brand.


Leveraging Influencer Content on Social

How do you leverage the content that your influencer creates on their platforms on your brand’s social media?

  • Monitor
    Know when they’re going to be posting
    Keep track of the comments that come in
  • Engage
    If someone asks a question, jump in there and answer it
  • Share
    Share their posts on your social media and tag them
  • “Steal”
    Not actually stealing!
    Post the content they create that you have licenses to onto your platforms

    • This is how you can get their followers to come to your channel
  • Amplify
    Always try to grow awareness for their content and your brand


Best Practices

  • Have your client’s back at all times!
  • Trust the influencer
    They’re the expert on the subject matter so they’ll know how to talk to their audience.
  • Plan ahead of time
    Make sure you also have a plan b, because you never know what could go wrong.
  • Be upfront about expectations and timing
    It’s important for influencers to know when they can use content so that they can plan their posting schedules.
  • Compensate accordingly
    How you compensate your influencer varies according to their following and the platforms they use.
  • Keep track of impressions and metrics
    They can help you decide things for future campaigns and clients.
  • Build relationships, not just partnerships
    If you do, they’ll tell others that you’re a great company to work with.
  • Get creative!
    Make sure you post original and unique content.





1/24 Meeting Recap: Starting a New Semester!


By: Alexa Gonzaga

We were so excited to welcome 102 new and returning members to our first meeting of the spring semester! Below, find a recap of what we discussed at our meeting:

Member benefits
Being a PRSSA member comes with tons of perks. Not only do you get access to chapter-specific benefits such as top industry speakers, an internship database, agency tours, and socials, but you also get access to national PRSSA benefits such as a national job/internship database, career resource manual, exclusive scholarships and grants, and more.

What to expect this semester

  • T-shirts: We have new T-shirts this semester! We’ll keep you posted on when they come in.
  • Senior Series: New for this semester, we’ll be hosting three sessions designed especially for graduating seniors, covering topics such as post-grad internships, salary negotiations, and relocating for a job. Dates are TBD, but invite your friends — the Senior Series is open to ALL Moody College students!
  • Socials: We will be hosting a social with our sister organization Texas Tower PR, as well as a tri-chapter social with Texas State and St. Edward’s University. Stay tuned for dates, times, and locations!
  • Member of the Year: Our member of the year award is given to an outstanding member who participates often and shows dedication to PRSSA. The winner will receive a $75 Amazon gift card (as voted by you!) for their efforts. Stay active in PRSSA and the member of the year might just be you!


  • The PRSSA 2017 National Conference will be in Boston! Conference is a great way to build your network and attend workshops hosted by top industry pros. You’ll learn a lot and have fun while doing it! We encourage you to apply for the National PRSSA Grant and start saving your money — it’s never too early!
  • Exciting news: the 2018 National Conference will be right here in Austin! Current freshmen and sophomores will have the opportunity to network and learn from PR pros right in our own backyard.
  • Regional PRSSA conferences will be held at the University of Oklahoma from Feb. 24-25 and at Loyola University in New Orleans from Mar. 11-12. Email Nancy if you’re interested in going!

Becoming a member
Visit our “Become a Member” page for more info on how to join PRSSA. Dues are $75 and will last an entire year. The deadline to pay is Feb. 21 — afterwards, dues will increase to $85 until our final deadline on Feb. 24.

Dates to know

  • Jan. 26 – PRSA Austin January Happy Hour at the Black Finn Pub at the Domain. Email Nancy if you’re interested in going! You don’t have to be 21.
  • Feb. 2 – Application deadline for Texas Tower PR, our sister org and UT’s only student-run PR firm.
  • Feb. 7 – Our next meeting! The topic will be Social Influencers. We’ll also have a visit from CCS regarding the upcoming career fair.
  • Feb. 22Spring 2017 Communication Career Fair
  • February – Agency tour at HomeAway – date TBA

See you at our next meeting!