Lululemon’s CEO to learn new yoga pose: “Foot in mouth”


eoman yoga

If you make yoga pants, you have to know that someone a bit, well…large might wear them. So when the CEO of Lululemon Chip Wilson, responded to allegations that his company’s pants weren’t living up to their $100-per-pair price tag and had an “unacceptable level of sheerness”- it seems only logical that he’d respond.

But, we don’t all have bright public relations minds. Williams responded to claims of “unacceptable sheerness” in an off-the-cuff way, saying “Quite frankly, some women’s bodies just actually don’t work for it”- referring to Lululemon’s yoga pants. Wait, did he just say that some women are too fat for his product? No matter how accurate this might be, as CEO of a company, you can’t say something like this in public.

As expected, public outrage ensued. So the company did what any reasonably public relations savvy company would do, issued a formal apology on YouTube. The apology begins with Wilson visibly emotional, so far so good. Then… he proceeds to apologize, still, good. And just when you think everything is going uphill, things turn sour. Wilson starts apologizing to the “people at Lululemon that I (he) really care about.” Lululemon? Are you serious? Whatever happened to the old mantra, being sensitive to customers?

Not only did these tick-off costumers even more, this so-called apology was pathetic. So where does Lululemon go from here? David Shank, president and CEO of Shank Public Relations Counselors, Inc., and Marilyn Shank, vice president, both say “hire a good spokesperson.” More specifically, Marilyn says to hire a woman who will represent the perspective of the company’s main consumers, women.

There’s a lot to be learned from Wilson’s outlandish comment and slightly ill-advised apology. So, to accompany David and Marilyn’s advice, I offer a few helpful suggestions. Don’t speak before you think! Some of the most avoidable statements in history wouldn’t exist had the person taken the time to think before speaking. And last, clearly define who your consumer base is: if young, thin (women sizes 0-12), trendy, affluent are who you serve, make that clear so customers know your products are meant for that target audience. Speaking arbitrarily can get you into a lot of trouble, it will be interesting to see how the pull themselves out of this pickle.

Let’s Talk Event Planning


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Let’s take a brief detour from social media to discuss strategic event planning, something  David and Marilyn Shank have proved to be masters at for over 25 years. I find it’s only right that we highlight two of their most recent higher profile events, a Walmart grand opening and a public memorial for an officer gunned down in the line of duty. I asked David and Marilyn a series of questions.

 Q: What are the first steps you take in planning a large-scale public event that incorporates media, general public and public officials?

 D: “First you have to think about the overall strategy for your objective. In our Walmart grand opening we had several things we wanted to accomplish. We wanted to communicate that Walmart is here to serve the community and we wanted to be memorable. Then we looked at the proximity to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, realized the tradition of racing in the community and approached the store manager.

 

We wanted her to make a grand entrance, in a two-seater race car. When it came time to cut the ribbon, we wanted it to be exciting! Cutting the ribbon with a big pair of scissors is fine, but also boring and not relevant. So, we had city council members, the deputy mayor and regional managers of Walmart break through the ribbon with logo’d shopping carts. This was more exciting than just cutting the ribbon.”

 

“At the fallen officer memorial, we wanted to give residents of the apartment complex where he was killed the chance to continue the grieving process for an officer who epitomized the protect and serve pledge of all police officers. It was a matter of being sensitive to everyone involved. We were aware that media coverage could be insensitive. We made it clear that media were not to report live during the program.”

Q: When something goes wrong, what is your thought process? What actions are taken?

D: “Always assume something is going to go wrong, and in the back of your mind, come up with everything that could go wrong and how you to fix it. With Walmart, we considered if the shopping carts didn’t break through the ribbon. A few days before, we thought about it, and made sure it wouldn’t be an issue. We pre-cut the ribbon and taped it so that it would break easily. You have to use creativity”.

 

“During the memorial, we asked media not to report live from the back of the room. I told them, if they do this, I would come behind them and photo bomb them if they did. They got the message and we avoided that issue altogether. Also, we invited ministers who didn’t show. We quickly fixed the issue by having someone else step in and read a the message.”

 

Q:  What role does having connections in a number of different industries play into an event as a whole?

 

M: “For every event, having connections to get the right people there is important. For example, we had short notice for the memorial. With only two days to prepare, we had to execute an event and find a location. We contacted the elementary school near the apartment complex where the officer was shot.  They were able to provide us with a facility for the day.”

Q: What do you feel determines if an event will be successful or not?

 

M: “Always ask the client and yourself what you’re trying to accomplish with an event. That’s generally, are we just trying to get bodies here? Are we trying to raise money? That’s how you measure the success of an event. Going into a slightly different event, the IPS Alumni Hall of Fame was an event that happened at about the same time frame. We wanted to portray IPS as a productive education institution, to honor alumni and for kids to be with other adults, so they would be inspired. But it’s also a money maker for the foundation, so you measure that by: Did we get kids there? Was it good attendance? Did we make money? And did people come away with a great feeling about IPS? And you have to be specific about your goals. You can pack a house with every intention of raising money, but did you invite the right people to donate and did they donate?”

So there you have it, from the masters themselves. Having contacts, being aware of everything that could go wrong and making sure there are back up plans in place at an event are all important. These are all things that can largely determine the ultimate success or failure of an event.  

 

Can 140 characters save your company or lives in a crisis?


Social-media-for-public-relations1

I’m Alexander Beauford, a senior at the University of Indianapolis and the new intern for Shank Public Relations Counselors, Inc. Although it’s been a few weeks since our last post, we are back and prepared for an exciting new four-part series on social media. I’m in the Principals’ Office to begin part one where I sit down with President David Shank, APR and Vice President Marilyn Shank, APR to discuss the current social media landscape.

As news becomes more and more real-time, and the message becomes condensed into 140 characters, one might ask just how sound bite-like information can help your company in a crisis? In a recent Public Relations Society of America article, author and public relations professional Melissa Agnes analyzes the Boston Police Department’s social media reaction to the Boston Marathon bombings. Agnes says there should be a plan when a crisis arises. Although Boston PD had no detailed social media plan, they did an excellent job communicating a consistent message across all platforms, especially Twitter. The police department was able to get public safety information to their nearly 300,000 followers, reducing significantly the number of casualties, injuries and the possibility of widespread panic. 

According to David Shank, “there are always potential downfalls, but social media is a good tool to use during a crisis. The goal is to allay people’s fears with accuracy.” He added that you are able to discredit rumors and confirm things that are true. Additionally, Shank says that monitoring tweets can lead to knocking down false information. At the same time of the marathon bombings, there was a separate explosion at the Kennedy Library in Boston. A library employee was monitoring the Twitter feed and confirmed the library blast was a separate issue not caused by an act of terror.

Conversely, social media can get you into trouble. During the 2012 presidential election a member of the KitchenAid social media team sent a tweet dispraising The President from what he thought was his personal Twitter account. Turns out, it wasn’t. The tweet was sent from the official KitchenAid Twitter account which nearly caused a huge controversy. Not only was the tweet sent from the official account of a strong household brand, it used the hashtag #nbcpolitics. Thousands were subject to viewing the tweet.

“@KitchenAidUSA Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! She died 3 days b4 he became president. #NBCPolitics”

Marilyn Shank says although it is more difficult, it is vastly important to double and triple check tweets. It is more difficult because of the turnaround time of Twitter; once a tweet is sent anyone can view it. She also says that since tweets are sent in real time, so should your responses. “Analyze who follows you on Twitter and ask yourself if they are truly your key publics/stakeholders, you never want to over respond,” said Marilyn.

In analyzing who these followers are, you can craft your message so it is strategic, yet sincere. Thanks to skillful public relations professionals, KitchenAid recovered before irreversible damage was done, sending a succession of tweets to President Obama and everyone on Twitter:

“Deepest apologies for an irresponsible tweet that is in no way a representation of the brand’s opinion. #nbcpolitics”

“I would like to personally apologize to President @BarackObama, his family and everyone on Twitter for the offensive tweet sent earlier.”

“It was carelessly sent in error by a member of our Twitter team who, needless to say, won’t be tweeting for us anymore.”

These tweets are the result of quick-thinking public relations minds. Not only did KitchenAid reverse the problem by formally apologizing, they ensured  it never happened again by relieving the tweeter of his duties. David Shank says that because of the breadth and coverage of the medium, someone needs to be constantly fact checking and making sure tweets accurately represent a company’s brand.

Marilyn Shank, David Shank and Melissa Agnes agree that having prepared communication in a crisis situation is vital. Addressing the issue head-on is also important, if KitchenAid had not done so, an incident of this magnitude could lead to negative brand association or even long-term profit loss.  Owning up led to a number of positive tweets defending KitchenAid:

@kitchenaid had a tweet incident that MANY companies have had. Shout out to the bigwigs for owning up & apologizing on behalf of the brand.”

 And…

“Get off Kitchenaid’s back. Most of you who were too cool for the debate are having a field day with this. Let’s keep our eye on the ball.”

The dynamic of crisis communication is drastically changing as technology develops. Years ago, you had weeks, then a week, a few days, 24 hours and most recently a matter of minutes or seconds to respond to a crisis. Simply put, crisis communication has undergone a radical pattern shift. And now that information is more readily available it is important to present it accurately. So in the words of Walter Cronkite-consider this, “We want to be first, but we want to be right first.”

The Principals’ Office: Goals, Strategies, Objectives, Tactics and Evaluation


Rick Teitloff, Intern, Shank Public Relations Counselors

Since this is my last week as the intern here at Shank Public Relations Counselors, this is my last visit to the principals’ office. While all of my Q & A sessions with David and Marilyn have been interesting and informative, this one was especially so. The interview took such a new direction I’ve decided to ditch the Q & A format for this edition and write a regular blog.

This week I asked David and Marilyn about goals, strategies and tactics. The conversation took off and didn’t stop for a while. There was so much information pouring out of them that I’m going to try and summarize it for you to help you better understand the strategic and creative process in public relations.

In the creative process, you begin with a goal and go through steps to achieve that goal. In the end, it all circles back to the goal, which led to me dubbing the process the “public relations circle of life.” To help illustrate the public relations circle of life, I’m going to use an imaginary company called Simba’s Grubs.

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Goal

A goal is the big picture of what you’re trying to accomplish. Simba’s Grubs’ goal is to become the number one supplier of delicious grubs in the Pride Rock Kingdom and the surrounding region.   

Strategy

A strategy is the broad overview of what you want to accomplish and how you’re going to go about it. Simba’s Grubs’ strategy is to use social media to achieve their goal.

Objectives

Objectives are measurable results that are quantifiable by metrics and time. Simba’s Grubs’ objectives in the next six months are to:

1.      increase likes, followers and friends by 50 percent.

2.      build two new grub hatcheries to meet demand.

3.      hire two friends to help harvest grubs (who could he hire?!).

Tactics

Tactics are “the fun stuff” or the tools you use to achieve your goal, according to David. Simba’s Grubs’ tactics are to:

1.      offer exclusive coupons for likes, followers and friends.

2.      create a new app where users have to catch as many grubs as possible to make people want more grubs.

3.      create key market ads to drive an increase in likes, followers and friends.

Evaluation

Evaluation is the final step in the process. Evaluation is measuring the results of your process and comparing it to your goal to see if accomplished your goal. It is best to be as specific as possible with your evaluation. A useful tool in this might be polling consumers before and after the process to compare perceptions, attitudes and results. Some things Simba’s Grubs’ could do are:

1.      track the use of the coupons used.

2.      survey followers and friends to gauge any shift in attitude.

3.      interview those who viewed the ad created for the campaign.

4.      Determine how close are we to being the number one supplier of grubs?

So there you have the public relations circle of life. Who knew they were so public relations smart over there at Pride Rock?

Understanding this process is essential to a successful public relation campaign. When I asked David what the biggest mistake people make in this process is, he said, “People often confuse tactics with strategy. Tactics are the fun stuff! But the strategy is the roadmap that defines the tactics.”

With that, I leave the principals’ office for the last time. No worries though, on my way out I saw a guy named Alex waiting in the office to see the principals…

Rick Teitloff is our summer 2013 intern. Rick is a senior at Ball State University and will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in public relations in December.

 


This is Rick, your Summer 2013 intern!


Rick Teitloff, Intern, Shank Public Relations Counselors

Hello friends of Shank Public Relations Counselors! I am the new intern in town, Rick Teitloff. I’m a senior at Ball State University majoring in public relations. I grew up in South Bend, Ind. (Go Irish!). My route from South Bend to Indianapolis has been a circuitous one. After high school I enlisted in the Navy and was stationed in Yokosuka, Japan. Since returning home from the Navy I’ve attended three different colleges with my final landing place at Ball State because of its nationally acclaimed public relations program.

One requirement of BSU’s public relations program is an internship.  Since I started college late I’ve been taking classes full time during my summer semesters to graduate as fast as possible (which I’m doing in three years), leaving me this summer to complete my internship. That means that I had to make that one internship count. That’s where Shank Public Relations Counselors came in.

I was initially introduced to Shank Public Relations Counselors through one of the litany of emails our internship coordinator sends out from companies seeking interns. The email was informative and most importantly, stated that the internship was paid. That was enough to get me to look more into the company.

During my interview with David Shank, the company president, I got a really good feel for the vibe of the company and, of course, was shown their case of awards that is wider and taller than me.

There were many reasons why I chose Shank Public Relations Counselors. Most of all I could tell David was sincere and meant it when he told me I would be doing meaningful work and not be an extra set of hands to deal with small things they didn’t feel like doing. Being a smaller company, I knew I’d get a lot of hands-on experience being an integral part of the team, from planning to writing to meeting with clients. I truly believed that Shank Public Relations Counselors gave me the best opportunity to get the most out of my summer.

As you can tell, I have high expectations for my time at Shank Public Relations Counselors. I expect to be given challenging, meaningful work that will make me a better professional. I expect to learn different aspects of public relations, everything from the initial planning stages all the way to the implementation of the final strategy.

One of my biggest expectations is to learn interactions with clients. We can learn how to write and plan strategies in the classroom, but nothing can substitute true interactions with clients. How does the dialogue go? Where do you draw the line when you can tell that it’s not going to work with a client? How do you handle a call from a client about a crisis? I expect to learn how to handle situations like that. And I expect to give my portfolio quite a boost to make me a desirable asset when I enter the job market in December.

So far Shank has lived up to my expectations. After I got comfortable with the office on day one I was given assignments. Day two I was on-site at 7:15 a.m. corralling the local ROTC Color Guard at a Walmart store grand reopening.

In my first full week, the assignments have been constant and educational. I was just assigned a full assignment all to my own, which I was thrilled about. Most of all, working here so far has reaffirmed my choice in choosing public relations as a major and career path. Doing “real” work as opposed to hypothetical school work makes a huge difference. The work is much more fulfilling and exciting. So far so good and I’m looking forward to the next nine weeks here!

I bid you farewell


This week represents an extremely exciting, yet sad time for me. Not only is my internship with Shank Public Relations Counselors coming to an end, but so is my undergraduate career. Though I’m just days away from graduation, I still cannot believe all that I have been able to learn and accomplish through my internship and last few months at Ball State University.

Initially, I feared regretting my final semester of college due to all the responsibilities I piled onto my plate. From being president of an on-campus organization to carrying a full class load to working more than 20 hours a week for my internship, I thought that I would become burned out in a matter of weeks. Looking back, I am happy to say that I was wrong. Yes, there were times when this semester was the definition of chaos, but my experience was also more rewarding than I could have imagined.

The best word to describe my period with Shank Public Relations Counselors would be fulfilling. David and Marilyn have constantly made it a point to teach and encourage me to be a well-rounded, ethical professional by modeling the way. By observing their interactions with clients and business partners, it is clear that David and Marilyn care about and believe in all the projects with which they are involved.

They also truly care about the learning experience gained by their interns. Whether I had questions, needed advice or wanted to try a new project, David and Marilyn have always been receptive to and supportive of my ideas. They are open-minded and welcome interns to work on skills that they may lack experience in. My portfolio has grown tremendously with work in web design, research, copy writing, media relations, social media and special events! The best part is that I enjoyed working on each one of these assignments and found a lesson in each project. The most memorable lesson learned: Duct tape is the key to success for any event, but especially when assisting in a client presentation!

As a senior approaching graduation I am often asked, “Do you feel prepared?” Thanks to my internship, my kind professors, and my helpful bosses, I can honestly say yes. So bring it on, “real world”!

Not only is my resume better developed, but so is my understanding of what I would like to do with my career. After spending four months at a public relations firm, I know that this is the path I want to and will continue on. Beginning in January, I will be working with an Indianapolis public relations and advertising agency for a post-graduate internship!

Rebuilding the East Coast


The unbelievable devastation of Sandy, by now, has passed through the Eastern coastal area.  Traditionally as a public relations blog and posting I could spend hundreds of words about crisis management, company preparedness, and working with media and other constituents during a disaster but I’m not.  I want to give our best thoughts and prayers to all those affected by Sandy.

For many this astonishing force of nature was an image, something you watched with dread and fascination on CNN or the Weather Channel.  But when it becomes personal you become attached.  Each direction shift, each breach of a coastline, each flooding episode becomes real.  That was us Monday night.  It got real personal, really fast as our son and his family live in South Philly dead-on in the path, we have a terrific nephew in Boston, a terrific niece on the farthest north tip of Manhattan and cousins in New England.  Sandy was real to us, not a meteorological abstraction.  Our son and his family are fine, hunkered down and tweeting updates.  We saw reports from the other family members on Twitter and Facebook.

But now rebuilding begins. The reconstruction.  The dig out.

And unfortunately the creeps, the jerks and the crooks who take advantage of people’s innate desire to help others and scam those who want to assist will ooze out from under the flood-soaked rocks.

Wherever you are, there are credible, honest caring organizations which will make sure your contributions are well managed and will do real good.  The Huffington Post has a solid piece on relief efforts on this link:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/26/hurricane-sandy-how-to-help_n_2022488.html

 

Two global organizations you can be assured will help where the help is needed are the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

Red Cross– HOW TO HELP Donations help the Red Cross provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by disasters like Hurricane Sandy. To donate, people can visit http://www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to someone’s local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

Salvation Army.http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsf

Sandy is only the latest disaster and it won’t be the last.  Every community has its share of disasters and you can help, just make the effort, but with care and prudence.

 

Guest Blog by Brian Adams: “Calvin and Hobbes on…Crisis Communications”


Two weeks ago I spent the morning sifting through quotes from a favorite character of my childhood. The resulting blog post, Winnie the Pooh on…Social Media, was so much fun to create that I decided to take a look back on another publication that provided me with wisdom during my youth, Calvin and Hobbes.

It seems as if young Calvin was always in crisis mode while Hobbes fanned the flames to watch the meltdown. The mistakes of these two characters contain valuable lessons for anyone facing a media crisis. After all, can’t we all sympathize with a child that so succinctly states what we all think when a crisis occurs: “Reality continues to ruin my life.”

Here are a few more bits of crisis wisdom from author Bill Watterson:

On Ignoring the Crisis
“What state do you live in?”
“Denial.”

On Setting Expectations
“To make a bad day worse, spend it wishing for the impossible.”

On Luck
“You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help.”

On Pity
“Its no use! Everybody gets good enemies except me.”

On Planning Ahead
“You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.”
“What mood is that?”
“Last-minute panic.”

On Keeping Your Cool
“Life’s disappointments are harder to take when you don’t know any swear words.”

On Picking a Competent Spokesperson
“I’m not dumb. I just have a command of thoroughly useless information.”

On Knowing Your Facts
“As a math atheist, I should be excused from this.”

On Crafting Your Soundbite
“If something is so complicated that you can’t explain it in 10 seconds, then it’s probably not worth knowing anyway.”

OnMisdirection
“This one’s tricky. You have to use imaginary numbers, like eleventeen…”

On Offering a Scapegoat
“Dad, how do soldiers killing each other solve the world’s problems?”

More On Offering a Scapegoat
“Nothing I do is my fault.”

On Owning Your Mistake
“Don’t walk away! I’m trying to apologize you dumb noodleloaf!”

More On Owning Your Mistake
“I love the culture of victimhood.”

On Quoted (Gloating) Competitors
“In my opinion, we don’t devote nearly enough scientific research to finding a cure for jerks.”

On Elevating the Crisis
“A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day.”

On Cutting Your Losses
“Where do we keep all our chainsaws, Mom?”

On Keeping a Positive Perspective
“Life is like topography, Hobbes. There are summits of happiness and success, flat stretches of boring routine, and valleys of frustration and failure.”

On Recent Crises:

On Mitt Romney’s Binders Full of Women
“Girls are like slugs – they probably serve some purpose, but it’s hard to imagine what.”

More On Mitt Romney’s Binders Full of Women
“She didn’t even give me credit for my professional clear plastic binder!”

On the Gap’s “Manifest Destiny” T-Shirt
“How rude.”

On Google’s Early Release of Financials
“Another genius foiled by an incapable assistant.”


Original Source: http://brianadamspr.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/calvin-and-hobbes-oncrisis-communications/

About Brian Adams: Brian Adams consults with nonprofits, including Komera Project (www.komeraproject.org), regarding communications strategy. Brian was previously Senior Director of Communications at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley (www.supportunitedway.org) and the head of Media and Community Relations for the MSPCA-Angell (www.mspca.org).  A version of this story first appeared on the author’s blog (http://brianadamspr.wordpress.com/).

Act Ethically and Carry On


Last month was PRSA’s Ethics Month and throughout the 30 days of September, the organization has hosted a series of awareness activities to enforce its importance.  Though public relations pros set aside a month to acknowledge ethics, it is essential for practitioners to recognize a code of moral standards all year long.

“Why?” you might ask.  Well, according to the PRSA Code of Ethics, “…our professional values are vital to the integrity of the profession as a whole.” As with any career there are boundaries and the reputation of your company can depend on your ability to act ethically when challenged with a dilemma. Though there are clients who feel that a public relations practitioner’s sole duty is to represent them in a positive light, practitioners have an obligation to their publics as well.  Plus, public relations firms have their own policies and rights—if the client will compromise the integrity of your firm, you can choose not to represent them.

In my short career as a public relations professional, I have already been exposed to many difficult decisions that have had to be made using an ethical standpoint—not in my own experience, but from observing the decisions of my own companies, as well as others.

Here are a couple issues that public relations firms frequently encounter:

  • Tobacco Companies: The decision on whether or not to represent a tobacco company cannot always be characterized as either black or white, ethical or unethical. While some firms find it unethical to promote a product that is dangerous to consumers (also stated in the Code), others believe that the decision to buy solely lies with the consumer.  Choices also become blurred when a tobacco company is represented under a large conglomerate that sells household and food items as well.  The decision lies with the professional, but it is commonly a difficult one to make.
  • Front Groups: Front groups are organizations that support a cause without revealing their financial supporters.  They are commonly found in politics to support a new legislation.  As the Code states: professionals should be open and honest with their publics.  For this reason, supporting or promoting front groups can put you or your organization in an ethical dilemma
  • Integrity of news media: As public relations professionals, we all understand the importance of publicity for our clients, however, that publicity should never be a result of a gift sent to a journalist.  From an ethical standpoint, it would be impossible for a client to measure the effectiveness of our work if we were always guaranteed a media slot due to bribery. Not to mention the importance of staying credible to clients and followers.

Personally, I believe that the Code is a helpful resource in handling tough decisions because it indirectly covers a multitude of situations.  Understanding and following it’s guidelines gives me a better understanding of what is expected of myself as a public relations professional, which in turn makes decision-making a much easier process.

As public relations professionals and members of PRSA, we are always in the public eye; rarely do our actions go unnoticed.  One definite way to maintain a credible reputation as a professional, as well as uphold the standards of the PR profession is to practice ethical decision-making.

While the industry may be ever changing, our love for ethical public relations will always stay the same. The most basic of public relations lesson remains “Act Ethically and Carry On.”

Do what you love and love what you do!


It’s your first day at your dream internship and besides drowning in a mixture of excitement and overwhelm, you can’t help but feel completely clueless. I know because just six weeks ago I felt the same concoction of fear, hope and confusion as I sat at my desk on the first day at Shank Public Relations Counselors.

The feeling does go away, I promise, however, your attitude for the duration of the semester is determined by your outlook. Don’t expect to gain respect and a fabulous recommendation if you aren’t willing to try hard and put in the necessary work. 

After a month at Shank Public Relations Counselors, I’ve learned that key to success is passion. If you want to make your internship the best and are having trouble developing a passion for your assignments, my suggestion is to treat it like your favorite hobby. If that means you’ll be comparing your internship to exercising, reading or even playing an instrument, then so be it! After all, you should enjoy your work!

With any hobby, and also in your internship, make sure you apply these three habits to reach your fullest potential:

  •  Practice, practice, practice: As with anything, if you want to further develop your skills, practice is the best solution. In an internship, you’ll be introduced to a ton of different projects and be asked to use programs that you may have never even heard of.  Don’t fear.  Stay calm and Google. Utilize your resources to learn that new skill or program, and then continue to experiment until you’ve mastered it. Malcolm Gladwell, author of the “Outliers,” professes that in order to be an expert at anything you must repeat it 10,000 times in your lifetime so it’s best to get started now!
  •  Network: You never hesitate to chat up people who share your other passions, so why not connect with those in your field of study?! Don’t be afraid to approach peers who are doing internships similar to yours and ask them about what they’ve got going on. You may even learn something you never knew before and could incorporate into your own internship.
  •  Keep it fresh: When you first develop a hobby, you start at a beginner’s level then move up to moderate and soon you’re on expert! As you become more skilled, you try new things to challenge yourself within your hobby. The same applies to your internship. Always try new things and ask for new projects.

So, it may take more work than riding a bike, but as long as you keep a positive attitude and open mind, your internship will be just as fun.