Univeral Amplifier

Universal Amplifier

Amplifying the topics that power today's PR professional

Social Networking vs. Shaking Hands

Seemingly everyone is on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and a host of other social media sites that facilitate every type of personal or professional (or a combination) type of relationship. So in 2014, does a PR pro still need to join “real-world” organizations like the Public Relations Society of American (PRSA) or the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and head of to the occasional lunch presentation or seminar? The answer is you should.

Universal Information Services PR Measurement

Just about any professional organization has some kind of FAQ list that highlights the benefits of membership. Here are the most frequent:
• Networking with others in the field locally, regionally, nationally;
• Professional development/learning opportunities;
• Leadership/service opportunities;
• Access to newsletters, magazines, etc. from the organization;
• Jobs board;
• Recognition programs.

It’s a nice list, but it’s not going to set anyone racing to find an application form. Here’s the reality – joining a professional communicator’s organization provides a much bigger, better pipeline into the world of business gossip. Much inline with our #SameRules #NewTools philosophy, you can’t replace the benefits of meta-communication achieved through face-to-face contact.

I’ve known many PR types who frequently attend monthly professional organization meetings not for the topic or speaker, but for the “meeting before the meeting.” When you have dozens of communicators in a room for longer than two minutes, everyone talks about what’s going on, who has a new job, which company has been successful with something, and much more. Is it all that talk accurate? No. Is it interesting? Probably. Does picking up a stray tidbit of information hurt anyone? Absolutely not. In fact, those chunks of gossip can lead to, well, anything . . . employment opportunities, communication ideas, business insights, future contacts, etc.

We here at Universal Information Services believe that the best insight about communications comes from firms like ours, where people communicate with people rather than computers auto-sending search results blindly. Whether you’re in New York, Denver, or Seattle, talking with other professionals in the real world is very different from adding a comment to someone’s PR blog, too.

Finally, another powerful thing about face-to-face organizations is that you really do get out of it what you put into it (which gets back to the bullet points.) Anyone who invests their time in networking, professional development, learning opportunities and leadership will almost inevitably expand the number people they know and who know them. At the local level, knowing the faces, names, and companies that people work for is a big deal.

Computers haven’t figured out the good handshake thing yet, either.


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