Written by Lilian Morrill, social media director and account executive for Allen Hall Public Relations.
On Feb. 6, Allen Hall Public Relations teamed up with the University of Oregon Public Relations Student Society of America chapter and the Warsaw Sports Business club to hear from Brian Berger, a public relations professional and the founder and CEO of Brian Berger Public Relations and The Sports PR Summit.
Brian has more than 20 years of public relations knowledge under his belt and gave us some insightful and essential tips on how to succeed in the professional world. Brian founded BBPR, his PR firm, in 1998 after working with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. Brian is also the host and founder of the nationally syndicated radio show Sports Business Radio. To add to everything else he does, Brian is the founder and CEO of the Sports PR Summit which is an annual event that brings together senior public relations executives from pro and collegiate sports ranks as well as athletes and media members. The function allows attendants a better understanding of the communication issues in the sports industry.
Although we learned a lot from him here are our top three takeaways:
Communication is Key
To Brian communication is a top skill that he uses in PR world. He explained that he had met people who are amazing over social media or email, but their communication falls flat when they are in a face-to-face situation.
“Being authentic and being the same person that you are virtually as you are in person is very important.”
He continued saying that when you are in PR, you have two clients. The first is your client that you are representing, and the second is the reporter whom you are pitching to. As a PR professional, you have to make both of them happy. A part of good communication is having the ability to follow through with what you offer up. If you say you are going to do something you better be able to follow through and deliver. In his career when he promises a radio show or event that he will have a professional athlete show up, he makes sure that he delivers what he promised.
Life is about building strong, long-lasting relationships. Finding time for a phone call, email, text or in a best-case scenario, an in-person meet up for coffee or a meal, is important to sustaining those relationships.
Top Tips for Young PR Professional
Brian joked that he could go on for hours about which skills young professionals should have, but his main tips included being able to have in-person conversations, conducting yourself professionally when you meet people, confident body language and finally find the “win” for the person you are talking to. First, he explained that being able to have a conversation with someone is very important when you are networking because it gives a possible employer a glimpse into who you are around professionals. During those in-person conversations, it is important to conduct yourself professionally and have confident body language. Confident body language includes eye contact, having a firm handshake, not looking down and standing up straight. Finally, finding the “win” for the person you are talking to. Brian means that if you are interested in working for someone, you should do your research and find out how you can help them or make their business better.
It is also very easy to self-publish now – on a blog, social media or via a podcast. Show people that you have a personality and can offer a unique point of view. Employers can easily access these items online and it will give them a great opportunity to learn more about you.
Work Harder than Everyone Else
While Brian was at the Portland Trail Blazers, he took every opportunity to go above and beyond in his assignments. He showed his employers that he was there to do well and make a name for himself. He advised us to do the same. He said that if we are not working as hard as we can then someone else is always going to be better. It is competitive in the business world, which means you need to work hard every day. He encouraged all of us to learn something new every day and to keep chasing our dreams.
“Stay hungry. Wake up every day and seize the opportunities that are out there. Don’t wait for them to come to you.”