PR Essentials

During today’s last session, Virgil Scudder, President of Virgil Scudder & Associates, Inc. spoke about “The Essentials of a Successful PR Career.” Scudder reminded conference attendees about the importance of basics: having good work habits, being knowledgeable about the public relations industry and networking. Scudder also talked about some lesser-known keys to a successful career in public relations, including…

  • Writing Skills—According to Scudder, the most important thing to remember is to edit everything you do. Everything you write needs to be proofread.
  • Presentation Skills—Don’t use PowerPoint as a crutch. Use common language in short, direct sentences. Don’t use words when an illustration will work better. Two very important words to remember are “for example.” Allow your audience to make a connection to a real life situation.
  • Read, read, and read—the best writers are voracious readers. Read newspapers, PRSA case studies, and biographies that will advance your industry knowledge. Scudder recommends reading the Wall Street Journal every day.
  • Professional Demeanor—It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice. Focus on being humble and tactful. Share credit and accept blame. Be willing to apologize.
  • Listening Skills—Do more listening than talking and follow the 80/20 rule when having a conversation. Ask the right questions and seek input. Show interest in others and their work.
  • Know the Profession—Study successful campaigns to learn about their successes and challenges. Ask questions of experienced professionals. Get involved in professional functions like PRSSA 2012 National Conference. Find a mentor.

Scudder concluded the session and summarized his lecture, reminding students to “work hard, be ethical and do the right things.”


Kaleigh Bacher

Director of Membership


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