It could be considered rather brave for an agency to cast a new intern into the strategically-social environment that shapes a PR event. Yet this is precisely what the higher orders at Nellie PR had me doing for the CIPR’s recent gathering in Exeter. Amidst the canapés, free wine and general chatter, I was able to find my feet in the South West PR scene and build some networking confidence.
The ability to communicate is a highly desirable facet within public relations. It can help you to obtain new clients, develop connections in the industry or even expand your agency. This particular event was hosted at the stunning Magdalen Chapter in Exeter and drew in some of the big names from the area. As an intern, I didn’t have a particularly expansive portfolio to show off, but it was enlightening to interact with PRs who represent a diverse mix of companies, both agency and client-side, ranging from the Met Office to high tech and software companies.
There were even a few ex-journalists making a transition from journalism into PR and marketing. Nonetheless, they all seemed pleased to see a fresh, young face (their words not mine) breaking into the industry and were eager to offer tips on the “dos and don’ts” of PR communication, while delicately flaunting their own work, and building up connections.
With Nellie PR being an agency on the rise and looking to expand, it was inevitable that this networking event would also have a subtly alternate agenda for us – scouting for talent. Of course, I couldn’t play a role in any such selection, but it was interesting from my perspective to see ‘who’ and ‘what’ my mentor was eyeing-up in potential recruits. Who knows, if we keep up with the networking, we may have another addition to our engaging team in the not too distant future.
Throughout the rest of the session, there was some great input from CIPR West of England representatives who are promoting the PR industry in the South West. The speakers enthused about the enterprising South West region and what the CIPR is doing to support its PR members in Exeter with events, training and additional networking opportunities. Some of the forthcoming events include a social media workshop, a session on digital marketing and a course on measuring and evaluating PR.
So it seems that I’m definitely in the right place to kick-start a career in PR. My first experience of networking was not only very engrossing, (I clung to sentences like ivy to a house), but also a whole lot of fun. It’s great to see so many representatives getting together to rave about the fantastic PR work being done in the South West.
Hopefully next time I’ll be able to contribute with a few blows of my own trumpet too.
Posted by Luke Bristow, PR and marketing intern at Exeter PR agency, Nellie PR.