Feb 28

Responsiveness 101

What do communications students from Marist College, Northeastern, the University of Vermont, the1_2
College of Charleston and the PRSSA share in common?

Almost all have failed to follow-up with me after being urged to post comments on my blog, submit a writing sample for my edits or just plain ask for my help in networking.

I’ll bet I’ve lectured before 500 or more college students in the past year alone. And, I’d guess that less than two percent have leveraged the ‘meetings’ to connect with me. These are the same kids who, in conversation with me, voice serious fears about successfully entering the workforce.

I’ve discussed the students’ lack of aggressiveness and follow up with search consultant par excellence, Bill Heyman. He agrees that, while the latest generation of college kids, live, eat and breathe all things digital, they lack either the competitive drive or intellectual wherewithal to connect, network and differentiate themselves as thought leaders.

I’m sure sociologists could have a field day with the various reasons why this is happening. But, in my mind, it comes down to two factors: my generation of parents has spoiled the current one, most of whom expect the business world to beat a path to their door. Second, the Web has become a virtual crutch of sorts enabling kids to avoid direct confrontation.

Regardless of the causes, we’re left with a group of kids who desperately want jobs, but seem reluctant or unwilling to roll up their sleeves and do it what it takes to succeed. File it all under the term ‘sense of entitlement.’

Oct 22

There was no sense of entitlement in Philly

Many young people in the PR industry possess a serious sense of entitlement. Or, so many of us in thePrssa
profession’s upper ranks seem to think.

And, while I’ve experienced firsthand examples of account executives with a seriously inflated sense of self-worth, I’m also pleased to report I’ve just met scores of young industry professionals who are the polar opposite.

The occasion was the PRSSA’s annual conference in Philadelphia. I was invited to address a large group on the subject of writing. I told them the overall quality of writing has fallen faster than the New York Jets post-season chances. I told them to forget about attending other workshops on subjects like media relations, strategy and account management if they didn’t first master writing. I also told them text messaging shorthand was undermining their credibility with bosses, clients and the media.

I’m happy to say the audience was overwhelmingly receptive. They not only peppered me with smart and insightful questions, they also lined up afterwards for one-on-one advice. Each and every student was smartly dressed in business attire. Each handed me a business card, resume and, in some cases, feature articles they’d authored.

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