In my experience, each PRSSA national event is unique. From the grand scale of National Conference, to the inspirational events of Leadership Rally, to the local charm of a Regional Conference, each and every event offers something special.
National Assembly, coming up this March 3–6, in Austin, Texas, not only offers leadership training and networking—it offers the opportunity to actively shape the future of PRSSA.
Here are five things you’ll love about National Assembly:
1. The Ability to Make Close Connections
National Assembly, like Leadership Rally, offers an intimate networking environment where you can develop close connections.
Each Chapter usually sends only one or just a few members—one of those being the official delegate. Because of this, Assembly attendees have the opportunity to quickly meet and network with Chapter members from around the country. To this day, I haven’t met a group that networks and connects as quickly as the PRSSA crowd, especially at a national event.
Whether it’s the delegate you’re sitting next to during the Assembly meetings, or the fellow members you interact with during sessions, you’ll come out of Austin with a group of fast friends.
2. Directly Impacting the Future of PRSSA
National Assembly is where the future of PRSSA is decided. During the National Assembly meeting, candidates running for a National Committee position give speeches and are voted upon. Bylaws, housekeeping and other important Societal activities are also conducted.
As a delegate, you have the privilege of being a part of the decision-making body that determines the future of the Society. As a non-delegate, you have the opportunity to observe these ceremonies. From either seat, it’s a special, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
3. The Opportunity to Run for the National Committee
PRSSA is led by the National Committee, a group of 15 students and professionals
At National Assembly, you have the opportunity to run for a position on the Committee. This may sound cliché, but whether you win or lose, you’re going to take a lot away from running.
From developing a platform, to preparing and presenting a speech to the delegation, to participating in the question and answer session, this is yet another opportunity to learn and grow professionally.
4. Learning to Apply Robert’s Rules of Order
Robert’s Rules of Order provides common rules and procedures for deliberation. It’s the operating system for the National Assembly meetings. What it does is give everyone in the room the same language to conduct business on. It also centralizes the will of the whole delegation.
As a delegate, you get to participate within this context. It’s a truly diplomatic process and it’s an incredible learning experience. You might interact with these rules in the future, but what you’ll take away is more than the semantics. You’ll experience firsthand how a group of individuals from different places and perspectives can make decisions for the greater good.
5. The Day-of Competition
Want a unique opportunity to collaborate with a group of public relations students from across the country on a communications plan for a real client? I think the better question is, who doesn’t?
The Day-of Competition is a challenging exercise that requires pre-registration. You have one hour with a team of people—that often you’re meeting for the first time—to develop a communications plan that you’ll present for a real client. What you’ll take away from this is not only a portfolio piece, but a story to tell a future employer or internship coordinator that demonstrates how you work with others and think on your feet.
If you’re already planning on attending National Assembly, I wish you the best. I know you’ll have an incredible time. If you’re on the fence, I hope this is that extra push that knocks you onto the other side.
Ben Butler is an entrepreneur, marketing communications professional and founder of Top Hat IMC—a fully integrated marketing communications firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You can connect with Ben on LinkedIn and on Twitter @BenButlerPR.