We’ve all sat in interest meetings before. While some have been good, the majority of them have probably been boring and not very memorable. So what makes a noteworthy interest meeting and how can you design a PRSSA interest meetings that standouts? The following guidelines will ensure that your Chapter’s interest meetings will make every other organization on campus jealous. Let’s start planning!
The first step in organizing your Chapter’s interest meetings is picking a day, time and location. Whether it’s reserving the most popular room in the Student Center or picking a day that no other organization will be hosting their interest meetings, make sure that there is at least one logistical aspect that will make your interest meeting different from others on campus. Obviously this may require a little investigating but it will be worth it in the end!
The goal of your interest meeting should be to inform, entertain and convince every person in that room that they need to join your Chapter. But how do you do that?
It’s best to have a well-rehearsed and professional presentation in place for the meeting. Make sure the entire executive board is not only present but also speaks about their role and position in the Chapter, as well as general body members can learn from their positions. It also may be handy to have your Chapter’s faculty or professional adviser present to help clarify any questions or speak about their role.
In addition, make the presentation interactive with the guests. Ask questions that they can respond to or throw in a little trivia about recent public relations news. The more engaged you are with the guests, the more likely they are to open up and listen to you.
Consider dressing the part as well. Since PRSSA is a pre-professional organization, wearing business casual clothing instead of sweatpants will prove to your guests that your Chapter is on the road to success.
When people walk into the room, they should be greeted by smiling faces of the executive board. Remember, most of the people coming to your interest meeting may be nervous freshman who have no idea what PRSSA is or does. A simple smile or “hello” can go a long way in setting a solid first impression.
Make the atmosphere as friendly as possible. Perhaps play some quiet, upbeat music in the background to get everyone excited for the meeting. Also, make sure to have some food present. Believe it or not but this is one of the best incentives to get people to come!
Think about bringing in recent alums of your Chapter who can speak about how they benefitted from PRSSA and how it helped them get to where they are today. This will provide a credible source for students who are thinking of joining your Chapter.
Remember to mention how Public Relations is not just relevant in the Communications field. No matter where students end up, some sort of PR will be involved in one way or another. Use this to persuade students that joining your Chapter will benefit them in several ways.
Allow for some social networking after the meeting as well. Guests will have the opportunity to talk with e-board members one on one and get a better understanding of what joining PRSSA entails. The more people your e-board can connect with, the more likely they are to join your Chapter!
Your interest meetings will set the tone of your organization for the rest of the school year. Through accurate information, light-hearted entertainment and strong arguments, every Chapter can make sure their interest meetings are the most talked-about event on campus this fall. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your interest meetings today!
Emma Ingram is a junior studying public relations and strategic communication at American University in Washington DC. This year she is serving as the president of her school’s PRSSA Chapter. She was previously the Chapter’s vice president. Follow her on Twitter @emmaaingramm or connect with her on Linkedin.