October 29, 2008

So the PRSSA National Conference in Detroit was an experience and a half. I learned a lot, dealt with some drama reminiscent of high school, and explored a new city and a new country (Canada). More on that later, and probably not here.

The thing that struck me as odd however, is the man next to me on the plane on the way home. He was older, bad teeth, borderline smelly and was on his way back from Philadelphia. Great – as I don all of my Rays gear on the plane. We skipped right over baseball and talked about how happy we were to get back to the Sunshine State (which I called home with no hesitation this week, but again, more on that later).

The man asked what I was doing in Detroit and I said, “Oh, a conference,” not really wanting to get into it. But he probed on. I explained it was with PRSSA and PRSA and we had some joint events and separate ones. He said to me, and I quote:

“Isn’t that a bit redundant? A conference about … conferencing?”

Apparently, as a future PR practitioner, I am redundant, and a conferencing guru. I told him, “no, not really, it was a lot about networking and getting to meet people from all over the country and learning about different areas of PR,” to which he replied,

“a redundant conference for a redundant profession.”

First of all, may I please copy and paste a definition of redundant? Yes? Okay well here it is,

1. characterized by verbosity or unnecessary repetition in expressing ideas; prolix: a redundant style.
2. being in excess; exceeding what is usual or natural: a redundant part.

If you’ll refer back to Hazelton and Long’s definition of PR as a communication function of management, I’m not seeing anything redundant about it.

For the first time, I was annoyed about the perceptions of PR. Then, I woke up and I didn’t care about what they think – because chances are this guy cleans porta-potties and his opinion doesn’t matter anyway.

I am not going to be a bitter PR person and try to prove myself to everyone that what I do is meaningful. You’ll see that it’s meaningful when I save your company (porta-potties or something more … important) from a major crises or when I get that celebrity to endorse your new product or whatever, or when I go overseas to promote your company globally.

On a lighter note, I met Penelope Trunk this weekend, and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll check her out: blog.penelopetrunk.com

Her speech changed my life. Seriously.

DO IT, she’s my hero.

xoxo Sydney


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