PRFest is over – I’ve had a lot to think about over the weekend.

I left PRFest feeling excited and inspired by the speakers, the attendees feedback and the opportunities which lie ahead.

Putting the human back into PR

For the first time since last PRFest, I felt that the festival is the only place where all the BS is left at the door. Everyone was themselves. No-one had anything to prove.

I have tried since the outset to make the event about PR practitioners, not about agencies or organisations. I know what it’s like when you go to a PR conference and get talked at and the speaker looks down at you like you know nothing. Or, the speaker sells to you, completely misreading the audience.

From the speakers to the student helpers, to the attendees and me, we’ve all got something to learn or share. None of us know it all. That’s why I’m so passionate about practitioners committing to continuous professional development (CPD). If you don’t commit, you don’t push or commit yourself to learning and importantly, evolving as a practitioner. Our industry is moving at too fast a pace to stand still and sniff the flowers!

Sharing is caring

I took part in the Spin Sucks 30 day challenge in January – it was back to basics, but with a fresh eye on brand, message, audience, storytelling and more. It was really helpful and helped me focus on the year ahead. One of the challenges was about sharing all your knowledge through insightful blog posts, after we’d researched and identified key words. Sharing encourages others to get better and learn from you, your seen as a leader in your field and the industry improves overall. I questioned the tact of ‘sharing all’. The response from the rest of the community created on Slack was hugely encouraging. “You can share it all and people can learn from and even take your ideas, but no-one can deliver it like you can. You’re the expert.” It’s true!

I’ve used who and what I know to create a community event. We’re all part of the same community. We’ve all got something to learn or share and I bet you, you won’t be the only person with ‘that’ question.

What can I offer attendees?

I’ve purposely not spoken at PRFest. Apart from being nervous to do so in front of the amazing speakers who have been involved, I’ve never really felt that I could both organise and manage the event, plus lead a session. However, the more I hear from practitioners and the more I discuss the challenges and opportunities we face, the more I think, well, I could speak as I’ve got loads I can share which will both be of interest and value.

The main point about PRFest is for practitioners to be able to leave the festival and immediately implement what they have learned. I’ve worked on so many amazing clients and projects over the last few years that I have loads to share – from the do’s and don’ts to best practice examples.

It’s got me thinking about next year. Out of everything I’ve worked on, is there a specific area of work I’ve been heavily involved in, such as community development or volunteer engagement, which I could present and lead a meaningful discussion, knowing I could answer the questions afterwards? Yes, I think there is.

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