Students learn media manners at LI’s Advanced Public Relations School this week

August 5, 2011 | By Noelle Huffman and Lauren Hart

August 5, 2011, Arlington, VA— “Be a resource,” Jim Eltringham, vice president of Advocacy Group, Inc, said. “You will always go back to your resources, so mind your media manners!”

Students learned how to develop media manners this week at the Leadership Institute’s Advanced Public Relations School.  Constructing appropriate responses in crises situations, writing effective press releases, conducting informative interviews, and holding focused press conferences were among the many topics addressed by expert faculty.

LI Faculty member Ian Ivey, program expert at General Services Administration, shared tips for helpful argumentation.  “No matter how brilliant the response, if you are slow on uptake, your communications strategy will fail.”

“Timing is the most important aspect,” Ian continued, “you must have targeted and emotional communication, while getting it out fast enough to be effective. You must get your message out before it’s framed.”

For LI student Sam Sheetz who works in U.S. Representative Sam Johnson’s office, the most important skill gained was “learning how to perform under pressure and answer tough questions.”

Peter Smith, another student at this week’s Advanced PR School, summed up his experience: “It’s a fun, educational experience with value regardless of the profession; it opens your eyes to new perspectives and helps develop new skills. The school is a valuable resource.”

Ian discussed strategies to assess numerous “plays” enacted in public relations, both good and bad. Students interacted with the faculty members to determine specific PR techniques in proposed situations.

“Just because you run a play doesn’t mean it will work,” Ian warned. “Even if you know what the play is.”

LI student Jennifer Lundy, project assistant at Areva Enrichment Services, described the training as “a great place to learn, to network, and to advance the conservative movement in many aspects of your life.”  She plans to use her newly acquired skills in “future campaign or political opportunities to shape the message and win.”

Vice President of Advocacy Group Inc. and former LI staffer Jim Eltringham communicated the four critical “R’s” when dealing with the media: relationship, response, respect, and resource. In order to attain all four, “you must get your foot in the door and make it easy for a reporter to pay attention to you,” Jim explained. “Boil complex issues down so they can be understood quickly.”

Jim urged students to “argue factually and pointedly and to never assume yourself off the record.”

In order to apply the many media techniques addressed, Erik Hower at AT&T and Eric Slee of the DCI Group held a mock press conference.  Students divided into teams and prepared remarks to present in front of “reporters.”  Challenging questions were encouraged and all participants received valuable feedback on their comments.

Bryan Fuentes of Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society said, “I learn something new every time I attend the Leadership Institute.”

You too can learn new techniques in communication and other areas. Check out LI’s upcoming trainings here to register early and receive a discount.