Keep your edge sharp with PRSA Silicon Valley Professional Development workshops

Three Friday morning professional tune-ups coming up

David Vossbrink, PRSA Silicon Valley Past President, Director of Communications for City of San Jose, david.vossbrink@sanjoseca.gov, @dvossbrink

Seasoned PR veterans and up-and-comers can sharpen their professional edge with three great workshops from PRSA Silicon Valley starting Friday, August 3.

We live and work in a fast changing and hard charging world, but we still must take time to learn new skills, and relearn the basics, to do our best for our companies and our clients.  After all, as Gandhi once said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Our first workshop in the series is this Friday, August 3, when David Metz, partner at survey research firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, will give us practical advice on a variety of formal and informal research tools that can help us plan our programs and evaluate our results.

Metz will talk about how to ask questions and design surveys; the differences between market research and political research; measurement for PR campaigns; and value of alternatives ranging from casual “dipstick polls” to formal survey research – as well as the use of surveys by PR to generate news.

If you ever have had to answer your boss’s question, “how do we know that?” – you must be there.  Anyone who is considering PRSA accreditation should sign up, since research and evaluation are among the fundamental elements of solid public relations. And just to be better equipped to interpret the vast array of surveys and statistics that fill media channels these days, this workshop will be invaluable.

On Friday, August 17, Carla Oakley, partner at the San Francisco law firm Morgan Lewis will cover PR and the law.  And there is no shortage of legal matters relevant to public relations, such as copyright and fair use; the rights of media, disclosure requirements, privacy and technology; the constantly changing challenges presented by new media; and the relationship and sometimes tension between the lawyers and the PR team within an organization – especially in the face of a crisis.

The best organizations recognize that advice from both the legal and the PR teams is essential for success. Oakley will help us understand the issues and the ways we can work with the lawyers to navigate the treacherous waters of communications.

Our final workshop for this year’s professional development series will be on Friday, September 21 when Jim Balassone from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University will discuss Ethics and Public Relations.  He will give us an overview of ethics and ethical decision making; ethical organizational cultures; new challenges and issues emerging from technology; conflicts of interests; telling truth to power; and distinctions between ethical requirements, legal requirements, and perception requirements.

We’ve seen no shortage of organizational meltdowns in the past few years because of ethical breakdowns. PR has a critical role to play to steer a right course that can help prevent and correct them.  Balassone will give valuable insight on how PR professionals can provide this leadership.

All sessions will be held at Friday mornings from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Microsoft’s Mountain View campus at 1065 La Avenida (thank you, Microsoft, for providing the venue for PRSA!).  Your registration fee includes continental breakfast.  Go to http://www.prsasiliconvalley.com/Professional-Development-Events to register:

members (and partners) – $25; non-members – $40; students – $20.

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