You are formally invited to…

You are formally invited to…

My event organising only goes so far as school formals and after-parties, but everyone has to start somewhere, correct? It’s like Barack Obama running for class president in High School, you have to start off small and make your way to the top.

My latest project was the School of Communication 2017 Winter Formal. The one night where us students get the opportunity to get out of our athleisure wear and slip into floor-length gowns and act classy. I myself am still only learning when it comes to events-planning and management, but I thought I would share the tips and tricks I learned during this opportunity.

You can’t do it all by yourself

Get yourself a dedicated team. Ask your course director/lecturer to send an email calling for a formal committee. Once you’ve found yourself your army, you can start on your mission. This time around I created a Facebook closed group – perfect for sharing ideas, opinions and updates on what is happening.

Take inspo from all angles

Inspiration is hiding in every corner, you just have to think what would be appropriate to your event and your budget. I wasn’t going to order a mechanical bull for a school formal, but a photo-booth would capture the perfect shot of all your party guests – and they get a free keepsake!

Bloggers, Pinterest and previous events you have attended can all feed you ideas of what type of entertainment you can have. Keeping in mind my budget, we opted for goody bags (filled with sweet treats), ‘Selfie Face-mats’, a photo-booth and a candy floss machine.

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‘Selfie Face-mats’ bought off Amazon made us look Amazing

I had originally seen the Face-mats at a 21st birthday I attended, and with the whole ‘selfie’ phenomenon currently happening, the guests had the best craic trying on the different faces. This was a sure way to keep my guests busy and energised whilst they waited for their food in the dining room.

Keep note

My laptop was my best friend for the guts of a month, as I was constantly updating my database filled with names of people that have paid, people promising to pay and entertainment companies I have handed money to. Keep these all in separate lists!

The key to running a successful event is definitely organisation. I found satisfaction out of always having the answer to questions before they were asked. Make a list of everything you need to know from your venue, from your entertainment companies and from your committee and have the answers written out in a Word document.

Invest in a whiteboard in Tesco for £5 (fulfil your secondary school guilty pleasure of scribbling on a whiteboard) and have everything you need to do in the days preceding the event written down. The satisfaction I got from wiping the marker off the board was unprecedented. Yes, I am also the person who gets excited when mopping a dirty floor.

Promoting still applies to University events!

It’s a School formal, surely everyone wants to go enjoy a night with their university mates, right?

Wrong.

Right up until 2 days before the event, I was still encouraging other students to come to the formal. You have to create the buzz around your event. If you’re not excited about it, what gives anyone else the right to be excited?

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Promotion overload – Free Red Bull, Formal Tickets and Snapchat filters

The School of Communication hasn’t held a formal in quite a few years due to lack of interest and no one willing to take control of the event. So to tackle this and help make this an annual thing, you needed to share the fun with as many people as possible to make them want to go next year – AKA make EVERY moment a photo opportunity, so that social media knows how good of a night it was.

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The candy floss machine ensured every snap was insta-worthy

Of course at the event you need a Snapchat filter. A filter is a given at any event nowadays, but you would be surprised how easy it is to create and how much of a reaction it gets from the crowd. I found it was these simple details that tied the whole event together and shaped the amazing atmosphere the formal had.

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The filter was used 121 times during the night, and viewed a total of 19,242 times!!!!!

and RELAX…

So you’re at the event, you have spent time and money making yourself feel glamorous. Do not waste all of your hard work being stressed! Everything has obviously turned out fine since you have made it to that point. Take some of the prosecco they are offering you (because every event needs a prosecco reception) and enjoy your night!

 

Shannon Quinn is a 2nd year CAM student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn at https://uk.linkedin.com/in/shannon-quinn-556236132 and on Twitter @SQbabes.

Fighting Placement Panic

Right now I am sitting on a bus surrounded by people who are equally as disappointed in the Wi-Fi service as I am. Let’s hope inspiration really does strike in unlikely places.

I’m travelling towards a placement interview and so excitement (and nerves) are running high. For a career in PR, work experience is essential and so degrees that offer placement years are a must. However, trying to find experience can be a gruelling process and a lot of people have the same opinion of trying to find placement.

I know that I’m definitely not the only one starting to feel the pressures of finding a placement so this post is focused on little tips that may help you if you’re anything like me. Keeping on top of what you’ve already done and trying to find the best placement for you can be difficult. Here are just a few tips that I’ve found useful that may help you calm those frayed nerves!Related image

KEEP A LIST 
This may sound simple and tiresome but I can’t stress how helpful it is to keep a list of placements that you have applied for. Even a simple notebook with a list of placements you’ve applied for and the dates you’ve applied can be really useful when you start to feel overwhelmed or have those worrying thoughts like “Should I have heard back by now?” If you keep a note of the closing dates of these placements, you’ll have a better idea of when you should get a response.

COMPANIES HAVE BLOGS TOO
A great way to find out more about a company before you apply for their placement or even to prepare if you’ve been offered an interview is to check whether they have a blog. Lots of companies nowadays have blogs run by employees, graduates or even current placement students detailing what their role is and a bit more on the company culture. For example, Unilever run a great blog that includes posts from placement students! A resource like this can really help you decide whether or not a placement is the right fit.

SEARCH ALL AVENUES
Most universities have an online resource that you can use to find placements that suit you. While this is a great tool it shouldn’t be the only one you use. Websites like http://www.ratemyplacement.com and http://www.glassdoor.co.uk can also be useful in finding possible placement opportunities. They usually also include a review service so you can see immediately how others have fared with this position.

DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS
It’s so easy to feel inadequate or disheartened when others around you start getting interviews or even offers and you don’t even feel like you’ve started. While it’s not good to be so picky about placements that you don’t apply for anything, you should never apply for a placement that you wouldn’t accept if you got the chance. If you haven’t found one for you and others have that’s fine. Just keep looking and remember that it’s your job to make sure you get the most out of this opportunity as possible.

Hopefully this will help you keep on top of your placement search. I wish you all the best of luck and happy hunting!

Chloe Peoples is a 2nd year CAM student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on Twitter @ChloePeeps or on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/chloe-peoples

A New Chapter

Hi everyone, my name is Alex Slaine and this is my first blog post for the PR Student Blog and I thought I would take this opportunity to explain how I came about deciding to study Communication, Advertising and Marketing at UUJ.

During my GCSE’s I was set on becoming a journalist, ether working for a news broadcaster such as the BBC or simply writing articles for a magazine or newspaper.

However, till this day I will remember the experience I gained from my placement at UTV. Learning that being a journalist is no usual ‘9-5’ job and that the ‘digital age’ is having a dramatic impact in the industry. We as readers/viewers of the news now want to consume the facts in clear and concise snippets, with social media platforms dominating the way in which we access the news. Through my placement at UTV, I learnt that the Journalism and Public Relations industry is under a much broader scope than just newspapers and TV news bulletins.

This enhanced understanding of journalism and the world of public relations, hugely impacted my A-Level choice. I chose subjects that I enjoyed, but more importantly ones that provided me with useful everyday skills which I could utilise in my future career.

My subject choice consisted of Applied Business, Journalism and Performing Arts. Each varied in content but all allowed me to gain and develop my interpersonal communication skills, overall confidence and time keeping. I felt my subject choice for A-Levels not only allowed me to obtain an education, but shaped me as a person.

For my Year 13 work experience I had the opportunity to shadow the Senior Press Officer for our then Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers. This placement confirmed that I wanted to pursue a career in public relations, offering me an insight into what working in this industry would involve.

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During my work placement I had the opportunity to meet Theresa Villiers.

I enjoyed the buzz of the office, working in a time pressured environment, always having to be one step ahead of the media and providing just the right amount of information that was beneficial for the person of focus, but not so much that the facts could be misconstrued by the media. The placement lasted four days and is the main influence as to why I am studying Communication, Advertising and Marketing.

Although I have only been a student of Ulster University for a short period of time, I can confidently say I will enjoy the next four years of my studies- with the CAM course teaching me so much on topics I have a keen interest in.

It is a well known and respected degree, offering students to pursue placements and careers which they have a genuine interest in. From the communication and language module I have learnt that there are a range of different layers between our interactions than just speech. In contrast, modules such as Marketing and Consumer Behaviour have already provided me with an understanding of the process we go through when purchasing products and the strategies marketers will carry out to persuade us to purchase a product.

 

Alex Slaine is a first year CAM student at Ulster University. He can be contacted on Twitter @alexslainee