PRD Conference Tips

Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Tip Sheet for Public Relations Division

This Tip Sheet is meant to provide you, a potential or new member of the PRD, or a first-time AEJMC attendee, with some information to help you take advantage of the conference and get integrated with the division. While this Tip Sheet is geared toward graduate students, we think it can be helpful for anyone, especially those moving from professional practice into academia.

Getting connected
If you joined the division prior to the conference, you may have been added to the PRD listserv. You can request to be added if in doubt by visiting the link below. The listserv is a core information channel for the division as open position announcements, new CFPs, and conference news is circulated. Public Relations Update is the division’s quarterly news publication. When you are added to the listserv you will automatically receive it. You can access previous issues on the PRD website. Also be sure to find PRD on social media and our division website.

Division website:
Public Relations Update Archive:
Twitter: @aejmc_prd (check out #prprof for past chats)

Navigating the conference
AEJMC is a very dynamic conference with many sessions happening simultaneously. Everyone is constantly rushing between presentations or meetings. There are no set “breaks” or networking events apart from the opening night reception. Most divisions have a member welcome lunch or a dinner, or a cocktail/networking event. Therefore, unless you set up appointments in advance it may be hard for you to meet some of the scholars you’d like to meet or connect with students from other programs.

To make the most of your time (and others):

  • Set up appointments in advance, decide who you want to meet by looking through the conference program when it is published at the conference website (usually at least two to three weeks before the conference).
  • Don’t count on lunch unless you plan it or get invited to one. Plan ahead to make sure you schedule some time to eat between your appointments and conference sessions. This is a great opportunity to connect with people you want to meet – invite them to lunch!
  • Although we encourage you to reach out to other scholars – be aware that faculty may have other commitments at the conference (such as interviewing job candidates), therefore they may not accept your invitation. If you do set up meetings over coffee or a meal with faculty, be respectful of their time due to their additional commitments.
  • Download the conference app when it is posted online or linked in PR Update before the conference. The app is a searchable resource to all the presentations and paper sessions. You can search by names and divisions, or just browse by day.
  • Take note of division business meetings. Attending these meetings are the best way of learning what’s going on in the division, identifying opportunities for involvement, and for meeting other scholars.

General conference tips:

  • AEJMC is a professional international conference. Whereas casual clothing (hoodies, flip flops, etc.) may be fine for other conferences, most AEJMC attendees wear business or business casual attire.
  • As mentioned earlier, it’s fine to email scholars to see if they have time to meet with you. But above all, be sure to go see these scholars and scholars in other fields present their work.
  • This is your opportunity to learn about new research, new methods, and to connect with other scholars. Make an effort to connect with people outside your “group” and spend some time with them, either just hanging out at the conference or grabbing coffee.

About PRD
Any graduate student can be a member of the PRD–it’s as easy as checking the Public Relations Division box on the AEJMC membership form. New and potential members are always welcome at PRD events and meetings, even if you forgot to check the box.

Be sure to note any graduate student meetings and make a special effort to attend those. The PRD graduate student association plans an annual meeting and a social. Watch for this announcement on the PRD listserv and sign up for the social EARLY as it fills up quickly!

At the PRD business meeting, the new officers will be introduced and the division awards announced. This is a great opportunity for you to learn about the work of the division and familiarize yourself with the awards and new officers. As you will be sitting with other PRD members (including many senior faculty), it is also an opportunity for you to introduce yourself. Most PRD members (as public relations professionals!) enjoy learning about new members and helping them connect with other members.

PRD Mentoring Program
Sign up to be a mentor or a mentee – it’s a great way to learn from and with other PRD scholars!