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Advice on How to Advance From the Panel Presentation

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By Meredith Libbey, MBA, APR, Fellow PRSA

Advancing from the Panel Presentation to the examination is a major milestone on the path to Accreditation in Public Relations (APR/APR+M) ― but what if you don’t Advance?

Initially, a “did not Advance” recommendation may feel devastating, but your panelists must explain, in written comments to PRSA, why you did not move forward. You can request these comments by emailing accred@prsa.org and use them to prepare for your second presentation.

Here are four common reasons why candidates are recommended to “not Advance” Panel Presentation:

  • Choosing a project that is too small. Successful candidates choose projects that show they used the four-step process of research, planning, implementation and evaluation. If your project is weak in any area, choose another project or explain how you would strengthen it if you had more time, money or other resources. Remember, you can use your panelists’ comments to improve and request another panel after 90 days.
  • Not including enough information. Include details that show your expertise and help your APR panelists understand your project. A best practice is to follow the 10-step process for writing a PR plan, which is found on page 49 of the APR Study Guide.
  • Not being quite ready. You may not have the experience to Advance from the Panel Presentation ― yet.
  • Not preparing. The Panel Presentation is a time to show how good you are ― don’t wing it! Practice your presentation, anticipate questions, and be ready to show your creativity and ability to think on your feet, just as you would for a client presentation or a job interview.

As you gain experience and responsibility, your projects are more likely to show your mastery of the knowledge, skills and abilities required for Accreditation.

Unlike many job interviews, Accreditation is a transparent process. You can review the instructions for panelists and the evaluation forms they use.

And if you want to see what a great Panel Presentation looks like, register for the complimentary April 24 webinar, “APR Panel Presentation: Secrets to Success” with Juanita Traughber, APR.

Meredith Libbey, MBA, APR, Fellow PRSA, practices public relations for Ford Motor Credit Company. She lives in Nashville, Tenn., and is a past Chapter president

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