Lana Snodgras headshotThis is a guest post by Lana Snodgras, Director of Communications at West Plains School District, Missouri.

The NSPRA Seminar (National School Public Relations Association) is the conference of all conferences for anyone working as a public relations or communications leader in K-12. Once a year, school PR leaders across the country gather together to learn, share and collaborate with one another for an unforgettable experience. This year we’re all heading to San Antonio for what is sure to be a week of great professional development.

With so many insightful sessions and networking opportunities, the week can certainly take a toll. This ain’t my first rodeo (can you tell I’m getting ready for Texas?) so I’m sharing my top 5 “must do” items for NSPRA novices and experts alike. Enjoy!

1) Download the conference app

The conference app makes sorting through all the sessions quick and easy, plus it’s updated with last minute changes that you won’t see in your printed brochure. Enable push notifications for that same reason. Reminders, updates, and special announcements will be right at your fingertips throughout the seminar.  

2) Network during receptions, breaks, sessions, and receptions

Learning at NSPRA is only half of the reason why it’s the best conference of the year. The other half is networking. I’ve made countless friends at NSPRA who I stay in contact with and use as a resource during the school year. We have all been in sticky situations at our schools, and sometimes phoning an NSPRA friend is the best lifeline.

3) Be active on Twitter

Twitter is definitely the online hot spot during NSPRA. Check out takeaways from sessions you couldn’t join and jump in conversations with other attendees. Just don’t forget to use the NSPRA hashtag when tweeting #NSPRA2017 and use #wemetatnspra when networking with new friends.

Veteran tip: Update your Twitter profile photo so other attendees can find and meet you in person after reading your brilliant tweets.

4) Have a plan before you go

It pays off to have a game plan before you arrive at NSPRA. Talk with your colleagues to get suggestions about topics and sessions that will be most beneficial for your district. Then take a few minutes (after reading this post of course) to check out the NSPRA program.

Veteran tip: Once you look at the program you’re going to realize you can’t possibly fit in every session that will benefit your district. Instead of missing great content, pick a track that most suits your needs and stick with it. You’ll find the outcome much more rewarding than trying to attend multiple topics. You can always rely on friends to share notes with on other sessions.

5) Leave the office behind

Your district sent you to San Antonio for a reason, so unplug and focus on learning as much as you can to bring home with you. That question from your principal can wait until you get back.  Enjoy the time you have so you can better serve your district!  And remember to work hard, play hard and sleep when you get home!

 

Author bio: Lana Snodgras is an award-winning public relations strategist and writer with extensive professional experience in the public education sector. Ms. Snodgras oversees strategic communications and marketing for the West Plains School District in Missouri. She has been working in communications and marketing for more than 15 years. Prior to joining West Plains Schools, she spent eight years in radio marketing. Ms. Snodgras received her degrees from Missouri State University and William Woods University. In addition to her work, she is a frequent public speaker and presenter and is the immediate Past President for the Missouri School Public Relations Association.

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