By: Anastassia Kapeles

As the last week of my internship comes barreling towards me, I’m taking a look back at what I’ve learned here at Momentum.

Public relations is sometimes hard to explain to people when they ask you what the field entails. This is not a failing of your own or of PR, it just shows that PR can take on many forms and many responsibilities depending on the needs of individual clients.  There’s a lot more to PR than churning out press releases and setting up interviews. Here are three takeaways from my experience:

1. Research is critical: A huge part of public relations is research. Communication doesn’t happen in a vacuum, it has to be embedded in the happenings of the rest of the world, so it is critical to know about what’s going on in your client’s field. Understanding the lingo, being up to date on trends and knowing the latest news is always important, even if you’re dealing with sustainable fish. It’s also helpful to have information to provide to your clients that they can talk about during interviews.

2. It’s not just what you know, it’s how you say it. But it’s not just what you know, it’s how you say it. Being able to aptly convey a message is just as important as having great material to work with. It is imperative in PR to create a clear and attention-catching message, and do it succinctly. Reporters and editors go through tons of material each day, and yours needs to pack a punch in the opening to get them to notice. The most important, exciting and newsworthy details shouldn’t be saved for last; they’re needed to suck the reader in. And make sure that your message is clear, even if you have to ask a few co-workers to read it over too.

3. Work as a team. One of the most important things I’ve learned as an intern is the value of team work. Everyone has their own strengths, and recognizing that makes for a more efficient and successful company. If you’re great at public speaking, then you should be the leader of a presentation. If someone else is a wiz at grammar and punctuation, then they should edit pitches and reports. Learn your strengths, and be confident in offering help to others if you have an idea.

Overall, PR is about communicating ideas effectively. Through my internship, I’ve learned how to better understand and convey important topics to the public. I’ve improved my writing and my speaking abilities, as well as gained confidence in some of my strengths.