Five Lessons from a Switchboard Practicum Student

PracticumBy Five Lessons from a Switchboard Practicum Student

April 1, 2019


As a future communications professional and soon-to-be-graduate from Kwantlen Polytechnic Universities’ Public Relations Diploma Program, I have the privilege of completing a four-week practicum placement at Switchboard Public Relations. The opportunity allows for first-hand PR experience.

With my graduation approaching and my time at Switchboard coming to an end (sadly!), I have taken the opportunity to reflect on my experience. Below, are five takeaways and lessons that I will be bringing to my future communications roles.

Practicum Lessons

1. Define your objective.

Whether it’s the start of a new project, resume, or a conversation with a high-level executive; defining a clear objective sets the tone. Being clear and concise from the get-go about what you are trying to achieve prior to starting puts you ahead of the game.

2. Time is a resource, manage it efficiently.

Building off the first point, time-management and time-efficiency are two skills that are huge contributors to success in the industry. In a time-sensitive environment where one is constantly multitasking, strong time management skills help release the pressure of a heavy workload and can increase the quality of work done by maximizing efficiency.

3. Keep an open mind.

Media landscapes, communications channels, and social norms are always changing. Success in the communications field is dependent on your ability to adapt accordingly. A strategy for one project may not work for another despite their similarities. Knowing this, and approaching each project and task with an open mind can lead to innovative solutions. And that’s something the team at Switchboard is all about.

4. Stay on top of current events.

As a young person in the industry, every professional I’ve ever spoken to has told me to make this a top priority. An integral part of being a communications professional is a knowledge of current events. Being on top of current affairs maximizes your ability to serve your client in the best way based on the timing and sensitivities in and around their industries and the news narratives at play. Awareness of competing news stories in the media can be the defining factor in whether or not a clients story gets the recognition it deserves.

5. (Learn to) Love multitasking.

Communications professionals are always working on multiple projects at once and days change constantly according to the news cycle, media requests and other factors. There is always a problem to be solved or an issue to manage. Enjoying or at least learning to love that aspect of communications is essential to your overall enjoyment and success in a PR career.

These five takeaways are just a few of the skills I have gathered from my time at Switchboard. I am incredibly excited about my start in the communications industry.

About the author:

This blog post was written by Emma Lam, Practicum Student, Switchboard. Emma is anticipated to complete her Public Relations Diploma by April 2019. In her spare time, Emma enjoys going to the gym, exploring the scenic nature in and around Vancouver, and keeping up with the latest memes.