The age of “one-way conversations” is over, stated Richard Levick, Levick Communications, at the kick-off of Capitol Communicator’s PR Summit DC, July 19, at the National Press Club, as we now live in a “world of dialogue”.  According to Levick, in the past, “we controlled the conversation,” but in today’s world, that is no longer the case, and, as related to communications, we have become a “democracy”.  Communicators, he stressed, “need to be proactive” in this changing environment.  Levick added that change is “happening far faster than we are used to” and there is “no time to be reactive.”

The concept of change and changing realities was the focus of a number of Summit sessions – from the concept that public relations is undergoing fundamental change to a statement by luncheon speaker Marian Salzman, considered one of the world’s top five trendspotters, that influencers are the new media; and the idea that people now “live in echo chambers”, which was stated by Anthony Shop of Social Driver.  In addition, said Shop, communicators are now the “architects of messages that operate in real time.”

Approximately 300 people registered for PR Summit DC and the event was tweeted through the hashtag #PRSummitDC. (Posted above is a graphic representation of the Summit’s social media posts from various sessions and then what was shared by others.)

The full-day event featured insights from over 40 speakers from the media and local organizations and agencies examining fake news, how to best work with industry trade media, how PR can improve SEO, making the business case for public relations, how CSR has become purpose driven the shifting landscape of crisis communications, and how to create podcasts. In addition, the Summit featured a session where attendees heard results of an in-depth study by Pew Research Center on social media use in 2018. Among several takeaways, communicators learned the substantial differences in social media use by age.

Following the Summit, one speaker emailed Capitol Communicator that “the room was packed with people standing in the back, there were lots of good questions and they applauded us at the end” and an attendee added that the event was  a “substantive and thought-provoking conference.”  Another attendee told Capitol Communicator, “Wow, what a great PR Summit. I am so glad I attended. Really good sessions and speakers. I learned a lot and met a lot of great folks. I will be a repeat customer!”

You can check out photos from PR Summit DC here.

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