Public Relations and Promoting Your Section

David Bower
Region 3 Public Information Officer

In the last Region 3 Newsletter, promoting your section byusing local print and TV/Radio media was discussed. The IEEE Publicity Guide is available both electronically, and by mail, and will be of help in this regard. Again, the URL for the electronic version of the IEEE Publicity Guide is With the long summer break almost over, it's time to reflect about section activities for the fall. Please include a viable publicity initiative in your planning to help promote section activities and increase attendance at your meetings. And don't forget to have plenty of IEEE materials and membership forms at the meeting.

For this issue of the newsletter, let's focus on some incremental things that can be beneficial, from a Public Relations (PR) standpoint, for promoting the image of your section and the engineering profession. Some sections begin their meeting with a short social and include beverages and snacks. This is a great time to network with others. It helps "to break the ice" by providing simple stick-on name tags for those attending. Some sections even designate a "greeter" to welcome attendees. And if, in the process, it's discovered that someone is not an IEEE member, it's a great time to promote the organization and present them with some materials (including a membership form).

In some cases, sections just pass around a legal pad or sheet of blank paper for attendance. What about taking the simple step of preparing a neatly printed and numbered a ttendance sheet, along with the IEEE logo (you can get it off the main IEEE Web page). This easy step, along with name tags, adds a level of professionalism. And a small 8x10 inch stand-up display welcoming people to the meeting can be displayed next to the refreshments. Don't forget to place some IEEE brochures and membership forms on the table near the display, along with the attendance sheet. Most of us have a computer and these basic, simple things can easily be accomplished and really help in the PR and image arena.

When it's time for the program, it's a good idea to have some brief opening remarks along with introductions of those present. Again, it helps "break the ice" and make people feel more welcome. Remember to pass around the a ttendance sheet for those who arrived late. The individual who introduces the speaker for the program should have a brief biography on the person, along with a lead-in and title for the talk. Finally, a simple "let's welcome our speaker, Dr. Smith, by giving him a big hand," results in applause and helps make him feel welcome. Pictures of the speaker add a lot of PR value, and are useful for the section newsletter or web page. One very nice touch is to send the speaker a picture, of his presentation, in the mail along with a thank you note.

Remember that attendance sheet from earlier in the meeting ? Well, it can be used for a prize drawing after the meeting. It's also a good resource for following up on guests who are not IEEE members. And be sure to close the meeting by thanking the s peaker, and the people for attending. Some of these simple and basic steps mentioned above are good "PR" for promoting your section, IEEE and the entire engineering profession. And it helps open the door for getting new members. Please send me ideas for public relations you've used in your section so I can pass them along in a future Region 3 Newsletter.

Hope you had a great summer !!!

IEEE headquarters is a great resource regarding assistance to support your section and request materials. You are encouraged to check out the URL at and learn more about the available services to support your section. You can contact RA staff via e-mail or by telephone 732-562-5564 for assistance. Membership services at 1-800-678-4333 is a good general contact. Dyana Barnosky in Membership Development is another resource, or by telephone at 732-562-5539. The IEEE Membership brochure (MEM APP 04) is a good document to request for distribution at your meetings. And please remind those interested in joining IEEE, that they can join online at

IEEE Region 3 eNewsletter Volume 19 No. 4, August 2004, © 2004 IEEE
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The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.