Category Archives: Linky Love

Negative Nancy

Photo by Steven Depolo

The dreaded group work. For many, working in a group causes more pain than pleasure. Personalities clash, fights to take lead on an assignment occur, or worse, you get stuck with a bunch of slackers and end up doing all the work on your own. I have been lucky enough to work with an amazingly motivated group this term for one of my classes. The communication has been great and no one has been left in the dust.

It is important to find a balance between expressing your thoughts and listening to the thoughts of your group mates. I read an article called How Creative Thinking Gets Killed by Team Members – 8 Fatal Blows that lists things you should NOT do while working with a group.

Here are a few things I’ve found make a successful group

1. Communication

Express your thoughts. Be vocal and give your opinion. Your group mates can then help tweak your ideas into perfection.

2. Listen

Always take your group members thoughts into consideration. Work together and don’t overpower a quieter group mate. Let every member contribute to the project at hand.

3. Be positive

Have a positive attitude when working in a group. It can be stressful trying to get a project done so keeping things light and positive. Working together and getting along will make life a lot easier and will contribute to a better outcome.

Working with a group can be beneficial. If you use your group members to your advantage it can be a way to bounce ideas off each other. Feedback always makes something better.

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Herman Cain

Photo by Todd Martin

Oh no, another sex scandal. Over the years we have all seen our fair share of political and non-political sex scandals. President Bill Clinton, and Anthony Weiner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods, and Charlie Sheen are just a few of the more popular ones. Recently it has been rumored that Presidential candidate Herman Cain paid off a couple women he sexually harassed in the 90s.

These sex scandals seem to bring out the worst in public relations. In Michael Sebastian’s article about the disastrous interview between Herman Cain’s spokesperson J.D. Gordon and Geraldo Rivera on Fox News he shows just how bad things have gotten for the potential President.

There tends to be a habitual trend within most sex scandals, and it usually begins with denial. We have seen some of these more popular men deny a scandal to the skin on their teeth. After countless interviews the truth almost always comes out. Sometimes it’s worse than the original assumption. Then come the apologies. Written or live, the celebrities and political figures give an apology to their family and trusty fans. Here’s Tiger Woods’ apology, a real fan favorite.

So how can political figures and celebrities avoid bad PR when their sex scandals are revealed? Communication is essential.

Prepare for the worst.

Once a person is in the public eye it is almost a guarantee that their skeletons will come out of the closet at one time or another. They should be aware of the possible information that can come out one day, and if and when it does, know exactly how you will want to handle it.

Don’t lie about it.

Lying only makes things worse. Instead of being untruthful about the situation, find a way to express the truth. Chances are people will hate you a lot less if you’re upfront about the situation rather than lying about it.

Take responsibility and own up to the mistakes that have been made. Keep the story straight. Herman Cain’s spokesperson messed up pretty good in his interview with Fox News. Cain recently participated in an interview denying all of the accusations. Things are just getting confusing now.

People tend to get a little power hungry when someone becomes famous, so in some cases a sex scandal really can be false…such as the Justin Bieber baby mama drama. If a story really is untrue, serious measures should be taken in order to clear your name. Do what you can to prove your innocence and you will persevere.

But for now, it looks like this scandal is going to hurt Herman Cain’s chances at presidency. The longer the sex scandal lingers, the harder the hit will be.

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Don’t Do It…

Photo by Amanda Siska

Social media for many of us has become part of our daily lives. We share our most exciting moments with hundreds to thousands of our closest family and friends (and sometimes not so close). It seems as though some of your friends or followers can take it a little too far. Drunk tweeting and Facebooking…not the greatest idea.

Waking up with no recollection of the night before and a horrible hangover should be punishment enough, but now we have to worry about posting stupid things for all the world to see. You’re probably thinking, “but my profile is private.” Well, yeah maybe it is, but that doesn’t mean it won’t affect you negatively someday in one way or another. As we start to grow up it becomes more immature to get wasted every weekend. We have to start acting like (responsible) adults at some point or another.

An interesting post by The Daily Emerald talks about how drunken posts may be an indication of alcohol abuse. I don’t necessarily agree that this is true for everybody drunkenly posting online, but I do believe social media should not be used to display every drunken moment.

Our online existence will follow us around forever. Once it’s on there, it’s never going away. Scary. I usually think of it this way when I’m about to post something, is this something I would want my grandmother to read? If the answer is no then I don’t post it.

Don’t forget that regretful posts can end up trailing you into your career life. None of us want to be denied of a job because of a couple drunk nights in college. Be careful what you post!

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Things You Won’t Learn in the Classroom.

Photo by Pete Prodoehl

There are not enough hours in the day for student to sit in class and learn every single detail of how to be successful in a job, which is a good and bad thing. Some things teachers just can’t teach us because they can only be acquired in your own experience.

What you should have learned in college (but probably didn’t) by Meredith Coburn offers some really great tools we all need to know in order to be successful in the job search and job world.

1. Phone Etiquette.

Thanks to my internship at March of Dimes I have made endless phone calls. At the time I really didn’t enjoy it, but now I appreciate the experience. Before this opportunity I was a terrible phone talker. I would get nervous or stumble on my words. After a lot of practice I can talk to just about anyone on the phone without a problem. I would have never learned how to talk on the phone in the classroom.

Here’s some advice:

-Speak slow and clear

-When answering a phone say good morning, the name of your company, and your name, and “how can I help you.”

Here’s how I do it. “Good morning, March of Dimes, this is Olivia how can I help you?”

-If you don’t know the answer to something don’t panic, politely put them on hold and ask someone else for the answer.

-Always return a phone call.

-Before hanging up, ask if they have any other questions for you. Say thank you for calling, have a nice day! It is important to make your company look professional while on the phone.

2. Multitasking.

I am a forgetful person and can’t seem to remember all of the things I need to get done unless I write them down. Coburn puts emphasis on the importance of a daily to-do list. I need to remember this one. We all have a million things to do in a day so making a simple but thorough list of the things you need to do each day will help you avoid forgetting to do something important.

3. Keep it Simple.

I have never been one to use outrageous words while writing but I have friends who do and it makes me scratch my head while trying to understand what they are saying. People like things made easy. No one wants to spend an extra ten minutes looking up word meanings while reading an article. A good rule of thumb from Coburn, “Would the average reader have to look this up?” If the answer is yes, pick a different word or phrase.

4. Forget About Lengthy Paragraphs.

Everybody is on a time crunch these days. No one wants to read long paragraphs. Keep it simple and get straight to the point. You’ll get more readers that way.

5. Grammar.

The grammar issue comes up again. The better your grammar is the more intelligent you will sound. Employers aren’t going to spend the time teaching you proper grammar, they will find someone who already knows how to write. The AP Stylebook, aka the grammar bible will help you avoid any silly grammar mistakes. Use it!

These are all very simple steps, but each one is very important. Take the time to recognize each of these things and make sure you are following them. Employers will love it.

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Cover Yourself in a Cover Letter

Photo by Nicolas Nova

Writing a cover letter and building my resume are two things I dislike more than anything. I understand the importance of both and yet I still continue to dead the process. A cover letter is the best way to allow the hiring manager an inside look as to who you really are as a person and as a potential employee. Lisa Hutchins wrote a very insightful article on writing an irresistible cover letter.

It takes just five easy steps to create an awesome cover letter. But sometimes they are easier said than done.

1. Research the company.

Knowledge is key. Being unfamiliar with the company you are applying for shows lack of interest and motivation. It is important to know the main concepts of the company as well as what they stand for.

2. Put thought into content.

A mistake I have commonly made is waiting till the last minute to write my cover letter and tailor my resume to the job I am applying. Plan accordingly so you are not trying to cram. It will show if you just throw words on paper just to make a deadline.

3. Follow directions.

It’s easy to get off task. Be sure to follow the company application process to a T. Make sure to cover every topic they are looking for. Be clear and concise.

4. Never send an attachment.

A great point is made in this article. HR’s receive tons of emails, especially when a lot of people are applying for the same job. They don’t want to have to open a billion attachments to read a cover letter, so make it easy for them and put it in the body of your email.

5. Always explain why you would be best suited for the position.

This is where I tend to struggle with each cover letter I write. Be confident and let your skills be known. Don’t ramble, but let employers know what you have to offer and why you will offer these things better than anyone else.

Have a friend, co-worker or family member check your work. Don’t stress out too much. Practice makes perfect when writing a successful cover letter.

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I’ll Lern Gud L8r #WritingProblems

One class that has stuck with me throughout my college career was grammar for communication. Nothing bothers me more than people who don’t know the difference between the simple their, they’re, there, to, too, etc. It seems as though the importance of writing well has gone out the window and people aren’t taking it as seriously as they once did. Today’s social media trend of Twitter and texting has only made this issue worse. Abbreviations are far too common and it is truly amazing the way people can turn a well-written sentence into a few letters and numbers. My dad is too good at this.

photo by quas

‘Is Good Writing Officially DOA? Why Writing Remains More Important than Ever in Today’s “Twitter” Era,’ by Evan Weisel only supported my thoughts on the importance of writing today. Yes, I see how being able to write a headline in 140 characters is useful, it is also useful to be able to write these headlines in an intelligent way. In the professional world no one is going to take abbreviations and bad grammar seriously.

“For them, it’s all about schmoozing at big events. Writing? That’s no fun, right? Get over it, because being a “people person” isn’t enough. You could charm the skin off a snake and look like George Clooney or Angelina Jolie. But you still have to write to add distinguished value to your skill set.” I really liked this quote by Weisel. The social media age is currently taking over but that doesn’t mean we should throw away grammar and writing skills. They are not lost and although texting and Twitter are a gateway to bad grammar doesn’t mean they should be ignored in your professional life.

The Associate Press Stylebook is a great tool for any grammatical questions you may have. It has helped me dramatically throughout my time in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon.

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A Little Help Never Hurts

Photo By: Siette

Thinking about life after college is a topic that scares me from time to time. I tend to stress about what I’m going to end up doing as a career and where I will be in life in general. Reading Six PR Starter Tips, Care of the MBTA really opened my eyes to a few steps that I should be taking in order to prepare for entering into the Public Relations industry as well as how I can become successful once I am working in PR.

I suggest you all take a read at this quick and useful article written by inkhouse, a public relations and social media agency. It will offer some clarity about the Public Relations industry, especially to any of college students getting ready to graduate, and enter in to the “real world.” And of course to anyone else wanting to work in Public Relations or is in need of a little inspiration in general.

I thought this article was really applicable because the writer uses an everyday experience such as riding the bus to explain these steps in a very simple way. I love lists because they give me a chance to gauge my progress and stay on top of things in order to be successful.

The six starter tips given in the article are have a plan, be timely and attentive, be patient, keep it interesting, build relationships, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. I really liked these tips because you can apply them to your any experience in life whether it be work related or not. I think it is important for us, me especially, to have guidelines like these. They provide a little structure to what would be an otherwise overwhelming life at times.

When I think about having a plan I find it best to keep it simple and attainable. You want to have a path that will be possible to stay on. Being timely and attentive to me means ridding your life of procrastination, which can be a difficult thing for me to do. “Patience is a virtue” has been a phrase I have heard my entire life. I can’t think of a more true statement, but I also can’t think of something that is harder to be than being patient. Definitely something I need to work on. It is easy to get caught up in a routine or to just go through the motions but keeping things interesting is an important concept. It will allow you to stay interested rather than become bored with your life.  You never know what someone can bring to the table unless you talk to them. The more people you know and can come into contact with the more you are going to benefit. Building relationships, what a tough thing to do sometimes. I know pride can get in the way but asking for help is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Support from someone else can be the boost you need in order to take steps forward.

I feel pretty blind when I think about things I need to do if I want to be successful in PR so this article gave me a breath of fresh air.

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