How To Get The Best From Your Designer

Kimberly Volkov works on the the computer.

By: Kimberly Volkov

Have you ever struggled with talking to a designer or had trouble with them understanding your vision? This blog is intended to help clients understand and provide what is needed for designers. There is a need for clear communication, understanding and information about the project before starting any design. This will help any client or designer before any project.

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How AP Style Changed My Writing

A person working on their laptop with the AP style book.

By: Natalie Matheny

Before being introduced to AP Style writing, I was unaware of all the mistakes I was making in my work. Taking a copy editing class and learning about editing marks and grammar rules has really changed the way I take my time to write a good quality piece. By learning the ways of the AP Style guide, I have gained more confidence in my professional writing.

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Don’t Procrastinate in a Professional Setting

Street signs that read homework, procrastination and stop.

By: Nick Denton

As college students, we often procrastinate assignments because we think we have the time. As journalism students, we are always working toward a deadline. On multiple occasions I have left a big assignment until the night before it was due and I have never failed to get it done, these results reinforced the idea that this practice was okay.  

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How to Land a Job Without Actually Applying

A still life of a coffee cup, a paper and pen.

By: Marisa Bearden

When students think about how they’re going to get their first job after college, the first step is usually to fill out the application. What if that’s where we’re going wrong?

In my search for my own job, I have been offered an internship at a public relations agency and a public relations specialist role at a large telecommunications company. I didn’t apply for either of the positions I was offered. Here’s what I did that could potentially help you land a job after college.

Be my guest. During college, you get to meet so many people. From professors, other students and school staff. One group of people we forget to reach out to is guest speakers. These are people who want to share their experiences with students and be a resource in the future. Connecting with guest speakers after their presentation is a great way to expand your network and potentially get an “in” at their company.

Send it! That PR practitioner your connected with on LinkedIn or that alum that gave you their email is waiting for you to reach out. All it takes to have someone at a company to vouch for you is starting a conversation with them. You can’t wait for people to reach out to you, you have to be willing to ask for what will advance your career. Send an email or message simply asking to set up a phone call.

Professors that profess. We often forget that our professors had jobs and careers before coming to teach at your university. This means that they have a lot of connections with professionals in your field. Build a relationship with your professors early on, and they’ll want to tell all their connections about you by the time it’s graduation.

Rely on resilience. Finding a job after college can be difficult. It looks different for everyone, which means that you have to be resilient in finding what works best for you! Don’t give up or settle on a job that isn’t right for you.

During your time in college and when you’re fast-approaching graduation, take a look at these tips to see how they can work for you.

10 Tips on How to Enhance Group Dynamics

Group of people brainstorming ideas.

By: Chase Victor

1. Spread Positivity

It’s easy to get discouraged when a client is not great at communicating or doesn’t like your ideas. However, that is part of the process in learning how to align your talent to the clients’ needs. In order to grow as a valuable team member you must always do your best to look on the bright side. Look for what’s right, not for what’s wrong.

 2. Learn to Stay Level-headed

There can be difficult situations that arise whether it’s completing tasks in a narrow time frame or dealing with a crisis. Staying calm and collected is far more productive than blowing a fuse or panicking. Being negative or upset can have a ripple effect within your group and can impede workflow so take a breather and focus on solutions.

 3. Learn From Your Mistakes

In a fast moving environment, mistakes can happen but it’s up to you to decide on how to move past them and learn from them. We’re all human, mistakes are part of the learning process, so don’t be too upset about them. It’s not a matter of if, it’s when. But when they do happen, it’s important to take responsibility, move past those mistakes and learn from them so you can grow.

4. Learn to Juggle

The PR world, whether agency or in-house, is a busy place and making sure you have a grasp on your time management skills is absolutely crucial. You need to juggle and prioritize your clients’ needs in a orderly fashion however you and your team see fit.

5. Stay Organized and Reliable

Staying organized and reliable goes hand and hand with juggling tasks and time management skills. It’s best to be very detailed with everything you do, especially your calendars and to-do lists. One tip from a DineAmic Group publicist, Cara Zizzo says to always respond to emails. Whether they are clients or team members. Responding to them lets them know that you’re aware and on top of what needs to be done.

6. Listen Well

Oftentimes, we are so busy that we almost ‘skim’ the information we hear and get right to the task. However, listening doesn’t mean you’re actively understanding what’s being said. To be a better group member, you must be patient and engage when you listen, carefully hear the person to respond and get the correct information down.

7. Never Play the Blame Game

You never want to throw another team member under the bus if they were unable to complete something on time. Instead, let them own up to it and be positive when trying to give constructive criticism. Working in groups is a dynamic environment and requires effective communications and problem solving. If you’re running out of time on a deadline, let someone know that you may need an extension so there’s no confusion. Communication and a positive team atmosphere is key to successful teams.

8. Collaboration, Not Just Cooperation

In simplest terms group projects require cooperation to finish what needs to be done. But after are you pleased with the team’s performance? When collaboration is involved it makes the group much more willing to lend a helping hand. Antonio Garrido, a professional from Absolute Sales Development, says to get into the habit of asking your fellow colleagues, “How can I help you?” at any chance you can take to improve group function.

9. Have Empathy

You want a working environment where your colleagues help and support you, not just tolerate you. However important the work may be, you must remember the human behind the job. Listen and discuss about life outside of work (when appropriate) to show them that you care.

10. Ask for Feedback

Asking for feedback regarding your strengths and weaknesses is crucial in your development as a professional. There’s a time and place for everything so you don’t want to be a pest about having people check your work but asking for constructive criticism is encouraged and lets your group member know that you value their opinion.

5 Ways to Improve Your Interviews

5 Ways to Improve Your Interviews

Noah Enns

Being able to interview someone is a vital skill to have in the world of public relations. There are ways to improve your interviewing skills to get the answers and quotes you need to make a good story.

The first thing that I like to do when I am interviewing someone is to be friendly. The best interviews feel like a conversation between two lifelong friends. If you can establish a friendly vibe, the person you are interviewing will feel more comfortable and willing to give more engaging answers.

Be prepared. Come into your interviews with your questions thought out beforehand. It is important to do your homework on the person you are interviewing so you don’t waste their time because you aren’t prepared.

Always record your interview when you can. Say something along the lines of,  “Do you mind if I record our conversation so I can quote you accurately?”. This will establish to the person you are interviewing that you know what you’re doing and that you take pride in being accurate. Recording your interview ensures you capture that great quote needed in your story and serves as proof for what someone said exactly.

Make the person you are interviewing feel like the expert. If you aren’t sure of what they do or say, stop them and ask if they could explain what something means. This will give them a sense of power or confidence that what they know is of great importance. It’s okay not to know everything and you should be willing to learn new things in each interview.

Be on the lookout for other stories in your interview. The person you interview might reveal something that could be used in a different story. The more you can take from an interview, the better. All of the information you gather from interviews are important, especially when content is low. You will have information for stories already on-hand instead of having to go out and look for the story.

These tips will help you in the PR world. Interviewing people is a standard tool to have and the better you are at them, the better your stories will be.  

Positive Self-Talk: Why it’s Important and How to Achieve it

Yellow graphic that says "You know what? I love me so much" in black bold script.

By: Shannon White

The way that you think and feel about yourself is extremely important especially when it comes to public relations work and business in general. In this day and age many young adults have a very self-deprecating sense of humor. This behavior is highlighted a lot on social media and seen as comedic among young people. This message of negativity is extremely destructive and can create a habit of these thoughts remaining in your day-to-day mindset creating an unhealthy environment for yourself.

These thoughts can also become a reality. What many people fail to realize is the power of our thoughts and words. Thoughts can easily turn into words, words to actions and actions into reality. As a public relations professional it is important to not only have your clients be seen in a positive light, but you as an individual should be seen in a positive manner too. Your own PR is just as important. Potential employers and colleagues should know that you are a competent individual with a unique set of skills to bring to any team you are on.  

As someone who also struggles with positive self-talk, I can tell you now that it is easier said than done when changing your mindset. However, there are several ways that you can try and correct this negative mindset.

One way is changing what you consume online. Examining your external environment is extremely important. Ask yourself if there are any external factors contributing to your negative self-talk. Are you following people that make you feel worse about yourself? Are you following accounts that have negative language in their content? Cleansing your feed is a great way to brighten up your mindset and start your journey toward building it.

Another tip to a more positive mindset is to assess your values. When you are thinking about the way that you talk to others and how you treat them, ask yourself, “would I say these mean things to a friend?” Think of yourself as one of your closest friends. You are the person you know best and are with at all time. Why not tell yourself the positive things you would say to a friend or coworker?

Finally, prioritize yourself. Are you creating habits that will help you create a positive self-narrative? Are you reminding yourself that it’s not the end of the world when things go wrong and you’re not a failure? Remember, your narrative sets the attitude you have and the words that you say to yourself. Prioritize your happiness and do things that will help reinforce confidence. When your confidence is low, others can sense that and in turn they could believe the negative things you say about yourself.

Overall, your self-talk should be uplifting and positive. These changes don’t happen overnight, but taking small steps to get there will be a crucial step in finding success in your career.

xTed talks every PR practitioner should watch

A TED talk sign by Julie Freeman

By: Grace Gonzalez

Do you ever sit and reflect on where you want to be in your life in comparison to where you are at the moment? It’s easy to get stuck. You feel like you’ve started to move forward and you’re finally feeling some change and next thing you know, you’re stuck again.

Well, I believe that when those stagnant feelings start to arise, it’s time to get reinspired. A plateau in your life really just means it’s time to reevaluate what you’ve been doing, why it’s not working and what you need to do to move past it.

I advise that it’s best to get started with the personal. Maybe you’re losing motivation and feeling discouraged because you don’t absolutely love the job you’re working at or the environments you’re surrounding yourself in aren’t as satisfying.

Here are some Ted Talks I like to watch to reinspire myself:

Try something new for 30 days

By: Matt Cutts

Cutts discusses how 30 days is enough time to add or cut a habit. I really enjoyed this short Ted talk because it’s very encouraging in the sense that although you probably won’t start or stick to your new habit, the act of trying something new that you’ve always wanted to try will give you a confidence boost. I personally have a hard time sticking to new habits, but trying to stick to a new habit helps shift your perspective on your goals.

The hidden power of smiling

By: Ron Gutman

It’s really important to stay positive when times get tough and Ron Gutman presents a lot of facts and research about how smiling in itself can change a lot in your life. Something that makes me feel inspired again is when I start to evaluate all the things I’m blessed with, whether it’s family, friends, opportunities and more. It’s really easy to look at our situations with a negative view but when we change our thoughts and our reactions to be more positive, we can start to feel better and therefore get more connected in our creativity.

5 ways to listen better

By: Julian Treasure

In my opinion part of the process of reinspiring yourself is important to listen and pay attention to the world around you. It’s easy to focus on the negative and feel like things aren’t working out our way and that can block the focus from anything else. Whether you’re connected to something physically, spiritually, etc., it’s important to listen better. In a world of loud and busy noises, we can get lost in our electronic devices or close ourselves off to the world around us but really it just shows it’s time to focus our attention to the signs that are directing us to our paths.

Lastly, here are some options for Ted Talks that can help you grow in your PR career:

404, the story of a page not found

By: Renny Gleeson

This is a great Ted Talk because it does a really good job at comparing a 404 error page to real life errors. Gleeson explains that an error is a chance to build a better relationship. He explains how 404 pages mean you’ve hit a broken link but how certain companies decided to take this as an opportunity to make something humorous or creative about it. Therefore, he explains “404 pages remind you that a simple mistake can tell me what you’re not, or it can remind me of why I should love you.”

The clues to a great story

By: Andrew Stanton

Andrew Stanton worked on some Pixar classics like Toy Story and in this Ted Talk, he discusses storytelling and all the components to create a great story. In particular, he discusses working from end to beginning which is something that we do a lot as PR practitioners. We constantly set goals and slowly develop the means to get there. Like Stanton, we too create “stories,” persuasive ones at that, that illustrate how our work will greatly influence and impact the companies we work for.