The Importance of Work-Life Balance

Picture of an Apple keyboard, a planner, highlighter pens and a smartphone.

As the days go on, getting lost in the craziness and feeling like there is no end in sight seems like a daily occurance. With the busy season ramping up, it is important to find a good balance to your work-life and your life outside of the office.

Working day in and day out can be exhausting, especially in the ever fast-paced world of public relations. According to CNBC, public relations came in the eighth spot as part of their list of the top 10 most stressful jobs in America. I can attest to this claim with my brief time in this industry. Constantly thinking about how the public will perceive your message, being able to create a compelling message and making sure the world doesn’t blow up in your face is indeed high stress. Having a good work-life balance, especially in a high-stress career like public relations, is vital.

Finding hobbies that help you forget about work for even just a moment is a great way to help draw a line in the sand of work and personal life. Activities such as hiking, cooking, painting and just exploring your town or city can all be great ways to disconnect and be present in the moment. Even just making it a habit of leaving your work at the office can help push you to keep your work from creeping into your personal life.

With the rise of new age technology, it’s hard to stop yourself from refreshing your emails, scrolling through your newsfeed and essentially waiting for the world to throw a new curveball at you. Being able to turn off your phone and stop obsessing over work after leaving the office is a task that does come with its difficulties, but in order to not turn into a frazzled workaholic, it’s crucial.

Being able to take a step back and enjoy your life is something that I feel has been pushed aside. Everyone wants to be constantly busy and have something on their plate. However, that lifestyle is not sustainable. Please for your own sake, take a minute to stop, take a deep breath and relax for just a moment.

By Shannon White

Photo by Shannon White

A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words

A picture of a man taking a photo of a bear with his cell phone.

Image is everything. In PR, part of our job is to make sure branding and social presence are attractive and accurately represents who the client is. In my opinion, some of the most effective ways we do this is through the use of photos. As a kid, I always loved playing with my dad’s old digital cameras and trying to figure out how to make a picture look good. But what is good, exactly? I guess that depends on what it is you’re trying to do with the photo. How are you trying to make the viewer think or feel? What look are you going for?

Here are some things you may consider when choosing photos:

Subject:


Who or what is the focus of the photo? Is there a clear and definitive subject for viewers to identify? If so, then you’ve got this one down. If not, you might want to reconsider the photo. Having a clear subject helps direct viewer’s eyes to more important parts of the photo and what it is you’re trying to capture.

Tone:

How are you trying to present the photo? Are you looking for a photo that you want to be joyful and light-hearted? Are you looking for one that’s more serious? Well, that might vary depending on things like the emotion you want to provoke or where the photo is going to be used.

Aesthetics:

 

What look are you going for? Are you looking for more of a clean image or a dark grungy one? For example, the photo above might not work for someone who wants to have a more family friendly environment, but might be perfect for a local bar advertising their open mic nights.

Action:

A man yelling while playing guitar.

A man in a polaroid baseball cap playing the drums.

What’s happening in the photo? This can help tell a story, or help prevent a picture from coming off boring and flat. Capturing a moment where something interesting is going on can help get the attention of viewers online.

Once again, image is everything in public relations. Now that things have moved into a much more digital space, capturing that audience online can make or break your brand. Keeping these aspects of photos in mind while choosing images for social media, can help you ensure you’re choosing the correct photos to represent your client. This will help put forth a more captivating and memorable image that sparks the interests of target markets.  

By: Jessica Lewis

Photos by Jessica Lewis

 

 

Personal Success in PR: The Importance of Self Concept

Hidden flower in France

In business, the way you perceive and present yourself correlates directly with how others perceive you. Self-concept relates to how an individual regards their identity.

Self-concept is developed by both internal and external factors. Personality and personal background play a huge role on building one’s self-concept.

Many individuals may have a positive view of themselves whereas others may have a more negative view. Building up confidence to reach a positive view of yourself is crucial for ultimate success in business and personal relationships.

How can you strengthen personal confidence?

Start with developing a positive opinion of yourself through frequent uplifting thoughts. Focus on positive self-talk and an understanding of the importance of being uniquely you.

  1. Verbal communication is key. Speak clearly and confidently.
  2. Nonverbal communication is as important as verbal communication. Make a habit of practicing positive body language tactics. Make eye contact with others, standup straight and keep your head up when walking in a crowd.
  3. Spread kindness to other people. Random acts of kindness towards strangers can have a direct correlation with how you view yourself.
  4. Analyze your social media presence. Post content related to your interests and stuff that you are passionate about sharing. Before publishing content, think about how it makes you feel and how it may make others feel.

Making a habit of these tactics can help you reach more opportunities in business. Your attitude and confidence levels will strengthen by empowering how you view yourself. With increased confidence will increase your networking opportunities.

In any personal and business endeavors always remember that there is no one exactly like you and that is your super power.

By Kailey Gaffikin

Photo by Kailey Gaffikin

Three Ways Neil deGrasse Tyson is a Master Communicator

Neil deGrasse Tyson smiles at a talk at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Provided by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist that has been dedicated to science education and helping people understand his field of study. He has been in the public spotlight for decades, and he has been on television since 1989.  Since then, he has become well known through his television shows like StarTalk. He has also appeared on many talk shows and podcasts like “The Tonight Show” and “The Joe Rogan Experience.”

It is through these talk show appearances that I first became a fan of his.  At first, I was captured by his low baritone voice. There was something about it that was easy to listen to. I also found it easy to understand and pay attention to what he was saying.

I became a fan before I started to study communications. Now as I’m studying the subject, it is clear to me that he is great at communicating. Using Hubell Communications article “ 6 traits and tactics of a spokesperson“ explores the top three ways that he gets the everyday person interested in the science of space.  

  1.  Be knowledgeable and conversant

His master’s in astronomy takes care of the knowledgeable part. More importantly, Tyson strives to keep his language conversational and easy to understand.  Notice in the the following clip how well he tells the story of his first time on television.

 

He makes sure to define terms like plasma.  He describes in understandable terms what an explosion on the sun means.  He explains such terms all the while taking you back to the place and time of his story. He brings in the audience with little details like how he had to change quickly before the appearance.  

2. Be available and open

Tyson’s willingness to appear on different kinds of shows illustrates how approachable he wants science to be.  As would be expected, he often speaks to students like in the previous clip. He is also willing to talk to more general audiences like those he reaches on Stephen Colbert’s late-night show. On Colbert’s show, he successfully fights the stereotype of the stuffy scientist. He takes a jovial approach, telling jokes and wearing loud clothes.

His appearance on “Hot Ones” has been watched over nine million times. On “Hot Ones” the interview is conducted while the subject eats steadily spicier foods.  Other scientists in his field may feel that such an interview is beneath them, but since he is willing to do a goofy show like “Hot Ones” he has reached many people he may not have. In between bites of food, he still communicates his excitement towards astronomy and the need to fund space exploration.

 

3.  Be Genuine

This is where Tyson excels. His infectious enthusiasm for his subject is shown in many different ways.  On video you can see him look in wonder and hear his voice rise up and down with amazement. He doesn’t stand still while he is explaining a concept. He uses his arms and his eyes.  He does all these things to show how much he loves what he studies. I find it very easy to imagine him acting this way when the cameras are off just talking to fellow colleagues. His appearances never feels like a faked performance. It feels like an actual part of himself.  

I think that is the top of what you can achieve as a communicator. In this clip, host Stephen Colbert knows he only has to ask what in science Tyson is interested in to create a engaging moment. Tyson then takes Colbert’s audience on a journey that touches on scientific concepts like dark matter and reflections on the nature of human knowledge. In a short three minutes Tyson shows how he takes his excitement and makes you feel what he feels about science.

 

 

 

With these three traits, Tyson overcame a major challenge that faces many public relations professionals. Often, the subject that a public relations person must tell the public about is a subject that is obscure and boring at first glance.  A common question is how do I make this interesting? Astrophysics is a prime example of such a subject. Through his enthusiasm, his clear, easy to understand communication and his willingness to participate, Tyson makes the subject fun and interesting. He turns  a subject dense with science and math into a subject an audience can understand and want to learn more about.

By Martin Chang

Photo provided by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

My Journey to Public Relations

Picture of a teal typewriter on a wooden table with a cup of coffee, pens and stationary by it.

It was late June of 2003 when my life changed. I remember the day well. It was warm. The sun has just ascended to its zenith and my family was saying their goodbyes to old friends. Aside from the teary farewells, it felt like any other day. I certainly did not expect to part from the familiar vendors at local markets, the chaotic streets shared by motorcyclists and rickshaw drivers, the Mekong Delta that cuts through my little town, or my loved ones in Vietnam to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to an unknown world called America.

The first year in the states was rough. I didn’t know a single word, not even hello. I wanted to learn the foreign tongue to be able to tell the lunch lady I didn’t want the thawing peaches or gray grapes. I wanted to get a perfect score on spelling quizzes and reading assignments. I wanted to make good friends. I wanted to become a part of the new culture that I felt estranged to.

I remember spending every day forcing myself to read. I started with easy books like the “Junie B. Jones” series and Dr. Seuss. Eventually, I worked my way up to more difficult texts like “The Magic Treehouse” and “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” The drive that I developed from familiarizing myself with English led to my love of literature and rhetoric. I learned the value of language. It paved my way to majoring in journalism with an interest in public relations and minoring in creative writing.

I chose public relations because I loved to tell stories. An admiration for storytelling is crucial in the public relations and journalism field. Public relations practitioners must translate a client’s core message to a public, in other words, telling the client’s narrative. My background in learning a new language and the skill set I gathered from creative writing help me succeed in public relations and being an editor for Tehama Group Communications.

If you share this appreciation and deep-rooted interest for language and capturing a narrative, then give the field of public relations a consideration. Ever since I’ve been a part of the Tehama Group Communications team, my writing skills has improved and my love for language has grown to new heights.

By: Kim Nguyen

Image provided by Pexles

The Key to a Stress-Free Life

Sitting back and relaxing with feet up on the desk.

Stress, we all get it, but where does it derive from? It can be caused by multiple things such as having a lot on your plate, meeting deadlines, or even having to resolve a problem. Regardless of what is causing you to stress, I will give you a tip that has helped me deal with stress during the last five years of my life.

 

Before I get to that, let me give you a small glimpse of the type of stress I was facing.

 

I transferred to Chico State from a community college in San Diego. I dealt with the most amount of stress during my final year. I was working 40 hours a week for a deadline-oriented market research firm. I was the scheduler in charge of meeting weekly deadlines for my two assigned states. I was also the team lead of my department which meant I had to help my team members meet their deadlines. At the same time, I was dealing with transfer applications while taking 15 units of classes. Somehow, I managed.

 

How did I do it? I scheduled an hour a day to do something I enjoyed. Everyone has that one thing we look forward to doing, that thing that lets us disconnect from the present and gives us peace of mind. In my case, that was playing video games. I realized that regardless of how stressed I was feeling I always felt much better and re-energized after disconnecting for a bit.

 

The key to being stress free isn’t video games. It’s finding that one thing that gives you freedom, makes you forget all your problems and allows you take a break and breath. My tip to you is, find that thing you look forward to doing and make time for it. It could be running, reading, cooking or even hanging out with friends. Whatever it may be, make time for it. Your deadlines won’t go away, but you will feel energized and relieved, giving you enough strength to tackle anything.

 

Public relations can be a stress heavy field, or so I’ve been told. But, I look forward to developing my career in an industry involving crisis communications. I like being challenged and being pushed to do my best. As long as I have gaming or something that can help me relieve stress, I welcome any challenge that comes my way.

 By: Alma Garcia 

Photo by: StartupStockPhotos

Five Signs You’re Destined to be a Designer

Photo of teacup, sketch tablet, and candle on desk

Starting college three years ago, I had a few very different ideas for the major I wanted to declare. I knew (or thought) I wanted to either be a nutritionist, psychologist, or dentist, none of which have anything to do with the major I am currently finishing my degree in today. As an 18 year old in my first year away from home I was confused and intimidated about the idea of having to pick a major that I would be doing for the rest of my life. I knew I wanted to make money and be happy, but didn’t know exactly what that meant yet. Now, three years later I am finishing my last few classes towards my bachelors degree in Graphic Design. I’ve learned a lot about who I am and what makes me a designer at heart, and there have been a few defining moments where a lightbulb went off in my head that insisted “you should be a designer!” These realizations led me to choosing Graphic Design and realizing that the little things that make me who I am were clues to what profession fit me and would maybe even make me money someday too. The following five tips led me to not only choosing design but realizing that design was a part of me. If you can relate to these in your own life, you may very well be destined to be a Graphic Designer.

 

1.You’re a people pleaser

I learned while meeting new people in college that I am a people pleaser, but in a good way. I like to solve people’s problems and am constantly communicating everywhere I go. Making others happy makes me happy. As a graphic designer I have found a passion for taking someone’s vision and making it come to life through design. I love watching a client’s face come to life when I present them with a final version of their ideas.

 

  1. You speak the language of color

Everywhere I go, I notice color. Designers don’t only see the color blue, they see sapphire, teal, turquoise, and navy. Even the smallest difference in shades of color catch a designer’s eye. I am constantly noticing good color palettes, clashing ones, and ones I want to use on my next project.

 

  1. You have a packaging radar

Ever since I was old enough to go shopping I have been judging products by their packaging. I often buy things just because of uniquely designed packages. I even have a few empty bottles of wine in my kitchen that I refuse to throw away solely because I love the labels. Designers have an eye for what catches attention and sells a product, and what screams bad design. I’ve always believed that packaging is more than just wrapping a product, it’s about first impressions and getting a sneak peak to what’s inside.

 

  1. You’re a typography snob

From poster headings to body text in a book, typography is the character of any message. To the average person, a font is just a letter on a page, but to a designer, each font tells a story and has a voice. I remember visiting restaurants and scanning the menu, noticing an alarmingly weird typography choice while everyone else was deciding what to order. Graphic Designers know that typeface choices are vital to a design’s message and sometimes say more than the actual words on the page. If you spend a copious amount of time picking the perfect typeface, it’s a true sign you think like a graphic designer.

 

  1.  You don’t have a taste for sugar coating

Ever since grade school, I’ve been intrigued by feedback. I’ve always had a way of taking constructive criticism and using it to my advantage. I always ask for people’s honest opinions on everything I do. Any feedback is one step closer to the solution. As a designer, you have to have tough skin when listening to someone else’s critique about a logo you just spent ten hours perfecting. To me, I never saw sugar coated criticism as anything but a waste of time. In order to grow and evolve a design, you have to accept that there may be a draft eight or nine in your future, but if you are excited and willing to re-do and revise, you think like a graphic designer!

By: Paige Hough

Photo by Paige Hough

Five Ways to Keep the Creative Juices Flowing

Graphic of glasses of juice

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH – As a designer no good comes of “just wingin it” you need to know your audience, know your narrative, and proceed accordingly! Designs are FUN but if you’re the only one who knows what is going on, you leave your audience confused and quick to forget you…

2.REVISE UNTIL THE SUN COMES DOWN – You almost never nail it on the first try… Change it up, give into that little voice saying throw that text into that hang line. Save each revised version, and continue to revise with fresh eyes!

3.SUNSHINE IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL & CREATIVITY
– Like a bad relationship or tempting sale, learn to walk away. Take a break and recharge your creative juices with a stroll in the park, or even something as simple as a screen detox. Come back rested and ready to kick some design butt.

4.SELF DOUBT DOES NOT LIVE HERE – In todays world of constant comparison this can really hinder design freedom. Compare and contrast in moderation, but be con dent in your vision, always.

5.SELL YOUR STORY – Every element in your design has a purpose, design execution is a difficult and re ned skill, sell us on your work by appealing to our emotions as well as our intellectual and intuitive instincts. 

By: Kelsey Veith

Photo by Kelsey Veith

From Student to Change Agent

Jae Siqueiros standing in front of a Chico State sign in 2018

I first walked onto this campus in 2016 as a transfer student from San Jose State who wanted to study journalism. This, though, however was just a vague explanation that I would tell all the new people around me.

 

In 2016, I couldn’t tell you that I was a first generation college student, queer, transgender, person of color.

 

Living authentically in my identity was put on the back burner until I could feel safe in my new environment. In 2017, we saw the most violent and deadly year for transgender people with 28 deaths, a majority being black trans women people of color. I needed a sense of security before I could open up and share my experiences with the people around me.

 

Now, I’m 10 weeks away from walking the graduation stage. I’m THIS close to being the proud parent of a journalism degree with a focus in public relations and a minor in photography.

 

Through my public relations classes, I have learned ways to amplify the voices of marginalized communities, like my own. I fought and rose through my classes with a fire for success. Now, I have the privilege of writing to you as the social media director for the highly competitive, Tehama Group Communications.

 

I can now reflect on my experience and see how much I have grown within my own identity. I’ve become, what I would consider, a successful student and I’m on my way to being a change agent.

 

I like the Metropolitan Group’s concept of a change agent and the power of voice:

“Voice is a critical catalyst for social change.”

 

I strive to be a change agent. I want to use my skills, voice and power to help empower marginalized communities and their members.

 

As I move that tassel from right to left, I will hunt to find my place in the public relations field where I can make a direct difference to the people I wish to serve.

by Jae Siqueiros

Photos by Jae Siqueiros

Jae Siqueiros standing in front of a Chico State sign in 2016Jae Siqueiros standing in front of a Chico State sign in 2018