Let’s Talk Professional Communication!

Up Your Email Game Today!

By Skylar Trostinsky

If you’ve ever met me in person, you know I have quite the personality. It’s much easier for me (and many other professionals) to talk with someone face-to-face. This way we can effectively spread information, view body language, and make connections! Alas, this now virtual world has been inundated with digital communication and that means we must learn how to be professional in person and through text, too. 

Communicating with an agency, client or representative can be a daunting task. Do you keep it dim and straight to the point? Or do you add a bit of flare and personality? I mean, you want to express who you are, especially when you work in public relations, right? With a semester of email chains, project delegation and more under my belt, I have learned a few tips and tricks for communicating online. 

  1. Set Goals for Emails 

Staying organized is key to receiving useful documents and information. Before typing emails to agencies, clients or coworkers it’s important to set goals within the communication chain. That person is just as busy as you, so do them and yourself a favor by creating an outline of who you are writing to, what you need from the recipient and what you want them to respond with.

  1. Use Your Subject Line!

When considering the workload your recipient may be dealing with, it’s imperative to use brief, catchy subjects that include keywords. With this, your reader will know exactly what to expect when clicking on your email or maybe even be tempted to respond. 

  1. Be Clear and Concise 

Avoid using an excessive amount of words in emails, especially when providing instructions. Separate thoughts, questions and suggestions with paragraph breaks, bullet points, etc. to highlight information. This also allows recipients to quickly skim through text and find their to-do’s! 

Utilize appropriate punctuation and refrain from using ALL CAPS. Although it’s OK to bold and capitalize some notes, you never want the addressee to feel like you are shouting at them. 

  1. Be Polite and Be Yourself 

Here comes the question of whether personality is necessary, or appropriate, in an email chain. Although clarity and conciseness are imperative aspects to communication, you should never hide your character from anyone! It’s just critical that you remain professional and consistent with a soft, inviting tone. Check out READCITY’s “5 Clever Ways To Give Your Business Emails Personality” for more tips.

  1. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!

As a PR professional, one of the worst things you can do when communicating with other experts is to send emails without reading them over. Typos may send negative messages about you or your organization and generally come off as unprofessional. 

A way to make sure your emails are grammatically correct and have been spell checked is by writing them in a separate document first. Doing this has helped me draft numerous messages, with different formats to ultimately choose which version will best convey my points. 

“Although clarity and conciseness are imperative aspects to communication, you should never hide your character from anyone! It’s just critical that you remain professional and consistent with a soft, inviting tone.”

-Skylar Trostinsky

Professional communication doesn’t end in email chains! Further your credibility, express yourself and improve relationships by taking skills such as goal setting, clarity and politeness to group and one-on-one meetings. Email away!

Resources: 

Tips For Professional Emails

Effective Email Communication In The Workplace

How To Photograph For An Interview

By Thalia Avila

Great news! You just finished an interview, but now you need to add a photo to complete the story. Snapping a great photograph of a subject can seem intimidating at first, but fear no more. I hope that after reading this blog, your confidence will boost and intimidation will no longer be a factor.

Before you begin the photo session, start out with an email. Remember, email etiquette is important and needs to have a professional tone, clear wording with direct questions. The next step will be to set a date for the interview. After finishing up the interview, make sure to spend five minutes at the end to set a time and location for the photo session. 

If the subject is being photographed outside, the element of time is your best friend! Make sure to schedule the session in the early morning or evening to get the best lighting possible. As the subject is being photographed, make sure to keep the conversation comfortable and flowing. Ask your subject about their hobbies and interests. If their kids are brought up in the conversation and they smile, keep them talking! Observe how your subject reacts when asked how they feel about coming home to their dog or cat later. Always be mindful of the subject of the story. Integrate humor if it is appropriate, and always create a welcoming environment for your subject. 

Be mindful of your subject’s time and schedule. Photo sessions should only last about 30 minutes. Within the 30 minute window, you will want to capture as many different angles and positions possible. Do not hesitate to ask your subject to move to another bench or place in order to get the best landscape in the background or lighting. To wrap things up, make sure to thank them for their time.

Always follow up immediately after your session.  Start to sort through the photos right away to immediately eliminate the bad ones. Narrow it down to 10 photos and then five.  Once you have five great photos, make sure to send them to your subject. Sometimes the subject will pick two or three photos they are stuck with and will let you decide from those. Lightly edit the photo of their choosing if they have any concerns, and then share the final product to confirm.

Lastly, remember photographs are an important part of the story. Getting a great photo of the subject can help the story speak louder. What is an interview without a great photograph?

Overview of key tactics:

  • Email etiquette with professional tone, clear wording, and direct questions
  • Set a date for the interview
  • Lighting is everything
  • Create a comfortable and fun environment
  • Be mindful of their time and schedule
  • Keep it to 30 minutes
  • Play around with different angles and positions
  • Pick 5-10 photos
  • Follow up after the session
  • Narrow it down to five photos
  • Share final product for confirmation

Preparing For Your Job Interview: Tips And Tricks

By Trenton Taylor

It’s about that time. The school year is wrapping up and college seniors are receiving their tickets to go find real-world jobs. Those tickets are also known as their college diplomas. As we begin to see the slow decline in COVID-19 cases and the increased distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, it is becoming time to bring employees back to the office or to their field, and get things back to normal again. Below I have listed some tips and tricks that will help you ace those intense job interviews, and give you the competitive edge to get that job you have always dreamed of.

Do Your Homework

While finding the right job title is important, finding the right company to have that title under is even more important. Researching the company that you are interviewing will not only get you to understand what you are walking into, but it will also set you apart from anyone else who might be wanting that job. Taking the time to gather information and figure out what ways specifically you can help them sets a wonderful impression on employers or hiring managers.

Interviews are a two-way street

During a job interview, you are trying to learn about the company just as much as they are trying to learn about you. Employers want to see that you are taking the interview seriously and that you are thinking about what the aspects of working there look like. This article on The Balance Careers offers some thoughtful questions that one might ask during an interview:

  • What are some of the challenges facing the company?
  • Where do you see the company in 5 to 10 years?
  • What does success mean to you and this company?
  • What have previous employees in this position gone on to do?
  • I believe I’m a great fit for this company. Is there anything else I can do to dispel any doubts?

These are just a few of the questions that can set you apart from other candidates.

Practice for the cliche questions

At almost any interview that you go to, employers will ask you some of the basic interview questions that help just about anybody get a basic understanding of yourself. These questions include (but are not limited to) asking about your strengths/weaknesses, describing your work style or work ethic, if you work well with others, what sets you apart from the competition, or even the famous “tell me a little about yourself.” Preparing yourself to respond to these questions with talking points that you might have is a good way to boost your confidence before and even during the interview. The key is to not sound rehearsed but to sound confident.

The end of an interview is just as important as during the interview

Following up after the interview is very important to leave things on a good note. When the interview is over, asking your interviewer or hiring manager about the next steps or what to expect will allow you to be prepared for anything you might have to do on your end, such as setting up for a future interview. Another good thing to do is to send follow-up emails to those who interviewed you thanking them for their time while reviewing specific points from the interview. This sets a good work ethic example and shows that you were taking it seriously. Asking for business cards at the end is a good way to get that contact information.

How to Succeed In Your Job Interview

How to hook the interviewer even if your resume isn’t as strong as other candidates.

Photo by Christina Morillo from pexels

By: Mikaela Bautista

So you have an interview tomorrow and you’re kind of freaking out right now aren’t you? It’s okay, every professional, student, you name it, has had that dreadful feeling of nervousness taking over the night before a big interview is supposed to happen. You start ripping apart your closet because you can’t find that one perfect shirt, or you can’t sleep because your mind is going a mile a minute thinking about all the things that could go wrong. Well I’m going to have to stop you right there. You can succeed in your interview if you follow these tips.

Continue reading “How to Succeed In Your Job Interview”

How To Get The Right One To Notice You

Keep your subject line short and sweet to catch and keep any reporter’s interest

Photo from Pixabay

By: Sydney Oliva

Pitches can be a tricky thing to tackle. It can cloud the brain to try and figure out the right words to capture someone’s attention, but don’t overthink it. The key to success is simple: keep it short and sweet. Reporters are constantly bombarded with emails. If the subject line happens to catch their attention, the last thing they want to do is read a pitch that’s too wordy. You want to make them want more. Keep your pitch a few sentences long. Give them enough to be interested, then they’ll come to you looking for more. Here’s how to write and attention grabbing pitch.

Continue reading “How To Get The Right One To Notice You”

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.

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.  

5 Tips to Ace Your Interview

A planner with a pink stick note of helpful tips for an interview and a flashcard on top that reads "Interview"
  1. Be confident

The saying “fake it until you make it” holds a high level of truth to it, especially for interviews. It is okay to not be confident internally. As long as you portray confidence externally you are set.

Giving off the illusion of confidence is all about body language. A strong handshake, a smile and good posture are three things that create the image of confidence. Also, be mindful of your body language. Make sure that you are not fiddling with your hair or playing with your clothes because this makes you come across as nervous.

If you want to be confident both on the inside and outside, give positive thinking a chance. Remind yourself of the successes in your life, this will help you feel more confident on the inside and that will show on the outside.

  1. Dress professional

I always wondered what to wear to interviews. Should I dress business professional, business casual or simply casual? There are two answers to this question.

First, dressing business professional is the safest bet. Looking your best can also increase your confidence level, while showing professionalism. Dressing up may also set you apart from other applicants.

Second, the dress code depends on the company and type of job. When I was applying for a retail position, I dressed in a white T-shirt, jeans and Converse. I knew the company’s brand which was keeping things casual and fun. I arrived at the interview dressed casual because I researched the company and what they were looking for in their employees. Note, this only applies to a slim number of companies and positions. For instance, if you were to apply for a public relations job, it is better to dress business professional.

  1. Prepare

(Image of planner and checklist for upcoming interview)

Being prepared for interviews shows the interviewer you care. Some ways you can prepare for interviews is to: practice answering typical questions, bring extra copies of your résumé and do your research. Before the interview, research the industry, company and position. This will help you answer any unexpected questions. For example, if I were to apply for a video game company as a public relations professional, I’d research the companies past public relations campaigns for their popular games.

  1. Ask questions

Try to ask at least two questions at the end of the interview. This will show the interviewer you were attentive and focused during the interview. If you don’t ask questions, it will be a missed opportunity to impress your interviewer.

  1. Practice

To ensure that your interviewer clearly understands your talking points, practice your lines beforehand. Read through your résumé and practice expanding on the points in your résumé. A lot of the time, interviewers tend to ask questions relating to your résumé. For instance, if you put that you had experience in a collegiate speech and debate team, the interviewer might ask about speech and debate. When you answer such questions, try to incorporate the skills you’ve learned from the experience.

At the end of the day, relax. As long as you’re prepared and confident, your chances of making a good impression are high. I hope you find these five tips as helpful as I did. Good luck.

 

By: Kim Cuong Nguyen