5 Tips on How to Be a Productive Team Member

Picture of a man making a presentation around a table.

Public relations is all about knowing how to work effectively on a team. Knowing how to communicate and collaborate with other people is a critical life skill that every great PR professional has mastered.

As a fourth-year marketing and public relations student at Chico State, I’ve had my fair share of group projects. Every business class I’m taking this semester is centered around executing a group presentation. I’m on four different teams for my various classes and I feel like I’m getting really valuable experience that I can use in the workforce after I graduate. After a few years of group work, I have a pretty good understanding of what characteristics make a great team member. I’ve come up with a few tips that I found are essential to being a team member that everybody enjoys working with.

1.Be flexible

When working on a team, especially in a class setting, it’s usually necessary to meet outside of class in order to prepare for a presentation or work on content. There will be times where you’ll need to work around your team members’ schedules in order to make things work.
2. Stay Positive

Staying positive in group settings is crucial, especially in situations that become challenging. Positive teams are more productive and positive team members inspire others to do their best.

3. Be reliable

If you say you’re going to do something, follow through with it. You want people to be able to count on you to do your work on time and to the best of your ability.

4. Communicate effectively

Communication is everything when it comes to teamwork. It’s so important to be transparent with your group members and the only way that you can execute and idea is through proper communication.

5. Be respectful

Nobody wants to work with somebody that shuts down ideas or is disrespectful. When working on a team, make sure that you’re self-aware and also be supportive to other team members.

 

In marketing and public relations, the work that is done is almost always produced and edited by a multitude of different people. Collaboration and communication are key when it comes to being successful in these two fields. Knowing how to work effectively and efficiently on a team is imperative for anybody wanting to work in the public relations world.

By: Adriana Sikiric

photo provided by Pexels

 

Five Tips to a Better LinkedIn Profile Picture Using a DSLR Camera

Professional portrait of a student with an environmental background. Attribution: Portrait taken by Jasmine Garcia.

 

Making a good first impression is important, especially through a platform where your profile picture is the first thing recruiters look at.

Taking a great professional picture takes more than simply looking the part; it’s the photography techniques that improve your picture and can make you stand out amongst others. Learn how to upgrade your LinkedIn profile picture with these five simple tips:


By Jasmine Garcia

 

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

 

 

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

Why are Photographers so Expensive?

Camera in hand with golden light at the beginning of a walkway

I am writing this as a photographer and a public relations executive. I have seen how photographers can make a huge impact in PR campaigns, but I also know that good quality photos don’t come at a low cost.

 

Public relations firms use photographers in order to enhance company image. Unfortunately, this is not always affordable. Hiring a photographer can be a huge investment. Many people think, “What?! But they’re just taking photos with a nice camera! I could do that.”

 

Photographers are expensive for many reasons. They are business owners and owning a business does not come at a low price. As business owners, photographers must obtain the necessary licenses that are purchased and renewed once a year.

 

The most important thing that a photographer could do is to get their name out there and doing so can be costly. This can be done using a variety of mediums: Google Ads, business cards, a website, etc.,and all of which cost money at one time or another.

 

Photographers must also have many official documents, for they are essential in order to communicate clear messages to clients in a professional way. Creating these documents is very time consuming, yet important because photographers need both customized and personalized contracts, receipts, timelines, etc., which represent how they want to do business. Creating these documents allows photographers to use and send them to their clients, depending on the need of the client.

 

In order for photographers to be successful, they must stay sharp and up to date on their knowledge of the business. It is important to take classes in order to learn about both photography and being a business owner. This is very time consuming, but it is important to be prepared for all situations.

 

Photographers have to obtain quality camera equipment such as camera bodies, lenses, storage for the equipment, storage for all memory and props for indoor and outdoor sessions.

All good things must come to an end. Technology does fail, so costly replacements or repairs may be necessary.

 

Photographers must know how to make their clients feel comfortable while also remembering every pose to give them. Good photographers tend to give constant compliments and affirmations that their clients are doing great. They must do this while also making sure their camera settings create the best amount of background blur while making sure the subject is still sharp. The settings must be tweaked every time the photographer moves in order to match the light that is entering the camera. The photographer must also make sure that the photo does not look too warm or too cold. Then, the photographer must make sure that they are getting a variety of shots. This entails wide, medium and close shots of subject(s).

 

Many people think that photographers are paid for the amount of hours that they are on-site taking photos. They do not see the outside hours that go into the beautiful photos selected. Editing entails four main steps:

 

  1. Backing up photos. This involves putting photos on different storage devices to ensure that they can not disappear.
  2. Culling. Culling is the process of picking the best photos. This can take some time comparing and contrasting different parts of the photo that make it good versus great.
  3. Editing collectively. This means that the photographer adds as edit style to place on all of the photos to make sure they have the same look.
  4. Editing individually. This entails going through each photo and adjusting settings specifically to flatter that photo. (cropping, straightening, brightening, etc)

Christa Boynton holding camera to her eye in orchard

Although, photographers spend a lot of time taking photos and editing, they spend a large chunk of their time:

  • Learning about technique
  • Updating their online portfolio
  • Updating their social media presence
  • Conducting client meetings
  • Replying to inquiries
  • Creating documents
  • Developing their brand
  • Creating packages

In reality, photographers earn a lot less than the dollar sign that they charge due to the amount of investments and hours they put in.

By: Christa Boynton

Featured image provided by Maider Izeta on The Adventure Junkies

Second image provided by Christa Boynton, taken by Tiffany Rivas

Social Media Best Practices

Collage of smaller pictures that contain coffee, the back of a woman's blue curled hair photos and the road

Social media is invaluable to organizations these days. Posting on Instagram and Facebook are ways to reach audiences of all ages. People are frequently visiting social media platforms on their phones and this gives organizations an opportunity to advertise. It is an excellent opportunity for organizations to stay relevant to their publics. Constantly posting updates, information and photos is a way to reinforce your presence.

 

Here are a few steps to a great social media feed:

Step 1: Be entertaining but not over the top.

Step 2: Inspire your audience to talk, engage and converse.

Step 3: Provide your audience with information that is useful to them.

 

How to accomplish those tasks:

 

  1. Choose a theme and stick with it. Many companies center their content around certain colors or styles of posts. Try to keep your photo quality, colors, styles and content consistent. This allows followers to recognize your brand easily.

 

  1. Use relevant hashtags to make your content discoverable.

 

  • #MotivationMondays #MeetmeMonday
  • #TransformationTuesday #TipTuesday
  • #WisdomWednesday #WellnessWednesday
  • #ThrowbackThursday #ThankfulThursday
  • #FridayFunday #FeelGoodFriday #FlashbackFriday
  • #SaturdayShenanigans #ShoutoutSaturday
  • #SundayFunday #SelfieSunday

Use day-of-the-week hashtags because it gives the company a reason or excuse to post a photo. This draws attention to your company or your cause.

 

  1. Show followers behind-the-scenes footage of the company work atmosphere. This allows followers to feel as though they are close to the company because they get an inside scoop.

 

  1. Keep captions short. Posting interactive captions will engage the audience and get them involved, getting them to feel like they know the company. This can bring people into the cause. Keeping captions short also makes it easier for people to read the whole thing.

 

  1. Post highly visual images. Highly visual photos gain the most traction. Look for photos that are appealing to look and attention grabbing. These types of photos encourage viewers to stop scrolling and check out your posts.
  2. Engage with followers by liking, commenting and responding! This benefits both followers and the company because it is a way to partner and get the brand or name out there, thus expanding the audience.

 

  1. Avoid:
  • Trendy Slang (Bae, On fleek): Trendy slang is unprofessional and makes it appear like you are trying too hard to be cool. Additionally, not everyone will know what it means, ultimately minimizing your reach.
  • Posting too often. Aim to post two to three times a week. Posting too often can cause users to grow weary of the overflow of content.

 

Written by Christa Boyton

5 Ways to Stay Out of Trouble on Social Media

You know this scenario all too well.

You are scrolling through your camera roll on Sunday morning and find photos from last night of you with your roommates at the bars. You think you have found a photo that is totally insta-worthy. That is when you should stop, drop and ask yourself, “Is this acceptable to post on social media?” Here are some guidelines to consider.

  • Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your future employer to see.

You are sadly mistaken if you think employers read your application and resume and leave it at that. Social media is not a full representation of who a person is. However, when employers are sifting through hundreds of applications, it is something that puts a face and personality to your application. Make sure you take advantage of your online persona and craft it into someone that people will be pining to hire. Or, risk employers moving on to the next applicant because your online image is unprofessional and sloppy.

  • Privacy online is a myth.

You might think you are safe if you have your accounts on private, but there is always a mutual friend who can show someone of importance your posts on social media. Screenshots exist. You should assume the worst when posting something risky on social media, whether it is a photo on Instagram or a tweet.

  • Keep it neutral.

It should go without saying, but you should not post vulgar language or insensitive viewpoints on social media. You are entitled to your opinions. Just be ready to own up to the consequences for posting politically heated views or language that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to hear you say.

  • If you hate your job, complain to your friends in person. Don’t blast it on social media.

First of all, your current employer could see it and fire you. You might not care about it at the time, but think about how it could affect you when you are looking for a new, better job. If other employers see you complaining freely and publicly, they might not think you are the right person for their company. Who is to say you won’t start bad mouthing them once you get the job?

  • Showcase your personality.

Professional social media profiles shouldn’t lack personality. Just because you are refraining from posting unprofessional content doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share photos from your life or let your humor seep into your captions. Your social channels should leave a good first impression. Keep them clean, but make sure to make them interesting. Most importantly, make them reflect who you are and what you stand for.

Written by: Victoria Agius

Avoid Typographic Disaster – A Guide to Use Typography And Organize Presentations

 

As we all probably know now, the 2017 Academy Awards had the biggest screw-up in its 88-year history. When Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced the nominee for the wrong category of award, they were just as confused as we were. They were given the Best Actress envelope when they were supposed to announce for the Best Picture. What is the cause of this disaster? ­

Typography.

On the nominating card, very small fonts are used on the award name and large bolded fonts are used on the nominee’s name. Warren could not read the it and a typographic disaster is created.

Typography is a study in process of making typefaces. Typeface is often called “font,” but this is a common misconception. A typeface is a series of fonts that make a font family. Font is just one character style that belongs to a typeface. Within the typeface, there are fonts with various weights and styles. Understanding what typeface, you are using and how to use them can enhance the attractiveness of your presentation.

I will guide you through what I have found about using typefaces in a presentation.

 

  1. Legibility

Legibility means being clear enough to read. It is an important aspect in using typography. This is most likely the first thing that you learned when you just start to write in elementary school. All alphabets have its specific written style. If we use a typeface that has too much decorative parts in a presentation (like a script typeface), it might create reading problems for your audience. Avoiding script and decorative typefaces can make your presentation look clean and easy to read for your audience.

 

  1. Using matching typefaces

Typefaces are designed to be used in various places, like paper documents, websites and presentations, but different typefaces can also work together to make your message clear in a presentation. A serif typeface like Times New Roman is normally good for smaller text but it would not work well for a title or heading because its long serif can be distractive. San serif typefaces like Helvetica are great for large texts but would look boring for smaller text. Sometimes you can mix and match serif and san serif typeface in one slide of a presentation.

 

  1. Focusing on function rather than form

When it comes to what typeface to choose, we often try to choose more complicated typefaces with unique forms. It might be interesting for a slide but most of time it only makes your audience more confused. A better way to find what typeface to use is to understand your content. For example, if you are doing a slide related to history, serif typeface can fit to the theme very well.  Try not to use typefaces that have complicated visual effects. If you really want visual effect, take a consideration of the legibility of that typeface.

 

  1. Over emphasizing

Sometimes we tend to emphasize too much on one point of a slideshow. Instead of a short phrase, people tend to write a crowded paragraph, which reduces readability of a slide. It causes people to squint their eyes and lose focus on the speaker. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t emphasize anything. Sometimes certain content requires different level of emphasis.

 

  1. Creating hierarchy

Spending time on prioritize what is important content can help you categorize your points. Then lay out what is most important from secondary important. This also helps us to figure out how many words you will have on your slide. The goal is to eliminate unnecessary words and make the presentation cleaner.

At the end of the day, your presentation has to be simple and clear. The purpose of having a demonstrative piece is to help others to understand and organize knowledge. If a slideshow confuses people, it will defeat the purpose of having a slide show altogether. 2017 Academy Awards could be a lot more successful if the card designer of the event care about typography and organization in any form of visual communication.

5 Tips On How To Snap The Best Pic

In photography composition is key. Placing your subject, using certain colors, and picking the right background helps your picture look the most professional it can be. The subject of your photo is the most important part to make clear and draw the audience’s attention to. Because the subject is the reason you are taking the picture, it should clearly be in focus. Here are some tips on how to lead your audience’s eye to the subject and make your picture stand out among the rest.

Tip # 1
Leading Lines: Use lines to lead to your subject, a specific part of the frame, or a vanishing point in the background of the frame. People’s eyes naturally like to follow lines.

Tip # 2
Rule of thirds: Divide your frame into two horizontal lines and two vertical lines equally. The important elements in your picture should be placed along one of those lines instead of in the center of the picture. An off-center picture is more pleasing to the eye.

Tip # 3
Complementary colors: Every color has an opposite on the color wheel that compliments it the best and has the strongest contrast when put next to each other. Use colors that compliment each other and make the other color stand out. For example, red is the complementary color and opposite of green.

Tip # 4
Framing: When placing your subject in a photo, proper framing can really make your subject stand out. Using structures, windows, door frames, light etc. to crop around your subject work well to guide the viewer’s eye toward the subject.

Tip # 5
Rule of Odds: Always use an odd number of subjects when working with more than one subject. This gives the picture more harmony and balance visually.

Your composition can make or break your photo,so next time you are about to snap a picture keep these compositional tips in mind. Play around with these tips and watch your photography skills grow! Happy snapping!