Category Archives: Topics of the Week

A whole lot of knowledge

Being in a Public Relations Applications course this semester has broadened my (very small) knowledge on PR topics. I have learned so much that it is definitely worth sharing. Here is what I learned (plus so much more):

1. WordPressI had never blogged before in my life until this class and I learned to love it. I read PR pro’s blogs and have found it’s a great way to stay connected, not only socially, but professionally.

2. TwitterI’m just now getting the hang of it. #honest

3. InterviewBeing prepared for your interview is vital. Knowing what questions to ask or how to answer the hard ones can be life-changing, literally.

4. Writing is so importantNo matter what field I go into, writing is such an important talent to grasp.

5. Professionalism online – It’s okay to have spunk and personality if you’re a president of a business and have a Twitter, but keep everything “appropriate.”

6. Importance of being socially connectedNot being connected socially whether through Twitter, Facebook or any other form of network, can be company suicide. 

7. Put yourself out thereDon’t be afraid to tweet a PR professional or interact with others you may not know. Who knows when a connection may last and a job presents itself.

8. Handling a crisisIf something goes wrong publicly in a company you represent, don’t ignore the problem, address it publicly and handle the issue.

9. Education in PRAll types of education institutions have PR departments too and actually play a huge role in development, especially in nonprofit organizations.

10. Dealing with Difficult ConversationsFrom the NewsU course I completed, I learned all about handling a difficult conversation even when the stakes are super high.

This class was one of my favorites this semester and I learned a lot and everything I learned wasn’t just information that I store for later use like a formula, but was useful and applicable to everyday life. This list stopped at 10, but it could literally go on and on.

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Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Topics of the Week


Education in PR

Image Credit: "Smile at a Stranger" by Nina Matthews Photography.

For the Public Relations class I am taking I will be giving a presentation on a chapter from our textbook, Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics. The chapter I will be covering in my presentation is Chapter 21 on Education. Basically, the chapter covers public relation and its development at educational institutions of all stages including elementary, secondary, college, and universities.

In the section of the presentation I covered was about education dealing with a wide range of other nonprofit organizations. Here’s what I learned:

  • These are some examples of nonprofit organizations involved in education: foundations, nontraditional schools, communities, and membership organizations.
  • A major public relation role in a nonprofit organization is helping fund-raise money, by getting other people, like the public, in-the-know and involved. According to the textbook, many nonprofits in the educational sector constantly struggle to meet operating expenses and this is where PR can come in and help raise awareness.
  • The pay scale for employees of nonprofit organizations devoted to education is significantly lower than for public relations professionals in the corporate world.
  • Having a nonprofit foundation devoted to education serves the public relations purpose of showing that corporations are good citizens.
  • Big companies try to help out in ways they can. Companies such as Procter & Gamble, Toyota Motors, and Starbucks recently have initiated programs to send executives on “externships” to work with students and schools.

So, I was surprised to hear about big companies stepping in to be active. I think that is so considerate and helpful. I mean if you have the resources, why not use them, right? To sum up the chapter in a nut shell, basically organizations, especially nonprofit organizations, depend on public relations professionals for their success.

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Posted by on April 11, 2011 in Topics of the Week


Dealing with Difficult Conversations

Image Credit: "Noooooooooo" by Pollobarba.

As one of the NewsU courses I was required to take, Dealing with Difficult Conversations was one of them and the one that I found most helpful.  I am a business management major and I know that I will need experience and knowledge on how to have difficult conversations in my profession. I have taken a few other courses from NewsU and this one was my favorite.

First off, the course gives a self-assessment to show how you deal with conflict, which is helpful.  The course says that knowing how you deal with conflict is the first step on being prepared to deal with a problem or serious situation.

The course listed and discussed 6 Steps that the course related to walking on a ‘tight rope’ on how to deal with a difficult conversation.

1. Prepare: Recognize how serious the conversation is and have a goal in mind. Plan out the best time and place to have the discussion.

2. Stepping Out: Have a plan on how to approach the issue. Remember body language when having the conversation can be crucial.

3. Balance Pole: Be balanced during the conversation; if they become angry don’t let them rock your attitude or behavior. Demonstrate emotional intelligence.

4. Safety Net: Be aware of rights and responsibilities of yourself and the other person. It may be a good idea to involve Human Resources, another employee, or even your superior during the conversation to ensure accountability.

5. Wrapping Up: Know when and how to end the conversation. It is a good time to end the conversation when you think the person understood the point you are trying to get across, your goals are met, and everyone had a chance to speak. The right way to end a conversation would be by recapping what you discussed and set up the next actions that need to take place.

6. Follow Up: Check up on the process and progress of the issue.  Complete any paperwork that needs to be documented about the conversation that took place and make it a point to make a personal connection with that person. Let him/her know you have moved past the problem.

No matter what takes places during your usual day or in your job, hard conversations will present themselves. The best way to face these problems are being prepared before they even happen. I found this course very applicable to everyone and very helpful – hopefully you will too!

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Posted by on April 5, 2011 in Topics of the Week


Interview with Martin Waxman

Image Credit: "Microphone" by hiddedevries.

After watching an interview with Martin Waxman via screencast, I can say I got an inside-look at a PR professional. As president and co-founder of Palette Public Relations, Inc., he was able to share some PR wisdom and a little about his company.

The interview lasted about 25 minutes between Barbara Nixon and Martin Waxman, and in those 25 minutes, I learned a lot. I learned that he is very client-oriented and in the business he is in, that should come first.  He discussed the kind of clients he wanted: ones that he trusted, who were honest and had some spunk and ‘energy’ as he called it.

Watching this interview, a few things surprised me.  One, it surprised me how much he was involved with social media first hand by blogging and tweeting. Second, I was surprised by his take on technology and how the people he wants to hire better know what they are doing and know about the social media world. On this note, I keep hearing that PR professionals make it a must for their employees to be in-the-know on technology and connecting with the social world.

Something that I would like to know more about is his view on those who are applying to work for his company and have spelling or grammatical errors on their sites. Obviously, if you are applying for a job anywhere, the work you have on the internet (whether that be Facebook or a blog) should be work “appropriate.” Martin Waxman said if he looks at a blog or something related to the potential person being hired and sees something as small as a spelling error he won’t even finish reading the rest of it. Most people would think, “Duh,I know not to have spelling errors on my resume or blog,” but it happens.  Things get overlooked or they forget to double check their work.  Hopefully at that point, lessoned is learned.

Martin Waxman has great insight for those interested in PR.  To watch the interview I watched, check out Barbara Nixon’s blog post and her interview with him – here.

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Posted by on April 4, 2011 in Topics of the Week


Guest Blogger – Sarah Allen

What is the key to a good website? Written by Sarah Allen

Image Credit: "Frustration" by Sybren A. Stuvel

Most of us know how to get someone to look at our website. The problem comes when we have to keep them there. Once they have arrived, what is the magic key to captivating their interest and attention? There may only be a second, one beautiful second, where the reader pauses and thinks to himself/herself, is this really worth my time. People have a short attention span in this digital age, and it is not getting any longer. The trick to having a website that people go to and actually stay on is easy, but at the same time a lot of us miss the mark.

I don’t know if you have ever clicked on a website and found yourself waiting for what seems an eternity, as you watch your mouse go round and round. Finally a hint of color begins to appear and right when things are looking up, an annoying song begins to play. Losing interest quickly, but still a little curious in what the site has to offer you stay. At last the page loads, and you go to find the contact information for the group, but to no avail because it is carefully hidden, so no one will ever find it. As you go through everything, you start to realize it bears a surprising resemblance to the maze at the pumpkin patch, you visited a week ago. Finally frustrated and disappointed, you go back to google and click the next sight that comes up.

Don’t let this be you! To learn more about how to have a good web page, read 7 Things That Annoy Website Visitors. I had never thought in detail about what makes a good site and what doesn’t. But after reading this article, I have a different perspective. If I am ever in a position where I need to design a web page for a business or company, I will remember what I read today with points like the importance of things loading quickly, having an uncluttered appearance, and providing an easy navigation system.

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Posted by on March 20, 2011 in Topics of the Week


Twitter Chat Experience

Last night I partcipated in a Twitter chat for the first time.  I joined in on the #PRStudChat at 8:30pm and it was quite an experience. Since this was my first public relations chat – well, first twitter chat at all for that matter – I really had no clue what to expect or even what do to or say.

Image Credit: "Tiny birds in my hand" by llse.

The twitter chat started off with everyone introducing themselves, so of course, the first thing I did was introduce myself. Well, while I was taking maybe 20 seconds to do that, I had literally missed a little over 20 tweets for the conversation.  And that began my confusion.

  • I learned that PR chats can be super beneficial and a great way of meeting other PR students, PR professors or even PR professionals.  Last night, everyone welcomed me to that chat with open arms and tried to get to know me.  Some are even following me and want to stay in contact, which is actually pretty cool.
  • It surprised me most that I was barely able to keep up with the conversation.  Perhaps there is a better way to do so, but the way I was doing it made it very difficult.  Someone would ask a question and by the time I thought about responding, I had missed many tweets and they had moved on to the next question.  After a few minutes I got a little used to how things worked, but I was still behind on keeping up with who was tweeting me and who was saying what.
  • In order to me to be more succesful at using chat, I would like to know a little more about the charts that were given out in the beginning that explained who was who.  I would also like to know more about how to keep up with the conversation. Once I am able to learn these things, participating in a chat will be more beneficial and definitely more fun.
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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Topics of the Week


How to win an interview

Looking for a job? A new career? The best place to start is by creating the perfect resume. Most people don’t really know what belongs on their resume or even where to start. I can help by giving you some tips and giving you some great websites as resources. To clear up some normal assumptions of a resume… Its purpose is to get you an interview not the position, it should be used to make you stand out on paper, and it shouldn’t tell your life story.  Let’s begin.

Here are the basics:

Image Credit: "Resume T-Shirt" by SocialisBetter

  • Your resume should include your personal information, such as name, email address, phone number, etc.
  • Employment, volunteer experience, and education (if you are student or a recent graduate) should also be included in order to show your experience and things you have accomplished. If you are fresh out of college and need to fill white space you may include extracurricular activities like clubs and organizations – but I would only include that if you had an important title.
  • Dates of employment and education should be listed.  Year and month is fine, they don’t need to know the exact day you started. The most current positions should be listed at the top. Make sure to include city and sate as well.
  • Responsibilities and tasks accomplished should be professionally listed to give the resume reader a sense of what you did at your previous employments.

Other tips:

  • When new into the job world (current student or fresh out of college) your resume shouldn’t exceed one page.
  • Be honest, yet creative.
  • Don’t make things too fancy.  You want your resume to stand out, but only in a good way. Stick to using only white paper and black ink (unless applying for a really creative position), and please, leave the coffee stains at home.
  • Choose wisely what you put on your resume. Never put something on there that you aren’t proud of or would never want to discuss.
  • Be specific.
  • Double check spelling! If you have a grammatical error on your resume, there’s a great chance you won’t be getting an interview – or in that case, even a phone call.

Here are some helpful links to check out for more information and some resume examples:

All about resumes, Do & Don’t, Resume builder

Good luck!

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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Topics of the Week