Turn social situations into networking

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From CareerBuilder.com comes this advice thanks to Deanna Hartley (Courier-Post Feb. 12, 2017)

Start with these tips to turn any social situation into a networking opportinuty:

  • Proactively seek out opportunities
  • Look for opportunities while traveling
  • Mingle at conferences
  • Find ways to add value to others
  • When you meet a stranger, strive to engage in authentic conversations

Here are my two adds:

  • Craft and practice delivering an effective “Elevator Speech” [See The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook for (all) Strategic Communicators Chapter 13]
  • Have your business cards closely at hand — with a QR code on it

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AP Stylebook Updates: Singular ‘They’ Now Acceptable

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This blog comes from one of my all-time favorites, Grammar Girl:

Although the new print edition won’t be out until May 31, 2017, the Associated Press sent out an email update announcing that these changes are effective immediately.

By 

Mignon Fogarty, 

Grammar Girl

March 24, 2017

Every year, editors announce big stylebook changes at the American Copy Editors Society (ACES) annual meeting. It’s where we first heard in 2011 that the Associated Press would no longer use a hyphen in email and in 2016 that the Associate Press would lowercase internet. Yesterday, the Chicago Manual of Style announced it would adopt these two styles as well, and now today, the AP is leading the charge again with these changes:

Gender-Related Entries

The presenters, Paula Froke (special liaison editor) and Colleen Newvine (product manager), saved the biggest news for last, but we’ll start with it here:

singular they: The AP Stylebook now allows writers to use they as a singular pronoun when rewriting the sentence as plural would be overly awkward or clumsy. Example: The Obama administration told public schools to grant bathroom access even if a student’s gender identity isn’t what’s in their record.

The style also allows writers to pair they with everyone in similar situations.

In stories about people who identify as neither male nor female or ask not to be referred to as he/she/him/her: Use the person’s name in place of a pronoun, or otherwise reword the sentence, whenever possible. If they/them/their use is essential, explain in the text that the person prefers a gender-neutral pronoun. Be sure that the phrasing does not imply more than one person.

his, her. AP style used to be to use he when gender is not known. This entry now refers to the entry on theythemtheir.

homophobia, homophobic. Acceptable in broad references or in quotations to the concept of fear or hatred of gays, lesbians and bisexuals. In individual cases, be specific about observable actions; avoid descriptions or language that assumes motives. (The previous version of the Stylebook recommended against using these words.)

LGBT. LGBTQ. Acceptable in all references for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning and/or queer. In quotations and the formal names of organizations and events, other forms such as LGBTQIA and other variations are also acceptable with the other letters explained.

gender. The editors began the presentation by unveiling a huge new entry on gender including new entries on cisgenderintersextransgender, and more.

Other Entries

autonomous vehicles. Do not use the term driverless unless there is no person on board who can take control in an emergency. They may be called self-driving cars. Describes cars or truck that can monitor the road and drive for an entire trip without intervention from a human. For vehicles that can do some but not all of the driving, such as some Tesla models, use the terms semi-autonomous or or partially self-driving.

baby bump. Avoid.

Columbus Day. Added Indigenous Peoples Day reference, plus a separate Indigenous Peoples Day entry: A holiday celebrating the original inhabitants of North America, observed instead of Columbus Day in some U.S. localities. Usually held on the second Monday of October, coinciding with the federal Columbus Day holiday.

courtesy titles. In general, do not use courtesy titles except in direct quotations. When it is necessary to distinguish between two people who use the same last name, as in married couples or brothers and sisters, use the first and last name. The presenters gave the example that it would still be proper to refer to Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Obama if the courtesy title is needed for clarity.

cyberattack. One word. Often overused. A computer operation carried out over a device or network that causes physical damage or significant and wide-spread disruption. The presenters said they consulted with cybersecurity experts who felt strongly about the “physical damage or significant and wide-spread disruption” part.

Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program. Use the acronym DACA sparingly and only on second reference. Do not use DREAMers or dreamers to describe DACA recipients. These are separate programs and the DREAM Act never passed.

esports. As with frequent flyer, the AP consulted people in the esports industry before deciding the recommend spelling should be esports without a hyphen.

fact checks, fake news. Holding politicians and public figures accountable for their words often requires reporting or research to verify facts that affirm or disprove a statement, or that show a gray area. Fact-checking also is essential in debunking fabricated stories or parts of stories done as hoaxes, propaganda, jokes or for other reasons, often spread widely on the internet and mistaken as truth by some news consumers.

Fake news may be used in quotation marks or as shorthand for the modern phenomenon for deliberate falsehoods or fiction masked as news circulating on the internet.

However, do not label as fake news specific or individual news items that are disputed. If fake news is used in a quote, push for specifics about what is meant. Alternative wording includes false reportserroneous reportsunverified reports, questionable reportsdisputed reports and false reporting, depending on the context. 

flyer, flier. AP changed the spelling from frequent flier to flyer after reviewing airline industry websites and determining this was the spelling most commonly used in the industry. The audience seemed happy about this change. Flyer is also the spelling for paper handouts, but flier is still proper for the phrase take a flier, meaning to take a big risk.

incident. A minor event. Don’t use this word to minimize major happenings. Anything that causes death, injury, notable damage and the like is not an incident.

Oxford Comma (aka serial comma). The new Stylebook emphasizes that clarity is the bottom line. Although the normal style is to avoid the serial comma, use one if it is needed for clarity. This is not a style change, but a clarification because the editors noted that some writers were confused.

reform. Not a synonym for change.

virtual reality, augmented reality. Because virtual reality is quite widespread now, the Stylebook allows VR on the second reference. Augmented reality is still uncommon, so continue to spell it out instead of shortening it to AR.

More. In some cases, the presenters noted that there will be new entries, but they didn’t share the entire entries. Expect to see new information on these topics when the new AP Stylebook is released: immigration (they will bring immigration-related entries that were scattered throughout the book together into one entry), cliches, television sets (based on input from the technology editor), and Uber and Lyft.

Thank you to all the people at #ACES2017 who tweeted from the presentation and to ACES for livestreaming (one word!) the presentation.

The new print AP Stylebook will be available May 31, 2017. Note that the AP Stylebook is updated every year, but the Chicago Manual of Style is updated less often. The last Chicago update was in 2010.

 

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Do You Have What It Takes To Be a Public Relations Professional?

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A couple of years back, one of my Wilmington University students interviewed me for her Mass Communication course. Krista Fowler has launched her personal website to showcase her portfolio as she perpares to enter the “real world.” Here is the link to her inaugural blog:
 
http://www.kfowlermarketing.com/blog or:
 
http://kmfowler.weebly.com/blog/do-you-have-what-it-takes-to-be-a-public-relations-professional (you may have to copy and paste this)
 
and here is the link to her website (good going Krista — I am proud of you. You have a bright future):
 
  
Social media has taken the world by storm, and the need for companies to maintain their public image in today’s internet era assures growth in the public relations field. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA, a professor at Wilmington University with 45 years of experience in public relations, provided insight for writers interested in the profession.

Litwin, author of The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook and The ABCs of Strategic Communication, explained that PR professionals must always be on their toes. “You can have a plan for the day, but in any instant, it could change,” Litwin commented while recalling times when he began his day focusing on media relations, but after unexpected events, quickly switched to crisis communication.

You can have a plan for the day, but in any instant, it could change.
To stay current in the PR industry, Litwin recommended continuing education. As a member of the National School Public Relations Association, he mentioned that he attends seminars to share ideas and learn about the latest industry trends.

Litwin revealed factors of public relations which caught him by surprise, and said, “I had no idea how many hours I would put in. Sometimes I work at least 10 hour days and weekends, but I still love it!”

If you embrace the profession, it will embrace you back.
The must-have skills that PR professionals need, according to Litwin, are excellent writing skills, and the ability to build relationships and orally communicate with people. For anyone entering public relations, he said, “If you do your job properly, you will gain a great deal of satisfaction. If you embrace the profession, it will embrace you back.”
 
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From a frustrated (former) broadcast journalist

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A guide to weird words your teen uses

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This from USA Today. Well worth a read. “The times they are a changin” and society had better catch up — at least those of us who teach teens and millennials.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2017/03/03/guide-all-those-weird-words-your-teen-uses/98688930/

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Cover Letters — are they less important?

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According to USA Today, only 26 percent of recruiters consider cover letters important. I respectfully disagree. Continue using pithy and effectivecover letters or cover emails. To help you please visit my website under Student Resources… 

http://www.larrylitwin.com/documents/70_ResumePackage.pdf (copy and paste)

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3 tricks for improving your body language in the office

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Your mother was right: Slouching makes you look bad.

By Vanessa Van Edwards, Monster contributor (The Philadelphia Inquirer — Feb. 12, 2017)

Up to 93% of our communication is nonverbal. This means that our body language, facial expressions and other nonverbal behavior is even more important than our verbal content. Yet most people don’t even think about what their body language is saying to others. As a result, many business people don’t ever realize how much their body language is holding them back at work.

I did body language coaching with a woman who was having a lot of trouble advancing in her career. She had all the right things going for her—great education, awesome performance reviews, successful sales, you name it—but still was not getting the promotions and upward mobility opportunities she deserved. Within the first five seconds of meeting her, I knew what was holding her back: her body language.

Her nonverbal behavior was timid, weak and disorganized, which was completely opposite of her quiet confidence and intelligence. I taught her a few of the tips below and as she adapted them, she started to get invited to sit in more high-level meetings. Then she got to represent her company at a big conference. Finally, she got an offer to head up a department in their new offices—a major promotion.

Here are a few tips you can use right now to start to improve your body language in the workplace.

Assertive body language 

Sometimes people need to show confidence and assertiveness in their opinions and points. There are a few body language techniques that are universal signs of strength.

  • Take up more space: Those who are timid tend to keep their arms close by their side and tuck their feet under their chair, taking up as little space as possible. If you want to show confidence, you have to claim space by firmly planting your feet shoulder width apart, or if you are sitting, leaning back in your chair and using the armrests during meetings.
  • Steepling: Steepling is when you press the tips of your fingers together with palms facing each other in front of your torso. This move (which looks like a steeple) is the universal sign of confidence. You can do this at a business meeting on the table or even when speaking and trying to emphasize a point.

Rapport-building body language

Building rapport is important for both men and women. It’s great for interviewing, networking and getting along with office colleagues. There are a few specific things you can do with your body language to help make connections.

  • Point your feet: Our brains actually subconsciously pay attention to a person’s feet. You will notice our feet tend to point in the direction we want to go. For example, at a networking event, someone who is itching to leave might be talking to someone but have their feet pointed towards the door. So, if you want to show you are actively engaged, point your feet and angle your body towards the person you are speaking with.
  • Mirroring: When we really get along with someone, we subtly mirror their body posture and movements. You can use this to your advantage when trying to bond with someone. Subtly (very subtly), mimic their body posture or try to speak at the same voice cadence as they do. Our brains register this as “friend,” not “foe.” 

Calming body language 

Negotiating, interviewing and tense situations in business are never easy. People need nonverbal ways to calm themselves down if they are nervous. They also need to make sure they’re nonthreatening to others who might be nervous in their presence. If you are a manager or leader in your organization, these tips are great for calming a hostile employee:

  • Uncrossed arms: When we cross our arms, we are protecting our vital organs. This is a naturally defensive position. If you want to stay calm and open-minded, be sure to leave your arms loose at your side. If someone else is crossing their arms, give them papers, coffee or even a pencil to hold. As soon as they get out of that position they will feel less close-minded.
  • Suprasternal notch: The suprasternal notch, the space in between your collar bones, is actually touched when people are nervous as a way of self-soothing. Lightly massaging this area or the back of your neck can help lower your heart rate and make you feel more calm.

Body language is a fascinating science that can only be applied artfully. The best tip I can give is to be genuine. People do pick up on inauthenticity.

Vanessa Van Edwards specializes in social and emotional intelligence research and development. The focus of her company is to combine human behavior research and tech trends. 

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CHECKLIST: Improve you credit score

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Consumer Reports suggests the following to improve credit scores in the long run.

  • Sign up for automatic bill payment. A late bill can make your credit score drop by as much as 100 points.
  • Watch the timing of your spending, especially if you plan to apply for a loan. The lower the balance, the better the credit rating.
  • Limit credit-card applications. Each time a lender inquires to view a credit report, it gets noted and can reduce the score.
  • Think twice before canceling cards. Consumers gain points if they are tapping only a small percentage of the total credit available to them.
  • Make sure credit limits are posted

From: www.courierpostonline.com

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7 Quick Tips To Improve Your Leadership Skills

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This week’s blog comes from 

Dale Carnegie Training Newsletter

By Anita Zinsmeister, President
Dale Carnegie® Training of Central & Southern New Jersey

7 Quick Tips To Improve
Your Leadership Skills
  • Word count for this issue: 562
  • Approximate time to read: 2.2 minutes @ 250 words per minute 
When a crisis hits, an executive’s instinct might be to focus on greater efficiency and productivity by tightening control.  But this is not always the best solution-giving up authority and granting employees independence can actually help improve innovation and success, even when the road gets rough.
 
So You Are A Leader At Your Company-Now What?
 
Without the proper leadership skills, you will find it hard to inspire your staff.  Below you will find 7 tips on how to brush up on your leadership skills.
 
 
7 Tips To Improve Your Leadership Skills
 
1.  Show Respect – If you want to be in a leadership position, start building relationships with people by respecting what they do.  Practically nothing is more important.   Additionally, it is important that a great leader never misses an opportunity to learn more about the people behind them.  Great leaders never skip an employee’s birthday gathering or a holiday party because they are too busy — they know that work will always be there. 
 
2.  Build on Relationships – As a leader, know who people are, what is important to them, and what motivates them.  This will help you understand everyone’s goals and how you can support your staff.  When you help people, they will care about you and your goals in return.
 
3.  Have a Good Attitude – Positive attitudes can be infectious.  As a leader, you need to find ways to stay upbeat and find the best ways to improve.  Do not expect too much from your staff — no one is perfect; while you do need to address poor performance, it is extremely important to acknowledge a job well done, which will build a positive work environment where people feel appreciated.
 
4.  Work on Your Strengths – Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are.  While it is important to address your weaknesses, you might find it better to first start by focusing on your strengths.  This will allow you to rise to the expert level sooner than you would by working on your weaknesses.  Bottom line: Know what you are good at and keep at it.
 
5.  Find People Who Complement You – Again, we all have strengths and weaknesses.  Great leaders are aware of their weaknesses and find people who support their shortcomings.  This is not because they are weak and need to cover themselves, but because they know the benefit of having a strong team — and when the team wins, everyone wins. 
 
6.  Develop A Mentoring Program  – Mentoring someone will not only help develop that person’s career, but will also help leaders refine their skills.  It is a great way to help improve your staff members’ skills while also improving on relationships.
 
7.  Maintain Balance In Your Life – A big key to success is learning to balance work and family.  Life is too short for you to live at your job. Great leaders set career boundaries and know when to spend more time with family and friends.  Doing this will make you a stronger leader.
 
Executive Summary:  While some people are just great leaders, others have to work a bit harder to achieve the necessary skills.  Take the time to consider your strengths and weaknesses and get to know your staff; surround yourself with the best possible people to become an excellent leader. 
 
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