A potpourri – From ‘USA Today’

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Some “USA Snapshots” from USA Today. It gets full credit.

  • 41 percent of Americans cannot tell the difference between secure and unsecured Wi-Fi, but still take questionable actions (Norton by Symantec survey of 1,002 consumer
  • One in 14 computer users fall for phishing — being tricked into following a link or opening an attachment (Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Investigation Report)
  • Lower pay, higher happiness: Almost half would be willing to take at least a 10 percent pay cut to work at a job they are more interested in and passionate about (Jobvite survey of 2,287 U.S. adults)

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Recovering from a bad interview

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CareerBuilder.com’s Sarah Sipek writes in detail about interview follow-ups.  Look for the entire article online or visit the Courier-Post Sunday, July 9 edition, page 16 C. In addition, http://larrylitwin.com/handouts.html contains many “handouts” on resumes and interview techniques.

Here are Sipek’s key points:

  • Send a thank-you note
  • Ask for a second chance
  • Don’t grovel
  • Reflect
  • Conduct mock interviews (practice practice practice

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6 Tips to help you get promoted

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Dale Carnegie Training Newsletter

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

  • Word count for this issue: 589
  • Approximate time to read: 2.4 minutes @ 250 words per minute  16 Mistakes Employees Make When Trying To Get A Promotion.          
  • Executive Summary:  Transitioning into a management position is never a simple process; however, the right approach will make a move more likely.  Educate yourself on what makes an effective leader by studying the habits of leaders you respect or enrolling in management training.  Fuse theoretical knowledge with applied skills by taking the initiative to demonstrate that you have the capacity to adequately fill a management position. 
  • 6.  Ask The Right Questions – Thinking like a manager means asking questions like a manager.  Focus on the aspects related to improving processes.  Asking questions designed to improve cost management, accomplishing tasks more efficiently, and meeting clients’ needs more effectively will demonstrate that you are serious about taking initiative.  To truly reinforce to others your desire to be a leader, have solutions to your proposed questions in mind.
  • 5.  Take The Initiative – The very best managers are the ones that are proactive.  These people don’t wait for things to come to them; instead, they take charge.  Come time for your quarterly or yearly review, ask your supervisor what steps you need to take to obtain a position in management.  Be sure to keep an eye on job postings at your company and recently vacant positions so that you may be in a position to seize upcoming opportunities.
  • 4.  Communicate Effectively – The cornerstone of being an effective professional at any level is the ability to communicate effectively. Understanding how others will interpret and react to issues that come up is a fundamental component that strong managers should always be aware of.  You must be able to communicate, respect, encourage and establish rapport with others to demonstrate that you have the capacity for leadership.
  • 3.  Do Your Job And Do It Well – If you are looking for a promotion at your current place of employment, you will want to excel in your current position. This, however, does not mean that you need to be the best at what you do (in fact, often, top performers are not always the best leaders).  Instead, focus on the leadership qualities of your job and ensure that you are a premier team player.
  • 2.  Enroll In Leadership Training Programs – Either as a supplement to or in conjunction with observing the habits of effective leaders, consider taking a course in leadership training.  A quick look through a search engine will turn up a wealth of results.  Be sure to perform your due diligence and ensure that the training you look into is highly rated.   
  • 1.  Study The Habits Of Quality Leaders – Truly, the best method for gaining an understanding of what people in management positions do is to observe people in those positions.  Study the techniques and habits of the managers whom you find effective.  Focus on how they interact with employees and how they encourage professional growth.
  • 6 Tips For Landing Your Next Promotion:
  • Click Here To Read Forbes’ Article

  • A promotion to management can signal a major milestone in any career.  While this is no simple task, there are a number of steps you can take to put yourself in a position to achieve this goal.  We have gathered six time-tested tips that can help you achieve the success you desire.


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‘Soft Skills’ can set YOU apart

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As Sarah Sipek of “CareerBuilder” writes in the Courier-Post, technical or hard skills are essential qualifications for a job, but “soft skills” focus on how you interact with others. For details visit careerbuilder.com. Here are the headings:

  • Communication
  • Ability to handle criticism
  • Attention to detail
  • Positive attitude
  • Time management

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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.


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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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.


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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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