Larry's Blog

PR Seminar for educators and news media

Delsea Regional High School in Gloucester County, New Jersey hosted a public relations seminar for Gloucester County schools and news media outlets.

Here are the notes provided following the successful session. Anyone wanting more information may contact larry@larrylitwin.com. Much of what was discussed is availble in Litwin’s two books available on www.larrylitwin.com, digitally from Amazon for the Kindle, iPad and iPhone and at better book stores everywhere.

Public Relations Seminar Notes – December 6, 2010

Speakers  – M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA, Rowan University Associate Professor, Public Relations/Advertising

John Barna, Editor, Gloucester County Times

Resources:

Website – www.larrylitwin.com.

Student Resources Heading – handouts pertaining to audience engagement

Workshops/PowerPoints Heading -numerous detailed PowerPoints that contain information relevant to what we do every day.

Books – The ABCs of Strategic Communication by M. Larry Litwin

The Public Relations Practioner’s Playbook by M. Larry Litwin

Questions – How to Best Share Story and Get Media Attention?

How to Market Press Releases

How Do Schools Know Appropriate Person?

What is Hierarchy of Each News Media?

65-85% of news is PR generated

Keep media list up-to-date

#1 – Relationship – Develop relationships

#2-Knowing News

#3 Knowing Deadlines

Accuracy, Timeliness

Accessibility

Communicate from inside-out

Patch.com (AOL initiative – community journalism) – opportunity for schools to celebrate community – West Deptford will be soon included.

Make videos available to news – Jim Six – handles video content from GCT

School Budget Questions

How can schools sell budgets with 2 % cap?

News release approach

Electronic release (multi-platform approach – blogs, twitter, Facebook)

Need strong, strategic message – short message

Sit down with reporter before school board meeting where budget is released.  Give them the information and then follow-up

Remember information on website – 30% do not scroll to bottom of page – important message needs to be at beginning

Public education #1 commodity

United front from teachers and administrators

Turn around negatives and make them positives

Strategic message for seniors – Support education for your grandchildren

How can schools inform public without information seeming like a threat?

1.  Share reality of what will happen if budget does not pass.

Identify Yes Voters

Labor Intensive – but relatively new (for school communicators) One-to-One (1-1) Marketing is effective

2. Gaining, maintaining and enhancing public support as we move forward is just one of our challenges. Our taxpayers must be reminded, “We are in this together.”

No voters will come out to vote, so it is important to get as many people as possible to vote.

Day of Election – Get volunteer organization to bring voters to polls

Vote By Mail – Identify college students especially those away at school

Suggestions/ Considerations

Story ideas to consider – What is unique about the event?

Message

Audience

Channel for communication – where does audience get their information

Timing

And don’t lose sight of the purpose (why you are communicating the message)

Be persistent,  but pleasant

Monday – 3 PM – good time to contact media – looking for stories for week

Anniversary Dates are important to media – schedule an activity on an anniversary date

Reporters use Facebook for ideas and stories.

Know where information is going.

Strategic tweets – direct to website or Facebook

Plan your event for the fifth (5th) Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday of month – you stand better chance for coverage

No municipal or board meetings are planned for 5th day of month

To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

12 holiday $$$ mistakes to avoid — from AP

This story has run in newspapers all over the United States and online via Associated Press. It may be excessive of fair use — but its importance does not. Enjoy it and take heed. Happy holidays!

By DAVE CARPENTER

AP Personal Finance Writer

Nov 27, 2010

CHICAGO — The holiday season is full of pitfalls that can drain your bank account.

If you’re not careful, you can end up taking a year to pay for all the spending. More than 13 million shoppers are still paying off last year’s holiday debts, according to Consumer Reports.

It’s fine to cut back on gifts if your finances are stretched thin. But if you plan to join the holiday shop-a-palooza, remember that it’s not going against the holiday spirit to keep your bottom line in mind.

“You have to be smart,” says Gail Cunningham of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. “Know how much you can spend in advance and don’t get caught up in the holiday moment.”

Regardless of the size of your bank account, you’ll save plenty if you can avoid common holiday traps. Some are laid by retailers hungry for cash while others are simply a result of poor planning.

Here’s a look at 12 holiday money mistakes to avoid:

1. Discount fixation.

Retailers advertise deep discounts to get you to bite. But don’t take them at their word without comparing prices. A store’s sale price may reflect a markdown from the regular price, but there’s no guarantee the manufacturer’s suggested retail price isn’t actually lower. Think more about the item you’re buying.

“The stupidest thing people do is focus more on price than on quality,” says Dan de Grandpre, editor-in-chief of Dealnews.com. “Especially on Black Friday. You see really low prices because in many cases it’s cheap stuff.”

Avoid unfamiliar brands, be wary of the cheap version of name brands and don’t go crazy for bogus bargains on footwear, apparel, power tools or anything else, cautions Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst at the NPD Group.

2. No budget.

Skipping a holiday spending budget is a surefire way to overspend. Make a list that includes amounts for each person you want to buy a gift for and stick to it. Be sure to create an overall budget that factors in other holiday-related expenses. Without a plan, you’ll get caught up in the hype and go for the feel-good purchase.

The American Financial Services Association Education Foundation offers an online worksheet to help you create a holiday spending plan; visit www.afsaef.org/HolidaySpending.cfm. Besides planning your gift list, it helps you track spending on decorations, cards, travel and entertaining.

3. Debit dangers.

Debit cards carry the advantage of taking money from your account and not saddling you with future payments. But using them on big items is risky because they don’t offer the purchase protections that credit cards do. For instance, if you fail to report any misuse of your bank account within two days, you may be liable for the first $500 billed to your debit card instead of the first $50.

If you have a problem with a purchase you made on a debit card, you may eventually get your money back. But it will be much more trouble and take longer than if a credit card had been used, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

4. Return policy missteps.

Tossing away receipts can be costly. Their obvious value is for exchanges or returns, but there’s another plus too: If the price is lowered after you buy an item, a receipt should enable you to get a credit for the difference. Be aware that return policies are changing, however, and retailers are increasingly refusing some returns or giving gift cards for the amount in question. Certain stores are particularly diligent about tracking returns. If your credit card shows you return items too often, you may be stuck, according to de Grandpre. Also make sure you understand a website’s return policy if you’re shopping online.

5. Being low-tech.

Smart phones are changing how we shop. Scores of consumers are following their favorite brands and retailers on social networking sites likes Twitter and Facebook, and retailers are taking full advantage. It’s much easier for businesses to launch and retract deals online where matching inventory with demand is less of a challenge. Coupons and last-minute offers can arrive as e-mail alerts or through social network accounts. Smart phone apps like Coupon Sherpa also provide in-the-moment help. It enables iPhone users to search coupons by category or store name, and find the nearest location. According to Deloitte Research, nearly one in five shoppers plans to use a cell phone during the shopping process.

6. Extended warranties.

Here’s when to buy an extended warranty, says Greg Daugherty, executive editor of Consumer Reports: “Basically never.” The manufacturer’s warranty should protect you against any defect for up to a year, and the cost of protection beyond that generally isn’t worth it. Instead of wasting anywhere from tens to hundreds of dollars on an extended warranty, put some extra cash in your emergency fund to help cover possible repairs or replacements.

7. Black Friday blunders.

Black Friday can be a shopper’s dream. But long lines and overzealous crowds can really wear you down and make it harder to spend wisely. So map out a plan in advance and read the fine print on early-morning doorbuster deals. At 5 a.m., you may have a slim chance of landing the lone 45-inch flat-screen TV offered at one store and much better odds for the less spectacular bargain down the road. Planning is important throughout the shopping season. Check the website of each store you plan to visit for the latest bargains, and make a list of what you want to buy from each store.

8. Gift card gaps.

Give gift cards another look if you’ve spurned buying them because of fees and other issues. Thanks to recent rule changes, this is the first holiday season in which any gift card purchased cannot expire for at least five years. What’s more, inactivity and other fees are banned in the first year. Still, you should beware of buying gift cards through online auction sites or classified ads. They may be counterfeit and could have been obtained illegally.

9. Shipping costs.

Free shipping is easier than ever to find. Giant retailers are dangling it as an inducement to spend. Wal-Mart, Target and J.C. Penney are among the retailers promoting free shipping programs. More than 1,000 merchants also are participating in Free Shipping Day (www.freeshippingday.com) on Dec. 17. Even if you don’t get free shipping, don’t wait too long or you’ll blow your budget to ship to out-of-town friends and family.

10. Store credit cards.

Saving 20 percent on a single large purchase might sound worth it. But remember that retailers promote their store cards because they come out ahead on interest and late fees. Interest rates of more than 20 percent are quite common. That’s what you’ll find at the Gap and Macy’s, among many others. Signing up for a store’s credit card and then canceling after a short period, even if you pay it off on time, can harm your credit score. If you apply, be very selective.

11. Exposing your ID.

Grab deals from the comfort of your living room but take precautions to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, which costs U.S. consumers more than $50 billion a year. Only do business with websites that are properly secure. A common indictor that it’s OK to enter confidential information is the presence of a padlock in the address bar on the checkout page. This means that the data you input will be properly encrypted for your protection.

12. Fear of negotiating.

Prices frequently are negotiable in electronics, jewelry and department stores. Consumer Reports surveys on haggling have found that shoppers are successful more often than not when they ask for a better price. Just make the negotiations friendly. Daugherty suggests saying something like: “I’d like to buy this but the price is over my budget. Can you do any better?” Often the manager can if the clerk cannot. “You’re not going to embarrass yourself,” he says. “They’ve heard it before.” Along the same lines, ask the cashier if there’s a discount on your big item even if you don’t have a current coupon.

Special Thanksgiving Edition – Important safety tips if you plan on frying your turkey

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

This advisory message came from has been issued by the Runnemede (N.J.) Fire Department. It’s for those of us who have always craved a fried turkey on this special day.

This is the start of what promises to be a wonderful holiday season. Keep that wine glass half full, rather than half empty. That’s what optimists do. Now, to your turkey frying tips:
Happy Thanksgiving! Please check www.runnemedefire.org for important safety tips if you plan on frying your turkey.

The Dos & Don’ts of Frying a Turkey

1.The first thing you should do is determine how much oil you need to heat up. To do this, place your turkey in the cold pot. Fill the pot with water to cover the turkey allow for it to cover 2 inch above the turkey. Take the turkey out. Mark where the water level is…..this is how much oil you will need. This is an important step because if you do not determine how much oil you need and just fill the pot with oil, heat the oil then place the bird in…..chances are you have too much oil and it will spill over the pot roll down the sides to the open flame and catch on fire.
2.Dry your turkey off completely.
3.Fill pot with oil to the determined level.
4.Heat your oil outside to 350°-375° F.

DON’TS

5.Do not set up Deep Fryer indoors, or under an overhang. Never place close to the house, allow to be about 15 feet away from any structures.
6.Do not leave hot oil unattended.
7.Do not allow children and pets to be around your hot oil.
8.Do not Place hot oil on any surface that is not flat.
9.Do not use olive oil.
10.Do not brine your turkey. Make sure your turkey is completely dry.
11.Do not stuff your turkey.
12.Do not forget to remove giblets in the cavity of your turkey.
13.Do not try to fry a frozen turkey, the turkey should be completely defrosted.

“Grow Your Business Through Networking”

On Friday, Nov. 19, Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA,  participated in the Chamber of Commerce of South Jersey networking workship. The full PowerPoint is available on www.larrylitwin.com under Workshops and PowerPoints. It is No. 15 (scroll down).

Here are accompanying notes. To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

1.  How communication has evolved over the last few decades, including the importance of the human connection, face-to-face meetings, non-verbal communication and body language.

After slide with books…Open with PR is…read from “ PR Playbook.”

2.  Proper handshake – summarize…

PROPER HANDSHAKING –

The protocol for handshaking is simple: Walk up to the person you want to meet. Look into their eyes, smile and extend your hand. Offer a warm, firm, palm-to-palm handshake.

When you offer your hand to a stranger or a distant acquaintance, say, “My name is……( use both first and last names ).This way you eliminate the awkward moment of the forgotten name. The person being greeted is often relieved at being reminded, and will usually respond with their full name, which will in turn relieve you.

Delivering a proper handshake can make or break that first impression on a person. It certainly shouldn’t be limp and it should not be a crusher.

I recommend to my students and others to try shaking hands with a few friends.

3.  Eye Contact…[Technique 190…in “The ABCs of Strategic Communication.]

•  Eye contact. Once your hands have met, you should make eye contact and maintain it throughout the handshake.

4.  PR is slide…leading into Elevator Speech…

All of us should have 30 seconds [an elevator speech] about ourselvse to share with THAT important person.

Here’s an example using Rowan University as the  example…PR is

5.  Body language hints (Slide 8)

Also, for my students, when walking across campus or at a networking event, look up and smile — even say “hi.”

If at a networking event, work the room. Meeting prospectives is more important than eating.

6.  Back to eye contact for a moment…Upper third. It assures your are credible and believable. NO rolling the eyes.

So, grip – look – business card, being ready with an elevator speech and “I look forward to talking to you.”

8.  Show a favorite business card…Leave behind/Take away

9.  Etiqutte slide (make it quick) –

  • Defined –  conduct as established in a society or community.

10.  The Evolution of our profession

11.  Show Social Media video…then roll through slides…

12.  Slide 18 – MAC Triad which has added P and T…

13.  Slide 20 – Relationship management

14.  Shannon Weaver – Two way model

15.  Yes, as much as things change, they REMAIN the same.

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com. Visit: www.larrylitwin.com

South Jersey Face: M. Larry Litwin

As requested. This appeared on former blog site. Here we go again. It does contain some effective strategic communication techniques:

October 4, 2009

  • You could say M. Larry Litwin wrote the book on public relations. Actually, two really thick books. An associate professor of communication at Rowan University and a former broadcast journalist, Litwin has written two textbooks compiling just about everything he knows about the art of communicating with the public.

The third edition of “The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook: A Synergized Approach to Effective Two-Way Communication,” and “The ABCs of Strategic Communication” are used in college classrooms, kept on the desks of professionals and used as a reference by publicity volunteers for nonprofits.

Litwin lives with his wife, Nancy, in Berlin.

For information about Litwin, visit www.larrylitwin.com

Q: What does the term “public relations” mean?

A: There are many. Most are probably too academic. I define it as a management and counseling function that builds and maintains relationships with audiences through an understanding determined by asking them what they like, don’t like, want and don’t want. PR must be two-way (listen twice as much as we talk) and must be open, honest, thorough and valid. We are a company or organization’s chief integrity officer — the conscience of the organization.

Q: Your “Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook” is 555 pages long. How long did it take to write and how did you learn all that stuff?

A: Not long ago, some Rowan graduates who assisted me on the book were asked that question. The response, “He’s been writing that book his entire life.” Not quite. But I have been taking notes ever since my very first job in radio in Iowa while I was in college. Those same students, plus a few others, encouraged me to compile my notes and publish a book that professionals, students and volunteer groups could use. That’s what we did.

Throughout the years I’ve had great teachers and mentors. They encouraged me to be a sponge, taught me to listen and strongly suggested that I never be without a pen and paper to take notes. When I co-lecture a class with a colleague, I usually take more notes than the students.

Q: How is the recession affecting the public relations industry?

A: As with other professions, public relations has taken its hits with the recession. Many times, PR is the first to go. However, the smarter organizations realize that even during difficult times, it is important and even critical to an organization’s success that it have a public relations strategic counselor at the corporate table to help with research, planning and communication to internal and external audiences. The best CEOs make sure that their Number One, Number Two person is a seasoned PR counselor.

Q: What is the worst mistake a public relations person can make?

A: Lie. Never, ever. Credibility and trust are almost impossible to regain. In our profession, there is no substitute for ethics and integrity. Ivy Ledbetter Lee, one of PR’s founding fathers, said it best: “Tell the truth and provide (only) accurate facts.”

— Kim Mulford

To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

Public Relations playbook: some thoughts – Philly AdNews

TOOLBOX TOPICS – Reprinted from AdNews – Philly Ad Club – November -December 2010

Public Relations playbook: some thoughts

 Every now and then seasoned communication professionals need to review the basics. Here are some thoughts from Larry Litwin’s The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook (AuthorHouse – 2009)

 

By M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA

 By M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA

Whether the profession is public relations, public communication or strategic advising, it all begins with the ABCs of strategic communication: anticipate, be prepared and communicate clearly, concisely, consistently, calculatingly (measured tones – weighing each word), and completely (specifically and simply).

Anticipate the reaction to a strategic message before communicating it. As Sir Isaac Newton said, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The reactions to a CEO or spokesperson’s comments may not be equal and opposite, but they could take a strong opposing viewpoint that could damage a client’s image or reputation. Messages could be misinterpreted. “Test” them to be sure the “C” is achieved.

As columnist George Will points out, “Clarity is achieved only if our message is received and interpreted as we intend it.” That’s where the “B’ comes in. Through proper planning, effective strategic communicators are more likely to achieve their objectives and goal, which means synergy is achieved.

So, what is public relations?

Back in 1971, colleague Ralph Burgio and I brainstormed a definition of public relations. Here is what Ralph scribbled on a napkin at Mom’s Peppermill Inn just off exit 7A of the New Jersey Turnpike. It remains relevant nearly 40 years later:

PUBLIC RELATIONS?

Public relations is as simple as a thank-you note and as complicated as a

four-color brochure.

It’s as specific as writing a news release and as general as sensing community

attitudes.

It’s as inexpensive as a phone call to an editor or as costly as a full-page

advertisement.

It’s as direct as a conversation between two people and as broad as a radio or

television program reaching thousands of listeners or millions of viewers.

It’s as visual as a poster and as literal as a speech.

HERE, MY FRIENDS, IS THE BIG QUESTION: What IS public relations?

It’s a term often used – seldom defined!

In its broadest sense, public relations is “good work, publicly recognized.”

Believe me, there are no secret formulas. Public relations is simply:  the group itself saying —

• “This is who we are;

• What we think about ourselves;

• What we want to do; and

• Why we deserve your support.”

The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook (AuthorHouse – 2009) contains hundreds of proven tips and techniques. Here are a few:

“Tell the truth, provide accurate facts and give the public relations director access to top management so that he/she can influence decisions,” said Ivy Ledbetter Lee, recognized as an early media relations professional.

Warren Buffet said, “If you lose money for the company, I will be understanding. If you lose one shred of the company’s reputation, I will be ruthless.” Buffet, one of America’s wealthiest individuals, is chair and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

Jack Welch, former General Electric chair and CEO, said, “I want strategic advisors who tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. Honesty and integrity are the only way.”

There is a common thread to the ethical practice of public relations. Arthur Page, recognized as the “father of corporate public relations,” developed these seven principles: tell the truth, prove it with action, listen to the customer, manage for tomorrow, conduct public relations as if the whole company depends on it, realize a company’s true character is expressed by its people, and remain calm, patient and good humored.

Strategic counselor James Lukaszewski, in his book Why Should the Boss Listen to You? stresses that public relations counselors should strive to be the “number one, number two” person in an organization – the go to advisor, associate or assistant to the CEO. Lukaszewski pushes company and organization leaders “to look over the horizon and see what’s there – have a clear vision.” He points out that the best leaders “have in place the people and skills necessary to achieve the goals and objectives the boss promised to accomplish. He also encourages CEO’s “to promise less and achieve more.”

A favorite public relations tip is credited to Patrick Jackson – the “Double Bottom Line Theory,” which has evolved into the “Triple Bottom Line”:

First Bottom Line: Create relationships. If the organization has already achieved that important first line, work on enhancing the relationships and, at the very least, maintain the relationships you have. It costs far less to retain a customer or client than it does to attract new ones.

Second Bottom Line: Revenue. It generates from sales developed from the relationships created and built in the first bottom line.

Third Bottom Line: Profit. After all, that is what it is all about – making  money. To make money, though, revenue must be generated and costs controlled. Like the other tips, the “Triple Bottom Line” is more than theory, it has been proven time and time again – just look at Southwest Airlines, Staples and Wal-Mart.

Even before the Phillies became perennial winners, president David Montgomery recognized the value of relationship building. He turned an evening at the ballpark into an experience – a family experience – from the moment you pull into the parking lot and scan your own ticket until the final out.  Those relationships turned into revenue, the revenue into profits and, with Pat Gillick, Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manual’s strategies and tactics, the Phillies have won their fourth straight division title.

Former Rowan University marketing director Ed Ziegler says, “Reaching the desired outcome – is a process.” He says, “By educating your publics, you give them the knowledge needed to develop the proper attitude that leads to the behavioral outcome you want. When the organization’s output equals the outcome, synergy is achieved.”

However, none of these tips and advice mean a thing if the following principle isn’t followed. It comes from Melissa Matthews, Rowan class of ’01 and Woman’s Day beauty editor. She said it in the October 2011 issue in response to “What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?”

Said Melissa: “Make sure everything you do is open, honest, thorough and valid. I follow this advice from my college mentor, Professor Larry Litwin. It helps me make decisions, especially when evaluating beauty products.”

M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA, is an established strategic advisor, teacher, mentor, role model and ethicist, and an award-winning public relations counselor and broadcast journalist.

Traffic Light Cameras – Warnings must be posted near intersections

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

Traffic light cameras have become the craze in Southern New Jersey. If you try to run a yellow light, “big brother” is going to get you. On Oct. 30, 2010, The “Courier-Post” ran

some common questions and answers to the red light cameras throughout South Jersey.

Question: How do I know if an intersection is being monitored?

Answer: Any municipality that authorizes the use of a red light camera, including the 22 in the state pilot program, by law must post a sign warning of the enforcement on each street leading to the intersection. Some South Jersey communities in the pilot program expect to add more cameras in the future, but for now, they have been authorized at the following intersections:

Cherry Hill: At Route 70 and Springdale Road

Deptford: At Route 41 and Deptford Center Road

Glassboro: At Route 47 and Dalton Drive

Gloucester Township: On Blackwood-Clementon Road (Route 534) at Cherrywood Drive, at Blenheim/Erial/New Brooklyn Road (Route 706), at Little Gloucester Road (Route 759), and at Millbridge Road

Monroe: On Route 322 at Route 612 and at Route 42/Route 536 Spur

Q: If I see the cameras flash, does that mean I’m going to get a ticket?

A: Not necessarily. Sensors in the road trigger the cameras after determining that a vehicle is traveling fast enough to potentially cross the white stop line when the light turns red. Each camera company operates differently, but usually the devices snap at least two photos showing the back of the vehicle at and in the intersection during a red light. Some companies also record a short digital video. Before any tickets are issued, the camera provider reviews the images and sends suspected violations to the local law enforcement agency. Police officers then determine whether to issue a citation. Tickets are mailed to the registered owner of the license plate, not necessarily the driver, and usually include copies of the photo evidence and a link to view more online. Drivers won’t know if they’ve been caught running a light until they receive a ticket in the mail.

Q: What if someone else is driving my car?

A: According to state statute, you will still be held liable for the fine unless you can show your car was used without your consent. In that case, you would be able to take the driver to court to recover the amount of the fine. That differs from Philadelphia’s program, which uses only still photos and exonerates the vehicle owner if he can prove he wasn’t driving, even if he knowingly let someone else take the wheel. In New Jersey, only rental car owners can get a ticket excused by providing the name and address of the person leasing the car at the time the ticket was issued. The law doesn’t say if the court then sends the violation to that driver.

Q: Will I get a ticket if I’m traveling through the intersection when a yellow light changes to red?

A: You shouldn’t. According to service providers, the cameras focus on vehicles crossing the white stop line painted on the road after the light turns red.

Q: What if I inch forward for a clear view to the left before making a right on red?

A: As long as you first come to a complete stop before the white line, local police say you shouldn’t get fined. Those who stop but overshoot the line, whether heading forward or into a turn, could still face a fine. Authorities will see from the series of pictures where the vehicle was when the light turned red and whether it continued progressing into the intersection just after that. It’s up to them to decide whether to ignore a violation if a vehicle has only nudged past the stop line.

Q: Will there be any forgiveness for special circumstances like emergencies or funeral processions?

A: Yes. If examiners can tell that an emergency vehicle or funeral procession ran the light, the violation would be dismissed, local police chiefs said. However, because the cameras capture only the backs of the vehicles, any other nonvisible circumstances would have to be raised in a court hearing.

Q: What if I believe I didn’t do anything wrong, regardless of what the video shows?

A: You can request a hearing to contest the ticket in municipal court. The ticket will include directions on how to set that up. Steve Carrellas, a state representative for the National Motorists Association, encourages drivers to request the latest available speed survey and yellow light timing for the intersection to use as evidence in court. With that information, he said, drivers can determine whether the yellow signal lasted long enough for them to come to a stop based on state regulations.

Networking – It IS effective

M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA

Hone your networking skills now. Here’s start from M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA.

Networking begins with a firm handshake, a look into the eyes and exchange of business cards. It is an important step in anyone’s personal [job seeking] plan that could lead to an interview and first “real” job.

To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

Portfolio Advice

To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

Portfolios…

With the trend toward brevity, my suggestion is…Limit your portfolio to you best “stuff.”

A three-ring binder still works. Your first page should be a brief applicant statement, similar to the one on your resume. That resume should be next, followed by examples of results-oriented products – carryout tactics that made it into the media or into targeted public’s hands.

They would include (in this order – from the simple to the more complex) a media alert, (hard) news release, a strong (soft) feature, newsletters (hardcopy and/or electronic), and such one-page publications as fliers, posters, inline e-mail attachments, etc.

Be careful not to overwhelm the recipient. Keep it as simple as possible (KISS).

And…if you have excellent products and want to knock the socks off a prospective employer, leave behind a copy of your portfolio – not a hardcopy and not on a CD, but a flash drive version.

You may not get a job with that person’s organization right away, but you will definitely be remembered for your work, ingenuity and outside the circle thinking. Be sure you have business cards to leave behind with your portfolio.

Other advice is welcome at:

larry@larrylitwin.com

Ready, Set, Resume

By M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

          Timing for a PRomo article about resumes couldn’t be better. As the new school year started, the world was celebrating “International Update Your Resume Month.” Who would have thought?

          How big a deal is the resume? Recently, on NPR [National Public Radio], experts agreed. “It’s the biggest deal. That’s what opens the door to the interview,” said Louis Barajas, finance expert and author.

          “If you don’t stick out like a sore thumb, if you don’t push yourself in front of everybody else, you won’t even get through the front door.”

          According to Laura DeCarlo of Career Directors International, “It’s completely an issue of whether you are going to stand out from the pack of what could be hundreds – even a thousand candidates.”

          How do you standout? First and foremost, applicants must sell themselves – emphasizing what they’ve done and how well they have done it. And, they have to do it in 15 to 20 seconds.

          Are you up to the challenge?

[  ]   Be a storyteller in few words. Help the employer recognize how you are above the competition with the same or similar skills and experience set.

[  ]   Use key words [scannable – meaning, keys words recognizable by certain computer software] that the prospective employer might be looking for. Many times, they’ll jump right off a firm or organization’s website. “The biggest problem I see with most people looking for jobs,” says Barajas, “is that they haven’t done enough research on the company or the position. They’re not using the words that the employer is looking for.”

[  ]   Customize your resume for the employer and position. Ask yourself the question, “If I were hiring, what would I be looking for.”

[  ]   Proofread, proofread, proofread. Typos can turn the perfect resume into an office joke. [How many times has a public relations agency received a resume with the word public missing a key letter? Do not place your trust in spell check.

          Now some strategies and tactics that will get you noticed:

[  ]   Ditch the “objective.” Polish your resume by including a summary paragraph [just under your personal information] stating what you bring to the table, qualifications, experience and examples of a job well done. It should be succinct and contain buzzwords human resource managers look for –many of the same key message points you would include in an elevator speech. If that statement can be attributed to a third party, all the better. Here is an example:

Applicant Statement: My professor/advisor (Anthony J. Fulginiti) describes me as “mature beyond her years, articulate, well tailored and polished, loyal, has a passion for the profession, outstanding writer, and a skilled organizer and strategic thinker.” It is my dream to bring those qualities, passion and dedication to ELLE’s readers – just as I do the residents of Cherry Hill. My zest for knowledge and new challenges is contagious and should appeal to ELLE magazine’s staff and target audience.

[  ]   Do not exaggerate. Even recent graduates should be able to list positive outcomes on their resumes without stretching the truth.

[  ]   On entry-level resumes, present your college experience – including PRaction and PRomo. Highlight PRSSA, AdClub, AdDyamics and other results-oriented activities, and note if you attended college on a scholarship. Include summer jobs, highlight internships and jobs relevant to your degree.

[  ]   If your resume is two pages [do not go over two], and many PRSSA students will go over two pages, be sure to include contact information on the bottom right side of page two. One never knows if a hard version gets separated.

          In response to whether a resume should be one or two pages: According to NPR and its guests, “Some people are adamant that the resume should be only one page. Then others say, ‘Well, if you really want to let people know the breadth of your experience, then, of course, you should take two.”

          If you’ve ever wondered what terms employers search for, here are results of a recent CareerBuilder.com study:

Problem-solving and decision-making skills (50 percent)

Oral and written communications (44 percent)

Customer service or retention (34 percent)

Performance and productivity improvement (32 percent)

Leadership (30 percent)

Technology (27 percent)

Team-building (26 percent)

Project management (20 percent)

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]