Archive for February, 2008

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Quotations on Listening and Caring

February 28, 2008

Earlier this month, so many people I care about were struggling in so many ways . . . the death of friends in a car accident, serious health issues, and more. What could I possibly say to them to help ease their pain? I thought and thought. And then I remembered the two most important words in situations like these: “I’m listening.”

Here are several of my favorite quotations on listening and caring:

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. — Leo Buscaglia

Only when the clamor of the outside world is silenced will you be able to hear the deeper vibration. Listen carefully. — Sarah Ban Breathnach

Listening is noting what, when and how something is being said. Listening is distinguishing what is not being said from what is silence. Listening is not acting like you’re in a hurry, even if you are. Listening is eye contact, a hand placed gently upon an arm. Sometimes, listening is taking careful notes in the person’s own words. Listening involves suspension of judgment. It is neither analyzing nor racking your brain for labels, diagnoses, or remedies before the person is done relating her symptoms. Listening, like labor assisting, creates a safe space where whatever needs to happen or be said can come. — Allison Para Bastien

My only advice is to stay aware, listen carefully and yell for help if you need it. — Judy Blume

I tell you everything that is really nothing, and nothing of what is everything, do not be fooled by what I am saying. Please listen carefully and try to hear what I am not saying. — Charles C. Finn

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Quotations on Listening and Family

February 27, 2008

As we approach International Listening Awareness Month (sponsored by the International Listening Association) in March, let’s take some time to reflect on several quotations about listening and its impact on our families. 

The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them. — Ralph Nichols

Education commences at the mother’s knee, and every word spoken within the hearing of little children tends towards the formation of character. – Hosea Ballou

I think a lot of our problems are because people don’t listen to our children. It is not always easy. They’re not always so brilliant that you want to spend hours with them. But it is very important to listen to them. – Barbara Bush

Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. – Robert Fulghum

The most valuable gift you can give your child is to listen to the little and big things in his life. Begin early so that the lines of communication will be open during the teenage years. – Kimberly Keith

Just talking to your child is only half the job. You can keep the lines of communication open by knowing how to listen and when to talk. — National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign

Listen earnestly to anything [your children] want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff. But unless they are talking to you, stay out of it. Indiscriminate eavesdropping is a threat to parental sanity. – Catherine M. Wallace

Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole. – Eudora Welty

Don’t feel that you must advise or help your child come up with a solution all the time. The value of listening is in the listening itself. – Kimberly Keith

The words that a father speaks to his children in the privacy of home are not heard by the world, but, as in whispering galleries, they are clearly heard at the end, and by posterity. – Jean Paul Ricther

The little child whispered, “God, speak to me.” And a meadowlark sang. But the child did not hear. So the child yelled, “God, speak to me!” And the thunder rolled across the sky. But the child did not listen. The child looked around and said, “God let me see you.” And a star shone brightly. But the child did not notice. And the child shouted, “God show me a miracle!” And a life was born. But the child did not know. So the child cried out in despair, “Touch me God, and let me know you are here!” Whereupon God reached down and touched the child. But the child brushed the butterfly away and walked away unknowingly. Take time to listen. Often times, the things we seek are right underneath our noses. Don’t miss out on your blessing because it isn’t packaged the way that you expect. — Anonymous

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Social bookmarking is del.icio.us

February 18, 2008

This afternoon, we explored the wonders of del.icio.us social bookmarking. Put simply, it’s a great way to store your bookmarks online, access them from any computer, and share them with others easily. The Common Craft Show video “Social Bookmarking in Plain English” below shows how del.icio.us works in a fun way.

Here’s how del.icio.us describes itself:

del.icio.us is a collection of favorites – yours and everyone else’s. You can use del.icio.us to:

  • Keep links to your favorite articles, blogs, music, reviews, recipes, and more, and access them from any computer on the web.
  • Share favorites with friends, family, coworkers, and the del.icio.us community.
  • Discover new things. Everything on del.icio.us is someone’s favorite — they’ve already done the work of finding it. So del.icio.us is full of bookmarks about technology, entertainment, useful information, and more. Explore and enjoy.

Want to see my bookmarks? Visit http://del.icio.us/listeningmatters

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Writing News Features

February 18, 2008

Our discussions today in Public Relations Writing focused on writing news features. How are features different from other stories? How can you get one published? As I promised my class, I am sharing the slides from today’s class.

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Resumes That Resonate: Tips for Entry-Level Positions

February 13, 2008

What’s the purpose of a resume? It’s not to get you a job. . . instead, it’s to provide a positive first impression that MAY garner an interview for you. The advice below comes from my years of being – and listening to – hiring leaders. If you’re lucky, hiring leaders may scan your resume for up to 15 seconds before they determine if it’s worth pursuing further.

  • Tailor your resume to the specific position that you’re applying for. Use the same phrasing in your resume that you’ve found in the employer’s want ad whenever possible.
  • If you have less than 10 years of experience, it’s best to stick to the traditional one-page resume. Each additional 10 years helps you “earn” an additional page. (If you want or need to provide more details, offer the URL of your LinkedIn profile. See my profile.)
  • Pepper your resume with terms that are relevant to the career field and industry in which you desire employment. Phrase your work experience in terms that are relevant to your career goal.
  • Use reverse chronological order (most recent first) when listing your experience and education.
  • If you are still in college, it’s okay to leave your high school on your resume if you have available space for it, especially if you did something noteworthy during your high school years. After you graduate from college, leave high school off your resume.
  • Always start every bullet point in your experience section with an action verb. Use past tense for previous jobs and present tense for current jobs.
  • If you have little paid work experience, provide details on projects done in classes to show that you are prepared to enter the working world.
  • Volunteer experience counts too! Don’t forget to include service projects you’ve been involved with.
  • Explain acronyms and cryptic group names on resumes. A potential employer will not automatically know that SOCS stands for Society of Communication Scholars, ILA stands for International Listening Association, or that PRestige is a public relations firm made up of college students.
  • Many employers assume that if an organization’s name includes greek letters, it’s a social fraternity or sorority. If you belong to something Phi Kappa Phi, indicate that this is an honor society.
  • What to do about that GPA? If it’s above 3.0 (on a 4-point scale), you may want to include it. If it starts with a 2 or lower, definitely leave it off. Or, you can include your GPA just in your major if you’d like, for example “3.4 GPA in Major.”
  • Before you graduate, you can still include your anticipated degree on your resume. For example, “Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations expected in May 2008.”

For entry-level public relations positions, Jennifer Abshire of Abshire Public Relations & Marketing offers these additional suggestions:

  • Leave the objective off, or customize it for the specific position you’re applying for. Don’t use a generic one that you found on a template somewhere.
  • Include all your work experience, even if it seems not directly related to the position. (The worst that will happen is that it will show that you are a hard worker.) Abshire holds in high regard people who are well rounded and street smart, rather than with a high GPA and no work experience or community involvement.
  • Send a few samples of your writing or design work along with your resume.
  • If sending your resume (and samples) electronically, make one PDF file that has all the information in it, rather than sending multiple attachments. (For an inexpensive and easy-to-use program for creating PDFs, try CutePDF.)

After you’ve created your resume, have several people proofread it for you. Set it aside for a while. Then measure your resume up against this Resume Checklist.

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Key Points from a PR Professional

February 11, 2008

On behalf of my Public Relations Publications classes at Georgia Southern University, I’d like to thank Jennifer Abshire and Summer Ivie from Abshire Public Relations & Marketing for sharing their expertise with us today.

Below is a quick summary of the key points – in no particular order – of their time with us.

  • Get published. (Actually, it’s GET PUBLISHED – read that as though I’m yelling; it’s that important.) Your potential employers in the field of public relations may be mildly interested in writing you did for class projects. They are intrigued by what you got published for your clients.
  • Start to develop relationships with members of the media in your market.
  • When you write a news release, expect lots of time to be spent with follow-up with both your client and the media. It’s not a one-shot deal. Then scour the media to see if your release was printed. Make an electronic copy of it for your files.
  • The design principle of KISS (Keep It Simple Silly) should be followed in PR publications.
  • Listen carefully to your clients, your co-workers and the media.
  • To show your value to a client, calculate the ad-equivalent for news releases that are published. (Find out how much the equivalent advertising space would cost the client.) Make a booklet with copies of the articles and a spreadsheet that shows the date the article ran, article title, publication name, # of publication readers, and ad-equivalent cost.
  • Start and frequently contribute to a blog about something you’re passionate about. This will help you hone your writing skills. (Starting one here at WordPress is free and literally takes two minutes, max.)
  • PR employers are looking for entry-level employees who are tech savvy – more savvy than they are – and people who can help their company grow.
  • Create a one-page resume if you’re just coming out of college. (Jennifer mentioned that she scans resumes for just a few seconds before she determines if she’ll read the whole thing.)
  • Start looking for a job at least six months before you graduate.

In a future posting, I’ll offer tips (some mine, some Jennifer’s) on writing a resume, specifically for entry-level public relations positions.

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Quotations on Listening and Freedom

February 5, 2008

Free speech carries with it some freedom to listen. — Warren Burger

What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to. — Hansell B. Duckett

The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen. — Tommy Smothers

While the right to talk may be the beginning of freedom, the necessity of listening is what makes that right important. — Walter Lippmann

And, if we care to listen, we can always hear them. Men are not innocent as beasts and never can be. Man can improve himself but never will himself be perfect, Only the free have disposition to be truthful, Only the truthful have the interest to be just, Only the just possess the will power to be free. — W.H. Auden

The truth which makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear. — James Bishop

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears. — Julius Caesar

The grace of listening is lost if the listener’s attention is demanded, not as a favour, but as a right. — Pliny the Younger

A politician’s willingness to listen to good advice rises in inverse proportion to how badly he thinks he is doing. — Pat Caddell

I’ll defend to the death your right to say that, but I never said I’d listen to it! — Tom Galloway

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously. — Hubert Humphrey