Get anxious? Get answers!

27 Mar

Every post-graduate student undergoes one very stressful and unavoidable circumstance…

Applying for INTERNSHIPS!

And before we get an those internships we go through 10 necessary steps:

  1. Get anxious
  2. Seek job’s you in a field that interests you
  3. Research that company inside and out
  4. Get anxious..
  5. Update resume and cover letter and send it to the company of interest
  6. Get really anxious…
  7. Wait to hear a response
  8. Receive a response. And prep for interview
  9. Stay up all night worrying about interview
  10. Go for the interview

Oh and did I mention stressing about hearing back from the company?

Your order may be a little different, but there is one thing on that list that remains consistent for all student internship seekers: Anxiety!

Just think about what this anxiety does to us….

Lack of sleep.

Poor diet.

Weak immune system.

Grey hair, wrinkles, and back pain! Eek!

To combat this frightening future version of ourselves I am recommending 3 strategies to keep us calm, cool and collected as we venture into the shark tank!

Anxiety Reducer #1. Nature strolls

Walking amongst the trees in the crisp spring air and soft dewy grass does wonders for clearing our head, mind and relaxing our heart. The Globe and Mail, actually posted an article about the health benefits of nature walks. These peaceful walks help to lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety and even improves our memory. So if you’re feeling stressed, step out into that fresh air and walk amongst the trees. I’m sure it will bring you some clarity.

Anxiety Reducer #2: Take a yoga class.

There is a reason why this form of exercise has been practiced for over 5,000 years… and that’s because this workout satisfies both the body and the mind. Yoga’s combination of “yin” and “yang” takes the body through a variety of experiences from power and control, to stretch and relaxation. Yoga helps reduce our blood pressure and improve heart function. Not to mention improving our digestion, circulation and stress levels! The practice focuses strongly on breathing during the exercise, which helps deliver fresh oxygen to our lungs and rids the body of carbon dioxide and toxins. After this workout you will feel much more relaxed and rejuvenated. If yoga is too expensive check the yoga classes near you for community classes, they often offer community classes a few times a week where yogi’s pay under $10. Try it out! If you keep an open mind I promise it will be worth it.

Anxiety Reducer #3: Connect with friends and family.

Even in times of high stress we cannot forget about our relationships with friends and family. Taking a couple hours a week to spend time with family and friends works wonders for the body and spirits. Communicating with others makes us feel connected and supported. It also helps to take our mind off the stresses of our own lives and think about others. I suggest you invite your friends over for a dinner party. I did this last week and it was a great way to relax and connect. Also, call your family members and have a catch up. What has your brother and sister been up to lately? Feeling connected and supported relieves feelings of anxiety and can even add clarity to decisions you are uncertain about.

But, don’t forget the golden rule…

“Laughter is the best medicine.”

Remember to be positive and add a little humour into your life. When you’re friends are over, turn on a romcom. Laughter is the best way to bring your body back to balance. Laughing lightens our moods and boosts our relationships. It helps to relax our tensed body, boost our immune system and it even releases “feel good” endorphins into the body offering relief and clarity.

Try these three strategies during this stressful time and I’m sure you will go into those interviews feeling much for confident and grounded. In fact, try one of these anytime you’re feeling anxious. They have really helped to reduce my anxious feelings and I hope it works just as well for you.

Miss. Young and Chatty

P.S. – learn more about managing stress

Testicular Cancer Canada wants us to check ’em!

13 Mar

Screen Shot 2013-03-13 at 6.08.31 PM

A few weeks ago I attended the new launch of “Testicular Cancer Canada,” at Screen Lounge. This event was to launch the new name and branding of what used be knows as “The Canadian Testicular Cancer Association.” Couch Creative partnered up with the charity to offer their knowledge and support in the marketing, advertizing, media and PR realm for the charity.

This event is a great example of a successful new product launch, in terms of branding, social media and partnerships this charity knows how to break through the “charity clutter.”

“It’s that time of the month,”

reads the homepage of the website, intriguing audiences through a touch of humour to encourage readers to continue. Then, they explain their mission: Go Check Yo Self!

“You don’t need permission to check ‘em regularly. In fact, it could save your life. Testicular cancer is the most prevalent cancer in men aged 15 to 29, but it’s also among the most treatable.”

“That time of the month” no longer pertains only to women, TCC  encourages audiences that monthly checkings of oneself could mean saving your life if your male.

Look.

Hold.

Feel.

Repeat.

They even have a cheeky YouTube video “Get To Know Your Balls,” asking men whether they have checked themselves recently, and to explain how to do it.

So why is this successful? Because this charity understands how to bring out humour in a conversation that most young men find embarrassing. In a society where communication around breast cancer is widely supported and discussed, we should demand the same courtesy to males. Testicular Cancer does this. Their campaigning is so effective because it tells guys that it’s okay to talk about this issue, which in the past has been shamed and avoided. The charity takes it one step further with their racy new partner, “What About Balls?” A company that sells paraphernalia with slogans like, “balls have feeling too,” and “boobies, boobies, boobies, what about balls?”

From a small charity in Kitchener, and the only charity in Canada that supports testicular cancer, this charity is bold with the spunk needed to make a statement, intrigue Canadians and make a national impact on testicular cancer awareness.

Congratulations Testicular Cancer Canada on an amazing new launch! Best of luck, and I’ll make sure my friends keep on top of “checking ‘em” 😉

Miss. Young and Chatty

P.S. – take a peek at Testicular Cancer Canada’s new website

P.P.S – take a peek at the “What About Balls?” hot new items

The CCC: Carnival Cruise Crisis

20 Feb

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It seems that the Communications department at Carnival Cruise had a busy week after an engine room fire left the Carnival Triumph without power or sanitation. Yikes! This incident highlights how companies are turning to social media to communicate to the public, particularly during times of crisis. It today’s world, it is essential for companies to be on top of communication platforms to survive. I dedicate this blog post to looking at how Carnival Cruise handled external communication, and their use of social media to do so.

Where they quick to respond?

Were their key messages present?

And most of all, were they successful?

The incident with the Carnival Triumph occurred on Sunday February 10, leaving more than 4,200 passengers sleeping for five days on sewage-soaked carpets and open decks, and with very limited food supply. Carnival Cruise was quick to respond to the crisis via their Facebook and Twitter platforms. Throughout the incident Carnival would post new information every few hours with updates about Triumph’s status, the passengers and the logistics. The fire occurred on Sunday morning, and by 7:30 p.m. a wall post to Facebook described the incident, the conditions, and the steps being taken to fix the issue, along with how they planned to reimburse guests. Carnivals quick communication response using Facebook was absorbed positively by Facebook fans who showed their support for the Cruise line and prayers for the guests to make it home safely. Carnivals’ strong communication techniques through social media highlights the positive influence timely communication can have an audiences, regardless of whether the information is negative.  In this way Carnival positioned themselves as being quick to respond, the updates portrayed Carnival as in control of the situation and taking the incident seriously.

The press conference, on the other hand, was an area where Carnival lost marks on reputation. It was delivered by CEO Gerry Cahill, and held two days after the incident. First of all,

two days = too late.

Holding the press conference two days after the incident did not reflect “quick response,” by the communications team. Instead it made the company looked unprepared, unsure of what to say, and scared of criticism by the media. Had the press conference been held 24 hours after the fire, the company would have been perceived as being invested in the situation and open to communication with the public. This would have strengthened their reputation and perhaps reduced the negative media coverage they received from the press.

Additionally, Cahill needed much better media training, and a better structured speech. Cahill’s speech jumped around the key messages with little structure or flow. Today, the CEO’s image is becoming increasingly important in representing the company brand. Cahill seemed to be getting lost in the story, and the key messages were lost. This reflected negatively on Carnival as they could not deliver their message quickly and concisely. Had Cahill started by stating the Carnival’s key values, apologized for failing to follow through on their values, describing the current state of the cruise and the steps taking place to get guests home safely and quickly, Carnival would have had the audience on his side. He could have then gone on to thank crewmembers and the guests for their outstanding bravery and handling of the issue. Cahill could have then ended with the procedures taking place to ensure this doesn’t happen again and how they plan on compensating their guests. Jumping from idea to idea instead left the audience confused and critical of his speech.

Regardless of the press conference Carnival’s strong social media and overall crisis management placed them in a positive position. Although they have received negative media coverage this week, I would argue that this is almost unavoidable during times of crisis communications. Their timely response to the issue, and strong communications techniques smothered helped to smother the flames, and stop the story from getting hotter. Now that the guests are safely home, the fire is out and it will hopefully be smooth sailing for Carnival.

Wishing Carnival all the best in the weeks to come,

Miss. Young and Chatty

P.S. Check out Carival’s Facebook and Twitter page to see how they handled the crisis.

Lessons Learned at the IABC Speed Networking Event

6 Feb

On January 23, 2013, IABC hosted the annual Speed Networking Event. My fellow Centennial College students and I attended, eagerly hoping to gain insight and build relationships with leading PR professionals. The event promised a successful night, rich with PR practitioners from all fields: corporate, agency, healthcare and not-for-profit, who discussed what to expect in our PR future.

Of the many lessons I learnt the following top three had the biggest impact on me personally.

Learning Lesson #1: The importance of standing out

The night was a full-house with A LOT of PR students present. This was a big eye opener for me as I realized the level of competition this field entails. Not only do I have to compete with fellow Centennial Students for positions, but also students from other graduate programs! As a result I learned the importance of standing out, and being unique. As we apply for internships we all look the same on paper:  University graduates, in the process of completing a PR post-graduate program, desperately seeking a PR career in the field of _(fill in the blank)  .

So how does a student stand out amongst their peers in the PR world? Here are some useful tips I received: Join IABC and CPRS, it shows you are serious about the industry. Volunteer in the field you are passionate about. Take advantage of extra curricular events, create a blog and post frequently, and follow companies and agencies on Twitter and tweet them. These are great tips that could put us one-step ahead in the race. It’s simple, doable, and makes a great impact!

Learning Lesson #2: Build strong networking connections

The event in itself was a great opportunity to network. Speakers welcomed us to add them as connections on LinkedIn, send them an e-mail, and ask any questions we had about the industry. They even stayed after the event to speak one on one with students. But, our efforts don’t end there. Speakers encouraged us to build strong networking connections through follow up. (Which is another useful way to stand out amongst the crowd.) They explained that when making connections with those that interest us it’s important to maintain those connections. Add them on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn and Twitter. This helps to tell us where they get involved, who they are connected to and what interests them. It can also tell a lot about our future career if we follow down the same path, and whether or not this field is right for us. Sending a thank-you e-mail is another way to strengthen relationships, show your interest and build positive perception. Asking for a “coffee meet” in an e-mail to further discuss their experience strengthens our enthusiasm and allows us to build a stronger connection; and they may even be impressed by our outgoing attitude.

Lesson #3: Pick a field you are passionate about!

I think this was the most important lesson of the night. On more than one occasion our speakers raised the point,

“If you are passionate about your work, it won’t feel like work.”

I think this is an important consideration when choosing our future careers. If we are passionate about the work we do, it will come naturally, creatively and successfully. Personally, I’m seeking a career where I can contribute my talents to make an impact on a local, global or national scale. As I look for a future career in PR, I will seek placements that share these values. I truly believe that finding a job that is consistent with my values will be crucial not only to my success, but my happiness.

In conclusion I’d like to send a BIG warm thanks to the IABC for putting on this event and allowing me to take away so much! I look forward to a long and happy PR career!

Bye for now,

Miss. Young and Chatty

Livestrong? or Livewrong?

22 Jan

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The whole world is talking about Lance Armstrong, and his exclusive interview with Oprah this week.  The publicity for this interview promised a “tell all,” where Lance would speak openly and honestly about the secret doping program which lead him to sporting fame and fortune, and talk about his life since his most private secret was revealed. This was Lance’s chance to win back some of the broken-hearted fans, angry public, and maybe even endorsers and the cycling world.

Was it a success?

I think not.

Perhaps it is his no-fail egocentric personality that allowed Lance to appear overly poised. But, for him to win back the likes of audiences around the globe tuned into OWN on Thursday and Friday evening, a struggling and distraught Armstrong may have been a better guise.

What made Lance so unlikable was his inability to take responsibility for his actions. There was a constant division between the guy he was and the guy he is now. I think it’s a little too soon for Lance to claim he has been through the worst part, reborn a new and better man. To his credit, he did insist that he is still paying the price, but many times he referred to himself as a past Lance, one that was removed from the person he is now, with phrases like “that was a guy who…,”  and “that was a narcissistic guy that…,” when asked about his actions.

“It’s a guy who expected to get whatever he wanted, and control every outcome.”

Too often Lance responded to Oprah’s questions replacing the word “I” with “that guy” and substituting the word “me” for a general “you.” When Oprah asked if Lance believed he put pressure on his teammates to dope, he responding by saying something like, “when you are the captain of your team, you lead by example,” instead of, “yes, I did influence my teammates because I was the captain of my team, and I led by example.”

I believe this made it hard for Lance to win over the hearts of audiences worldwide, who were hoping he would admit to his mistakes and show some personal turmoil. I do believe it was important for Lance to reveal an honest face, and I think he did this. An open and honest interview was his best shot at redemption. However, I believe that Lance could have improved the way he discussed the truth. Maybe, with a little PR prepping, he could have answered difficult questions with more clarity, to let the audience better understand his story. Often Oprah asked Lance why he acted the way he did….

how could he deny allegations so hostile….

and how could he attack the people who accused him with such self righteous insistence?

Lance didn’t seem to have a response to her questions, except to say,

“that was a guy who was defiant and arrogant.”

It appears to me that during his competing years Lance was moving back and forth between a real world and a fantasy world. In his real world, Lance used doping and cheating to get ahead in the sport. In his fantasy world, Lance was a superhero – a perfect athlete that could do no wrong. As a result, Lance adopted two personas – an on screen and off screen character. Too easily Lance’s fantasy persona became his reality, and he began to believe his own lies.

Had Lance explained this to Oprah, and said “I had lied about it so many times that it became my reality. It became so easy for me to say it, and for me to believe it,” he may have won over more viewers. I think this is what we were all looking for at home; an explanation for his actions, an answer to his madness. Had Lance continued, “I have serious personal issues I am working to fix. I suffer with narcissism and perfectionism to the point where I take things too far, do whatever it takes regardless of the consequences for others and myself to get there. I’m seeking help to fix these issues,” he may have received more empathy from viewers. After all, these words were never actually spoken, but he discussed these ideas many times describing himself as “sick,” “twisted,” and a “narcissist.”

Finally, when Oprah asked if he was a better person as a result of the truth leaking Lance responded “yes.” He referred to it as his second “survival,” the first being when he survived cancer. Eek!! Not the right analogy! Survivor suggests he’s overcome this crisis and that is a big mistake. There are many people who are still very hurt from his actions; probably not the best way to win over disillusioned fans. Not to mention, cancer is something that happens to you, not as punishment for some wrongdoing you’ve done.

And so, the future of Lance continues to look questionable. Oprah’s interview was one that could have helped to improve his name, and perhaps with the right PR prep he would have been better prepared to respond to Oprah’s interrogation. Instead, audiences worldwide will continue to question, criticize and condemn Lance for his actions.

As the saying goes,

“One meets his destiny often in the road he takes to avoid it.”

– French Proverb

For more information on Lance’s interview, hot from the press, click here.

With Every Pot of Gold Comes A Beautiful Rainbow

9 Oct

“Precious metal gold: worthy and valuable, important, and pure,” was the description from the iLearn2 workshop at Centennial College. Doug Bolger lead the  “Communicate Naturally” workshop informing the PR Crew about our communication habits.

4 colours were used to describe our personalities. My colours read:

  1. Gold
  2. Green
  3. Blue
  4. Orange

In a nutshell,

Gold Mines are those who are responsible, meet requirements and deadlines, are organized and love structure – They’re complete perfectionists!

Green Planets sees the big picture, are goal oriented and seek places to improve – They’re complete innovators!

Blue Oceans are calm, cool, and collected. They listens to others and care about their wellbeing. – They’re completely Zen!

Orange Skies are energetic and love the opportunity to perform. They hate detail and get bored easily. – They’re complete free spirits!

I’m rating the iLearn2 workshop 5 Gold Stars out of 5 for opening my eyes to my communication habits in ways I hadn’t considered. And another 5 out of 5 for accuracy…“Gold’s love detailed lists. They wake up hours before everyone to get their day ready, pack their lunch, work to exhaustion, shuffle home, and then bake a casserole for their new neighbour. ” Yep. That’s me. He must have called my roommate prior to the workshop because if you substitute “casserole” with “quinoa pilaf” he just described my day! 

Apart from Gold’s embarrassing idiosyncrasies, he also described our wonderful habits: “We love having Golds on our team! They are reliable, organized, and work harder than anyone to get the job done”

Then…

came the downsides….                                                .

“They are high maintenance, overly stressed, and are persistent about the smallest of details”

…And the final knock-out:

“They will probably be the first of your friends to get grey hair.” Another thing I can add to my stress list.

There is no doubt that I am a 24-karat gold. I recently finished a group project with the final print on glowing gold paper. Naturally, I volunteered to print it in order to have complete control over the final draft. It was beautiful! Visually stunning right down to the accuracy of the top corner staple. *Sigh… But, to get there involved some not-so-shining moments: teeth clenching, hostile texting, sleepless nights, and re-re-revision. “Hannah is not happy” ran the subject line of the 11 p.m. group e-mail before the project due date. Probably could have used a little more of a blue ocean in that e-mail…

And so, since the workshop I’ve begun to wonder…How am I perceived by others? As a stressed-out, control-freak, perfectionist? Am I wearing out those around me? Am I wearing out myself?

Don’t get me wrong, being Gold is awesome! I have great reference letters regarding my best shining gold moments. I get the job done, and I do it well. But sometimes that Gold stacks up really high…and it gets heavy…and my back starts to hurt.

So what would happen if I were to lessen the load? Add some other colours to the mix? Where did I put my inner orange and blue? I remember seeing them somewhere…

Imagine it like a fruit smoothie: a strawberry smoothie is tasty and refreshing, but blend it with banana and mango and it reaches a whole new level of deliciousness! The same goes for our colors: a palette of Gold gives us fine results, but add Green, Blue, and Orange and we become infused with innovation and insight.

Colour blending also contributes to successful teamwork. A great production schedule is infused with Orange’s ideas and energy, it considers Green’s big picture, it shines with Golden detail, and it’s all made possible with Blue’s mediating ability. Colour blending helps when talking to your team members. A Blue team member needs constant communication and feedback. An Orange needs guidance and follow up. A good communicator is a chameleon.  A Gold that can adapt to their group’s needs is a Gold in its purest form.

And so this takes me to (what I believe) was Doug’s takeaway message: “Don’t be afraid to let your other colours grow. We all hold each colour, maybe we’ve pushed one colour far away, but it’s there somewhere.”

Thanks iLearn2 for an inspiration and motivational workshop!

Bye for now,

Miss. Young and Chatty