My Causerie

"All great change in America begins at the dinner table." ~ Ronald Reagan

Using the LinkedIn Cheat Sheet February 8, 2016

Filed under: ACS 213,ACS 313 — mycauserie @ 7:00 am

This is a long infographic, but it contains a lot of valuable tips to help you build your LinkedIn profile. If you are just starting out on LinkedIn, reviewing this infographic is well worth your time. Summer internships and post-graduation job interviews are just around the corner, and your LinkedIn profile is a great way to start building your professional network and online reputation. LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_01 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_02 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_03 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_04 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_05 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_06 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_07 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_08 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_09 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_10 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_11 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_12 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_13 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_14 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_15 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_16 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_17 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_18 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_19 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_20 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_21 LinkedIn Cheat Sheet_Page_22


This is what it means to be held February 1, 2016

Filed under: My Causerie — mycauserie @ 7:00 am
“This is what it is to be loved and to know that the promise was that when everything fell, we’d be held.”
Words from one of my favorite songs by Natalie Grant came to mind this week as we buried my cousin at the young age of 50. To go out on your family farm on a Sunday afternoon with your young daughter by your side and not return is appalling.
Yet the shared tears as loved ones came together told me, “This is what it is to be loved and to know that the promise was that when everything fell, we’d be held.”
From conversations with family and friends to the lesson in Sunday School yesterday, I have had plenty of opportunity to ponder the “whys” of this past week. For the most part, I have held it all in–mainly because to talk about it brings more tears than words right now. Whys are tough for all of us when our hearts are broken.
Yet the prayers of friends near and far told me, “This is what it is to be loved and to know that the promise was that when everything fell, we’d be held.”
I hear of miracles such as someone lifting a car or being brought back to life after a near-drowning, and I want to cry out asking, “Why no miracle that day?” But I know this is an imperfect world we live in, and we are not immune from the hurting. I realize God is much bigger than anything my finite mind could even begin to understand, so I trust in Him with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).
I witnessed a church family, immediate and extended families, friends and strangers embrace each other and celebrate the life of a young man who was committed to his God, his family and his community, which told me, “This is what it is to be loved and to know that the promise was that when everything fell, we’d be held.”
This past week, everything fell for our family. I’m not going to lie; it was a hard fall. We are hurting. For my cousin’s wife, daughter and mom, the healing will take time. But I know they felt God’s embrace through the words and actions of so many, and they will continue to show them, “This is what it is to be loved and to know that the promise was that when everything fell, we’d be held.”



Is your glass half empty or half full? January 25, 2016

Filed under: ACS 213,ACS 313 — mycauserie @ 7:00 am

College. Coworkers. Family. Friends. Homework. Housework; it never ends! What’s the common denominator in this riddle?

Photo Credit: symphony of love via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: symphony of love via Compfight cc

Did you guess, “Things I complain about?” Would you have ever guessed, “Things I am thankful for?” If not, ask yourself, “Why not?”

The reality is we live in a fast-paced world; often a way-too-fast-paced world. It can get to the best of us, and if we let it, it can suck the joy out of each and every day. What this does to us is much more than just putting a frown on our face.

Studies tout the health benefits of positive thinking. From better stress management to a longer life span, you should take the power of positive thinking seriously. And if you have a “glass half empty” attitude, cheer up! You can actually learn to become a more positive person.

How can you do that? Meditation, exercise or surrounding yourself with positive people might be a few ideas that come to mind. What about writing? Would you ever consider writing as a way to make your glass half full again?

One study found that students who wrote about positive experiences had better mood levels, fewer visits to the health center and experienced fewer illnesses. Did you hear that PR students: that weekly blogging assignment can actually put you in a better mood and keep you healthier. You can thank me later!

I also want to point out that keeping your writing positive is not only good for your health, it is also good for your career, which in turn, is probably good for your health! You may not think complaining about college, coworkers, family, friends, homework or housework is a big deal, but consider it from the employer’s viewpoint. If you are constantly complaining on social media, what employer is going to say, “Yes! That’s the type of person I want working for our company!” It doesn’t take posting a drunken handstand picture to cost you a job; just being a negative person who complains a lot is enough to raise a red flag to a prospective employer.

When you are blogging, posting or tweeting, think about the image you are portraying. Are you a  problem solver or part of the problem? Does a busy day with a long to-do list stress  you out, or do you tackle that list with enthusiasm? Do you display a sense of professionalism in the way you handle customers at your job or peers you are working with on a group project at school?

How would you describe your digital footprint? If you are leaving a dirty trail, then now is the time to clean up your digital dirt.

Pull up a chair and let’s talk.




Helping you find your writing mojo January 18, 2016

Filed under: ACS 213,ACS 313 — mycauserie @ 7:00 am
Tags: ,

As we begin another semester of blogging, I thought it might be fitting to share some writing tips. Beginners and seasoned professionals can attest to the fact that everyone can hit a wall at some point with their writing. But instead of letting your writing crash and burn, there are a lot of helpful tips that can keep you motivated and meeting deadlines.

Your best writing may not happen the same way it does for one of your peers; everyone needs to find their own

Photo Credit: Cali4beach via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Cali4beach via Compfight cc

writing mojo. If you are just starting out in your writing career, you might be thinking, “How exactly do I find my writing mojo?”

Thankfully that job is a lot easier in this digital world. Simple searches like blogging, writers block or writing motivators will produce several links with tips to help you find your writing mojo.

“How to get motivated to write for your blog” by Ali Luke offers some great advice. I like all five of Luke’s steps, but No. 1 stands out to me especially for college students. Sometimes students say coming up with the post ideas is the hardest part of the blogging assignment, which is why I encourage students to jot down ideas as they come to them. Whether that means you carry a notebook with you or you use a favorite app on your phone, such reminders can serve as great writing prompts later. In the past, my method was to keep a pen and paper in my nightstand. I would pull them out and jot something down in complete darkness. It wasn’t the best penmanship, but it was enough to remind me of the idea I had in the middle of the night! Now with my phone by my bedside, I can just type a quick note to myself. The point is, you never know when inspiration will strike; be prepared.

Maybe it’s not a lack of ideas but a lack of motivation that is causing your writing stress. Take a look at “Lost your motivation to write? The one thing that helps” by Len Markidan. I like the idea of making better use of our “motivation waves.” This concept helps us be more productive–not just at that peak moment–but later too when our motivation hits another low. I have never looked at my peak work time in this way, but it makes a lot of sense; I definitely want to test this one out.

This last article was actually written for faculty who sometimes tend to let their own writing go to the wayside, but it can hold true for busy college students too. Professor Sharon McGee, from the SIUE English Language and Literature Department, offers some great tips, and No. 1 on her list is a good one, especially for students in the ACS 313 online class.

“Pay yourself first.” If saving is your priority, you will put that money aside first–before the other incidentals eat away at your paycheck. And as McGee points out, this is also a great perspective for writing. If improving your writing is your priority, you will put that time aside first–before the other incidentals eat away at your day. Blocking out that time each day to focus on your writing is important…and the timer is a great idea too! It doesn’t seem nearly as overwhelming if you know all you are doing is 15 minutes or 30 minutes of writing. We can do that.

What about you? Have you come across some creative strategies to keep your writing mojo in tact? If so, be sure to share.

In the meantime, pull up a chair and let’s talk.



Tips to make your writing fun January 11, 2016

Filed under: ACS 313 — mycauserie @ 7:00 am

You’re about to start another heavy load of college course work including a public relations writing class, and you’re thinking, “Where’s the fun in that?”

Well here’s some great tips that can make a writing class fun and successful. So, take a break–it’s actually recommended, grab a leftover Reese’s peanut butter Christmas blob…uh, tree, and get ready to laugh and learn.

Kristin Piombino, associate editor for, will have you laughing, if for no other reason than to keep from crying as you think about all the writing you have to do this semester, while reading her post “8 struggles every communicator understands.”

Every struggle she mentions is real, but the way she talks about them is kind of funny too. If you’ve experienced any of these struggles, you probably didn’t see any humor in the situation at the time. However, I am hoping after reading Piombino’s post, you will face these writing woes with more wit than worry. And if you take the time to read the helpful links, you will approach your writing with more determination than doubt.

From writing bathroom limericks to binge eating, to detoxing your inbox to learning to take an unplugged vacation, take some advice from public relations professionals who know the pressure of writing deadlines but have discovered fun and creative ways to get the job done.

Speaking of creativity, it seems to be the secret ingredient in making writing fun and successful. Want some ideas to get your creative juices flowing? Check out this video by Japanese design firm To-Fu.

In the meantime, pull up a chair and let’s talk.



Tis the Season…for Filling Out Applications December 3, 2015

Filed under: ACS 213,ACS 313 — mycauserie @ 11:56 pm
Photo Credit: Wolfram Burner via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Wolfram Burner via Compfight cc

Tis the season to be jolly…while filling out applications for internships, scholarships, awards and jobs!

If you are looking for a spring internship, be sure to check out the SIUE Department of Applied Communication Studies Alumni group on LinkedIn. There are several opportunities posted, and many of the spring deadlines are quickly approaching, so you need to act fast!

If you are a proactive, moving-my-career-forward kind of a person…and a PRSSA member, you should check out the PRSSA Internship Center. You will find internship opportunities that are available across the country. We just talked about the advantages of getting diverse internship experience in class, and I cannot stress enough how your internship experiences–or lack thereof–will speak volumes to prospective employers.

Don’t need an internship? Well keep those laptops open because there are ample opportunities to apply for other scholarships and awards through PRSSA. More than $30,000 is awarded to PRSSA members and Chapters every year.

Deadlines for the various scholarships and awards begin in January and extend through September with many being due in June and July. Sarah (Rohner) Gebke, ACS and PRSSA alumna, was the recipient of both the Lawrence G. Foster award and the John D. Graham scholarship in 2012. Could you be the recipient of one of these awards in 2016?

Sarah (Rohner) Gebke

Sarah (Rohner) Gebke

Maybe you are past internships and scholarships–about to walk across that stage in a few weeks with your diploma in hand. If that’s the case, you definitely want to keep that laptop humming because you have job applications to complete!

If you are a PRSSA member, be sure to check out the PRSA Jobcenter, which gives you access to more than 1,000 communications and public relations job openings.

Networking is integral part of today’s job search, and your involvement in PRSSA, internships, volunteerism and active engagement with other professionals on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter all play a role in developing your professional network.

Speaking of networking, would you like to attend a fun networking social? SIUE PRSSA Chapter is hosting a holiday social at Big Daddy’s in Edwardsville, Friday, Dec. 4 from 7-9 p.m. Alumni are also invited, which could give you a chance to ask questions and get advice from recent graduates and seasoned professionals.

Tis the season…are you ready?

Pull up a chair and let’s talk.




Changing Priorities in the workplace November 9, 2015

Filed under: ACS 213,ACS 313 — mycauserie @ 7:00 am
Photo Credit: eskimo_jo via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: eskimo_jo via Compfight cc

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”–Winston Churchill

Work-life balance is a buzz word in today’s American culture. Not that many of us have it mastered, but I think many of us wish we could.

The infographic at gives some great tips. From setting priorities to actually scheduling fun, we need to become more intentional about finding a healthy balance in life. And it appears, the younger generation is leading by example.

Despite the negative comments we often hear about the millennial generation, several studies say millennials tend to have a better grasp of the work-life concept than do most of us baby boomers.

Millennials don’t live for work, they work to live. Even millennials who admit they have a bad reputation have the insight in using the traits often deemed negatively to their advantage.

From boomer-generation management to millennial new hires, I think there are learning opportunities from both sides of the bargaining table. I look forward to inviting alumni back into the classroom years down the road to hear firsthand how they are managing work-life balance in their careers.

What about you? Do you need help with work-life balance? If so, I suggest finding yourself a millennial mentor!

Pull up a chair and let’s talk.



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