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WORKSHOP: How to produce high quality video with your smartphone

Saturday, September 10 – 8:45 to noon
688 Sherbrooke Street West, room 1041

This hands-on crash course will teach you tips and tricks for shooting better smartphone video that will help you achieve your communication goals.

Join IABC and U.S.-based video production company Candidio for 90 minutes of practical tips on how to plan for shooting a video, covering topics such as key messages, script, alignment with comms and business objective; shooting tips, and editing!

Young Communicators In Motion

The International Association of Business Communicators’ (IABC) Montréal “speed style networking” event for student-professionals is back for its 2nd edition on May 3rd, 2016.

Canadian Public Relations Society: Professional Development Webinar






Social purpose, business value: The global trends that are transforming PR
Date: Tuesday, November 24, 2015

In this webinar, Dan Tisch APR, FCPRS, former chair of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, will argue that like every profession, public relations needs to articulate both a social purpose and a business value. The good news is that communicative organizations around the world are doing just that, creating living examples of two-way, symmetrical communication. Join Dan to discuss how understanding these practices and trends can help every professional articulate a stronger case for public relations – while helping PR become the management discipline of the twenty-first century.

Learn more and Register

Exclusive IABC/Montreal Event: November 4

Looking to find out more about what it takes to build a career in communications? Find out how the comms leaders that power Sid Lee, Hill+Knowlton, Massy-Forget and Mediative started their professional journeys. Attend this exclusive IABC/Montreal event on November 4 and share your CV with our outstanding panelists. We’re looking forward to meeting you and supporting the next generation of communicators!

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/billets-soiree-pour-connecter-et-sinspirer-inspiring-connections-for-your-future-19064256705 (more…)

Course: Mastering the Essentials of Excel

iStock-3-People-on-Computer-870x400MACES’ objective with the MS Suite workshop is to equip students with the necessary knowledge to maximise their use of the fundamental features of Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook, something that we hope will be of great benefit to students.

The Excel Course – Mastering the Essentials of Excel – will launch this semester in preparation for a full launch in the winter 2016 semester. Course details are as follows:

Mastering the Essentials of Excel

START DATE October 30, 2015
DURATION 4 weeks
TIME 18:00 – 20:30
LOCATION Lab 1285, 688 Sherbrooke St


¨      Indispensable keyboard shortcuts
¨      Organizing data in order to work efficiently in Excel
¨      Page set-up: using the fill handle, special cut and paste techniques
¨      Various addressing modes
¨      Financial functions (FV, PMT, IMPT, PPMT)
¨      Statistical Functions (AVG, COUNT, MIN, MAX, SUM)
¨      Median and logical functions (IF, COUNTIF, SUMIF, AND, NOT, OR)
¨      Date and time (NOW, TODAY)
¨      Text functions (TRIM, UPPER, LOWER, VLOOKUP, etc…)
¨      Automating layout custom formats and conditional formatting
¨      Creating graphics
¨      Updating multiple tabs
¨      Analysis tools: pivot tables, filters, and subtotals
¨      Using Scenarios
¨       Input control: protection and validation information

Students who wish take the course can register by emailing their name and student number to maces@mail.mcgill.ca. The deadline to sign up for the course is Wednesday, October 28, 2015, 17:00 p.m.

Networking Event with PR Industry Leaders – Friday, October 16

Join industry leaders as they share tips and advice for your next step in career success. Includes opportunities to mingle with featured speakers, students and alumni.

Marketing, Public Relations & Communications
Friday, October 16
5:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Frederic Harnois – Campaign Manager, Bloom Search Marketing
Leslie Quinton – Leader – Strategic Communication Practice, LRN
Lauren Scott – Communications and Public Relations Manager, Distech Controls
Jackson Wightman – Founder, Proper Propaganda

Free for McGill SCS students and alumni!
Places are limited.



Copyright © 2015 McGill University School of Continuing Studies. All rights reserved.
For more information:
McGill University School of Continuing Studies
E-mail: labourmarketconnections.scs@mcgill.ca | Telephone: 514-398-8800 ext. 04553

CTV’s Mutsumi Takahashi visits McGill PR Students

Ms Takahashi speaks to students during an open forum Q&A.

Ms Takahashi speaks to students during an open forum Q&A.

 Welcome to the new semester at McGill! The Public Relations Student and Alumni Network is pleased to launch this year’s blog along with exciting content on our Facebook and Twitter feed.

This year, we have a remarkable line-up of acclaimed industry leaders, media innovators, and thought leaders in the PR and communications field to discuss key issues and industry-related topics with our undergraduate and graduate students.

On October 5, André Durocher welcomed renowned journalist and television personality Mutsumi Takahashi to speak to students in the Basics of PR class. Ms Takahashi is a familiar and celebrated fixture in the Montreal media landscape as the chief news anchor of CTV Montreal News, and throughout her 30 year tenure, has distinguished herself as a leader in journalism and broadcast news.

“It’s not about my opinion – that’s for the OpEds and columnists. My job is say the facts. I say the facts as best I can.” – Mutsumi Takahashi (Read our live Tweets from Ms Takahashi’s discussion on our Twitter feed @McGill_PR)

During the informal Q&A, students asked various questions on topics ranging from media relationship building to journalistic integrity, newsroom day-to-days to on-camera blunders! Ms. Takahashi shared many personal reflections and real-life examples from her career to demonstrate the powerful and delicate bond shared among PR practitioners, members of the press, and the public.

Students also addressed the often difficult task of landing air time coverage, and with sharp wit and camera-ready poise, Ms Takahashi gave us a few pointers.


Ms Takahashi

Ms Takahashi provided real-life examples and personal reflections from her distinguished career as a journalist

– Be aware of what else is going on in the news and have an idea of what will be in the news.
– Do your homework! Do lots of research!
– Create and cultivate relationships with reporters; sometimes it’s easier to contact them directly [instead of the assignment editor] with interesting stories.
– Remember, your hook must have a local angle. International news can easily be found on the internet. People look to their local news for stories that will affect them directly.
– Keep in mind that a reporter receives hundreds of emails a day, every day. If you want her to cover your story, GET HER ATTENTION. You’ll need to send something that really stands out!

“If a reporter is a good reporter, they will want a good story.” – Mutsumi Takahashi (Read our live Tweets from Ms Takahashi’s discussion on our Twitter feed @McGill_PR)

Thanks to André and Ms Takahashi for letting us share this informative and engaging session! To learn more about the calendar of upcoming events and appearances and to discover more exclusive content, please visit our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter @McGill_PR, or LinkedIn.

Good career tips for PR students

Jackson Wightman who produces the blog Proper Propaganda, takes on old stereotypes about public relations and turns them around, in both the name of his firm/blog and his own title: Minister of Propaganda. (I admit to having had a quick intake of breath when I first saw it!) His focus will be of interest to students and recent grads looking to produce publicity results without the budget of a major corporation. He also mentioned our programs in his recent blog, where he gives some useful tips for people wanting to start a career in the public relations/communications field.

Life, the Universe, and Everything: A Real Life Q&A with your Student Representative

Contributed by Amanda Fritz

As a student representative for McGill’s Certificate of Public Relations program, I get asked a lot of questions. Last week, I was approached by a number of students with similar concerns about the ‘when’ and ‘why’ of how courses are offered in the certificate program. So off I went to see our program’s (infinitely) wise coordinator, Elizabeth Hirst, for some answers.

While I’ve already reported back personally to these students, we’ve decided to publicize this recent Q&A to help spread the word to others who might be similarly curious.

Q1) Has there been any discussion about holding more classes on the weekend, in addition to the few that are currently offered, for students whose work schedules don’t allow them to make a 6 pm start?

A1) We’re glad to hear that there’s interest in Saturday courses because Event Management (CPRL 228) is scheduled on Saturdays next fall. Because there are a finite number of teachers and classrooms available to McGill’s School of Continuing Studies, and because you don’t want to offer too many different classes on the same night of the week, it makes a lot of sense to offer this elective on the weekend. If it does well, there may be more Saturday classes. Holding classes on Saturday might also help out students who absolutely want to finish the program with the one-year track, though there is some hesitation to put core courses on weekends for those who absolutely can’t make it.

Q2) Is there any possibility of modifying the program timetable so that students beginning the certificate in winter could complete the required courses within a year (the way students who begin in fall can)?

A2) Your program administrators have turned their brains inside out trying to figure out a one-year track for students who start in winter. Right now, there just isn’t a way to fit everything in. We’re working on getting the go ahead to give some core courses more than once a year, which should help, as should having some courses given on Saturdays. Rest assured that we’re trying very hard to find a way to give winter-start students a possible one-year track.

Q3) Can I complete three undergraduate certificates and receive a Bachelor’s degree?

A3) Yes and no. In Québec it’s only the French language universities that will award you a bachelor’s degree in exchange for completing three certificates. This means that you need to complete at least two of your three undergraduate certificates at a French language university, with the requirement that you officially apply to do so during your first year of study. The only local exception we know of is Concordia University’s Journalism Program, which offers students the option to combine three journalism certificates into a Journalism BA.  Contact the undergraduate advisors at any of these universities for additional details.

More questions? Comments? Don’t hesitate to contact your program’s student rep!

Certificate program representatives:
Amanda Fritz (amanda.fritz@mcgill.ca)
Christine Tourigny (christine.tourigny@mail.mcgill.ca)

Diploma program representatives:
Anita Cotic (anita.cotic@mail.mcgill.ca)
Rafael Mayor-Mora (rafael.mayor-mora@mail.mcgill.ca)

Too much, too soon? Job interview questions you should avoid answering

"Are you single?"

Job interviewers, whether they work in HR or are a part of the management team, are crafty gatekeepers. They read your body language, they play mind games with you to uncover your hard-wired tendencies, and they extract information you didn’t even know you were giving them. Filtering candidates according to the company’s values is the name of their game.

Sometimes you’ll get asked questions you’ll think twice about answering. Here’s a few from my personal experience as a candidate: “Where do you live?”; “How old are you?”; “Do you live with someone?”… Whoah! I realize that there are lots of interesting parallels between job interviewing and speed dating, but we’re not exactly sitting in a resto-lounge chatting over mojitos on a five-minute rotation! Are these questions legal? No.

Be wary of topics concerning race, national or ethnic origin, religion, gender, age, or mental or physical disability. The Canada Human Resources Centre made a neat chart that highlights some popular no-no questions you should be aware of. Although this article is geared toward the U.S. employment market, it will tell you what kind of questions you should watch out for and what you’re inadvertently releasing about yourself during a job interview.

Bullet points for dodging dodgy questions

So, you’re sitting on the other side of the table with your interviewer and getting a “did you just ask me that?!” feeling?

  • Ask your interviewer to elaborate about the purpose of their question. How exactly is this question related to the position they’re hiring for? Perhaps their explanation will legitimize the situation in some way.
  • You can simply (and politely) decline to answer the question.
  • Whatever you do, stay calm and don’t get defensive!
  • Above all, ask yourself why you’d want to work for an employer who makes you feel uncomfortable!

With that said, good luck playing job interview dodgeball!

Free job-searching webinar for IABC members!

Has your job-search reached a stalemate? Here’s something interesting for student members of the IABC (International Association of Business Communicators): a free IABC webinar on how to job-search effectively!

This virtual event will be hosted by IABC member Angee Linsey, Managing Director of executive search firm Linsey careers. Angee will definitely have some fresh insights for potential candidates from her perspective as a veteran staffing and recruitment manager.

“Creating a job search strategy with Angee Linsey, Linsey Careers” will be held on Thursday, 8 September, from 9-10 am Pacific Time (12 noon- 1pm Eastern time!).

For a webinar outline and registration information, please visit the official website.

Evaluating the acronyms: some factors in choosing a PR association.

As a PR student, have you ever given some thought to joining a professional association? Becoming a member to a professional association has many advantages: most obviously, it allows you to tether with the association’s credibility, it gets you involved in the association’s activities and inner workings, and will likely present a lot of networking opportunities.

Basically, the PR associations I’ve heard talked about the most are the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS – Canada-wide), the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC – Montreal chapter), and the CPRS has a local chapter in Quebec called the SQPRP (Société québécoise des professionnels en relations publiques).

Here’s a few factors to consider when shopping around for “the right professional PR association for you”:

Our field is all about networking, so a good idea would be to check out the association’s events page online to gauge networking opportunities. Some things to consider: have there been many events in Montreal and where have they been held? Are they expensive to attend? Are they well-attended? A great way to gauge the fun-factor for something like networking cocktails (which are at the top of my interest list!) is to join the association’s Facebook group to check out pictures of past events.

Having taken a look at the IABC, CPRS, and SQPRP websites, I’ve gathered that all three associations offer great (and inexpensive!) professional workshops and seminars, but the SQPRP wins out in terms of meet-and-mingle events. The fact that the IABC has a website dedicated to its Montreal chapter means (to me) that their local community may be more active than that of the CPRS. This remains to be seen, as their events calendar is unfortunately out of date…

The language in which the association communicates is an issue you’ll only encounter in Quebec, but is nonetheless a very important one! Although many of you Anglo-McGillians may initially prefer an English-language association, consider the opposite. I purposefully sought out a French fix for supplementing my PR knowledge and portfolio by joining the SQPRP in my third semester of my graduate PR program.

What did I get in return? Access to an exclusive French e-newsletter with articles about current issues and practices, French/bilingual job postings, and upcoming events. It was a great way to brush up on my bank of French PR terms (wait, how do you say that in French?!) while learning more about the profession’s inner workings.

Price. We are students, aren’t we? If you hold price as a deciding factor in this case, you’re in trouble! The SQPRP, CPRS, and IABC student membership prices hover around the very inexpensive $50 price mark and offer you membership for a year. If you still think $50 is a little steep, consider what Elizabeth Hirst has to say about it: “Would you pay $50 for a job?”. There’s a good chance your career could launch from a job posting or contact you made through a professional association. The key is to take advantage of student pricing while you can, because memberships to professional associations can cost several hundred dollars after graduation (SQPRP = 428.14$ for regular membership!).

When making a decision, I recommend to ask, ask ask, try attending different events, then take the plunge into all the great advantages of a professional membership!

The must-know formulas (continued): Take it from the pros.

Take it from the pros: finding success is simpler than you think! Pfizer President and CEO Paul Lévesque (DipMgt’92) used his time during the McGill Young Alumni networking event this past May to introduce the easy-to-use formula he used to find success in his professional life.

“Attitude + Aptitude = Altitude”

Lévesque credits the courses he completed at the School of Continuing Studies (SCS) with helping him to develop the “soft” skills necessary for his successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. He highlighted a trend that is spreading behind job recruiters’ closed doors: hiring for attitude. Although technical aptitude (or “hardware”) is important, Lévesque revealed that companies are taking a candidate’s “attitude” or “software” into great (or even greater) consideration. He used, as an example, a capacity to be open to (or an agent of) change and continuous improvement, which is a critical soft skill—especially in environments that are re-organizing bi-annually, and it is a skill that is extremely difficult to teach. A potential employee’s attitude is a reflection of personal values, “teach-ability”, and work ethic.

Vouching from personal experience and having traveled the corporate ladder form account manager to CEO, Lévesque affirms that the strength of such “software” is indicative of a candidate’s likelihood of professional success and advancement. And a culture of innovation is a key requirement for business success.

So, the attitude you want to project is a confident and a capable one. The only way to get the confidence needed to make a great impression is by… (drum roll please!) working hard and being prepared.

What’s luck got to do with it?

Armed with a Ph.D. in Political Science, Monica Trevino quickly became an unhappy university professor. She realized very quickly that she would need to take her transferable research and analytical skills out of higher education and into a different field. She considers herself very fortunate that opportunities at Universalia, a non-profit that is focused on business management solutions in the public and private sector, came her way. With a combination of lucky factors (of being the right candidate, at the right place and time that talked to the right person), Trevino eventually became a Senior Consultant for this international firm.

Check in later this week for the last installment of the must-know formulas!

The must-know formulas: success taught by the pros

There’s no easy solution for starting or re-orienting your career. Fortunately, there are seasoned professionals who offer their guidance to those who are looking for an “in” to the job market and those who have outgrown their roles along their career path.

In the spirit of sharing valuable experiences and lessons-learned, the McGill Young Alumni networking event held at the Omni Hotel earlier this month featured a lineup of four exceptional McGill grads who revealed the best-kept secrets of their successful careers. If you missed the event, you’ll certainly benefit from the evening’s takeaways, starting with the answer to an age-old mystery: how does someone acquire professional success?

It’s as simple as 1-2-3!”

In Brigitte Simard‘s words (Client Partner, Korn/Ferry Int’l), success is the result of some simple steps. This search firm executive attributes her career success to pursuing her passion, honing in on her transferable skill set (which she refined from school and a variety of work experiences), and many years of networking with professionals in her industry of choice.

Performing these three steps seems simple, yet they demand determination, resourcefulness, and taking risks, which isn’t that easy.

More on this next week, but in the meantime, enjoy your weekend!

Going gaga over grades?

Anyone else notice that the McGill PR diploma grades are up in Minerva? … Great! Now moving right along…

I used to be fixated on getting good grades in grade school, and even in my undergrad, thinking that a numeric or alpha grade was the measurement of my success. Since deciding to go back to school through the School of Continuing Studies (formerly known as Continuing Education), I’ve had a complete change of attitude toward the importance of grades. I attribute this change to a variety of personal factors: having confidence in my academic abilities (I’ve had years of experience of staying within the same grade margin) and a lack of time and energy to dedicate to grade-obsession are factors which have contributed to my general grade-apathy.

I wish! I guess...

Still (and without detecting a decrease in ambition), why don’t I place much importance on grades anymore?

I’ve realized through my recent diploma that no matter what grades you get (and I certainly haven’t gotten perfect scores), your success should be measured by the experiences and skills cultivated from working, whether it be from an individual essay or a group project, rather than by the grades you get.

I recently attended a McGill Young Alumni networking event where all four of the distinguished keynote speakers said, in one way or another, that the most important results from your schooling are the precious transferable skills you’ll acquire through doing the work. What you’ve gained as a student in terms of coping skills, your ability to deal diplomatically with others, and your written and oral communication skills are the real measures of current and future success.

Here’s a great article called “The 9 things that matter more than GPA” that I recently picked up on the LinkedIn news that provides further insight on how getting the grade isn’t what school’s really about.

Image courtesy of http://blog.textbookstop.com

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Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.